8 Tips for Living With Psoriasis
Developing healthy lifestyle habits can help you to minimize the number and severity of your psoriasis flare-ups. You should consult with your healthcare provider for specific, individualized advice, but are some habits you can adopt that work well for most people with psoriasis.
1. Keep a Diary
Document the condition of your skin in a diary. Note when it improves and when you have flare-ups of symptoms. Write down what you eat, stressors, activities and fluid intake, and make note of your general level of wellbeing.
The purpose of the dairy is to help you identify patterns. By keeping a diary, you may discover what makes your psoriasis flare-up and what makes it improve. By identifying irritants, you will be able to avoid them. A diary is a great tool for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment.
2. Eat Well
What you put into your body provides you with the basic materials your skin cells need to be healthy. If you feed your body with healthy foods, your skin and overall health will improve. Don’t put harmful or irritating foods into your body as they can contribute to flare-ups, itchiness and poor healing of inflamed tissues.
Foods rich in essential fatty oils improve your skin’s elasticity, reduce inflammation and relieve itchiness.
Eat fresh, cold, deep-water, wild-caught fish several times weekly, as this is a wonderful source of essential fatty oils. Mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon are excellent choices. Do not eat farm raised fish as it does not provide the same benefits.
Vegetarian sources of healthy essential fatty oils include hemp and flax seeds. Buy the hulled variety of hempseeds as they are easier to use. Store flax and hemp seeds in the refrigerator or freezer so that they will stay fresh, and grind flax seeds immediately before using them.
Simple, fresh, easily prepared fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should make up the main part of your diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytochemicals, support the growth and sustenance of healthy skin cells. Compounds in fresh fruits and vegetables slow down the aging process, relieve inflammation, and prevent skin infections.
Avoid packaged or prepared foods. They often contain additives, preservative, dyes, and other unnatural compounds which have been proven to cause flare-ups of psoriasis symptoms. Limit your intake of fried, fatty foods, and foods that contain large amounts of sugars and artificial sweeteners.
3. Stay Hydrated
Your skin is the largest detoxifying organ that your body has. Drink plenty of fluids so that it can eliminate toxins well. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps your skin supple and prevents cracking from occurring. Cracked skin is not only uncomfortable and unattractive; it provides a route for bacteria and other microorganisms to enter your system.
The best liquid that you can drink is plain water, but burdock, dandelion root, kudzu, chickweed and chamomile teas are soothing. Lemon balm, mint, and oat straw calm the nerves and can help to reduce itchiness and irritability. They support your body’s natural detoxification process.
Coffee and alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. Limit or avoid their intake.
4. Consider Getting Tested for Allergies
Many people who have psoriasis suffer from allergies. Ask your health care provider about the benefits of allergy testing. Allergy testing may be provided by several means. Blood and skin tests are the most commonly used skin tests. Wheat, dairy, MSG, and food dyes are common allergens among people who have psoriasis.
5. Reduce Stress
Psoriasis often flares up during and after times of stress. Take a look at your life.
- Are there steps you can take to avoid or minimize stressors?
- Do you need to delegate tasks to other family members or co-workers?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Do you get enough exercise?
- Are you over-committed?
- Do you need to learn how to be better organized?
- How are your time management skills?
- Do you have a healthy support group of friends?
- Do you spend time in nature?
Taking time to nourish your mind, body, and spirit will not only decrease the occurrences of skin problems, you will enjoy a higher quality of life. You may even live longer.
6. Protect Your Skin From the Outside
Avoid excessive exposure to sun and wind. During periods of extremely hot or cold weather, you may find that your skin flares up. Try to limit your time outdoors when the weather is extreme.
Use hypoallergenic skin care products. Consider learning how to may your own bath and facial products. They are easy to make and you can enjoy high-end products at a much lower cost than if you were to purchase them. Include natural essential oils and herbs that support healthy skin in your blends. Rose, lavender, chamomile, and calendula are often beneficial for people who suffer from psoriasis.
Use a soft cloth or wash with your hands when bathing. Avoid the use of brushes and coarse bathing implements. Bathe in warm or cold water, not hot. Coarse bathing materials and hot water increase itchiness and inflammation.
7. Take Hypoallergenic, High-Quality Natural Supplements
Purchase and take a hypoallergenic stress formula multivitamin/multimineral supplement daily. These supplements provide your body with micronutrients it needs to function optimally.
Take fish, flax, borage, black currant, or evening primrose oil daily. They contain concentrated amounts of the essential fatty acids that help your skin and entire body to function well.
8. See Your Health Care Provider Regularly
In addition to getting the best treatment possible for your skin, it is important that you see your healthcare provider regularly so that you can be professionally monitored for signs of psoriatic arthritis.
You do not have to be diagnosed with severe psoriasis to have an increased chance of developing psoriatic arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis lead to better outcomes, so notify your healthcare provider right away if you experience swelling, pain or decreased movement in a joint.
Live Well With Psoriasis
By being active, and enjoying a healthy lifestyle, you will reap greater rewards than simply improving the health of your skin. You will be more comfortable, stay well, and look better. Your immune system will work better.
It is possible to turn your diagnosis of psoriasis into a positive lifestyle change which benefits your entire body and spirit. Start living better today by implementing a few of the actions discussed here.