Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes thick, scaly, and itchy skin patches. Treatments, home remedies, and self-care strategies may help prevent flare-ups or reduce their severity.
This article discusses 11 ways to help manage psoriasis symptoms and prevent them from flaring up in the future.
The best treatment option may vary from person to person and depend on the severity and location of a person’s symptoms. A dermatologist may provide guidance. A person could ask which of the prevention strategies below are most likely to be effective for them.
1. Wrap up during cold, dry weather
Dry weather in the fall and winter may trigger psoriasis flares.
In a retrospective study of 2,270 people, researchers found that
Wrapping up warm may help reduce winter flare-ups.
2. Keep the skin moisturized
Moisturizing is a key technique for people with psoriasis. Dryness may trigger flares and make skin scaling so severe that the skin cracks and bleeds.
3. Keep the scalp moisturized
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, tar shampoos and salicylic acid may help.
If these do not work, topical or oral over-the-counter and prescription medications may help treat scalp psoriasis.
4. Use a humidifier
5. Get regular exposure to sunlight
UV radiation has immunosuppressive effects. As a result, it may help reduce symptoms of autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis.
UV light therapy is a treatment option for people with psoriasis. But short, regular exposure to natural sunlight may also help improve psoriasis symptoms and prevent flares. This
6. Avoid sunburn
7. Supplement with Vitamin D
Although more research is necessary on the topic, maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help prevent psoriasis flare-ups.
People can get more vitamin D from:
- natural sunlight
- certain foods, such as salmon, milk, and fortified cereals
- vitamin D supplements
8. Prevent skin injuries
Skin injuries may trigger the development of psoriasis lesions in areas where they are otherwise uncommon. This effect is called the Koebner phenomenon.
Tips for avoiding skin injuries include:
- taking care when cutting the nails or shaving
- avoiding tattoos or piercings
- protecting against insect bites
- taking care when preparing food
- wearing gloves while gardening
- avoiding dangerous activities and sports
9. Manage stress
Tips for managing and reducing stress may include:
- avoiding stressful situations
- practicing yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness and breathing techniques
- participating in therapy or counseling
10. Improve the diet
As with many areas of health, diet may play a role in psoriasis management.
Food triggers for psoriasis may vary from person to person. Trying an anti-inflammatory or elimination diet and recording any improvements in symptoms may help a person identify their triggers.
A calorie-controlled diet may help improve psoriasis symptoms in people with overweight, and avoiding gluten may reduce the severity of symptoms in people with gluten sensitivity.
However, a person should discuss any major dietary change with their doctor before trying it.
11. Avoid certain medications
Some medications may trigger psoriasis flares, including:
- angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
A doctor can examine a person’s treatment regimen, identify any medications that may be having this effect, and recommend the next steps.
Depending on the severity and location of a person’s symptoms, these strategies may not prevent all flare-ups.
A doctor may also recommend:
- medicated creams
- oral medications
- systemic or biologic medications
The signs and symptoms of psoriasis may vary depending on the type of psoriasis. For example, plaque, guttate, and pustular psoriasis may have different symptoms. The location and extent of affected skin may also influence the appearance of symptoms.
However, psoriasis typically causes dry patches of skin that may be thick, raised, and covered in whitish scales. If a person’s skin is lighter, the affected areas may look pinkish. If a person’s skin is darker, the areas may look purple, violet, or gray.
During a flare-up, symptoms worsen. As it subsides, they may become milder or disappear.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition. Certain triggers cause the immune system to release T cells, a type of white blood cells, as a defense mechanism to fight infection.
However, these cells then mistakenly attack the body’s own cells rather than the pathogen. In someone with psoriasis, this leads to excessive growth of skin cells.
The underlying cause of psoriasis is not clear, but it may be genetic.
Environmental triggers, such as medications, stress, smoking, and injuries, may cause the condition to appear for the first time or cause existing symptoms to flare. Specific triggers vary from person to person.
What is the treatment for psoriasis?
The best approach varies from person to person. Generally, it involves topical and oral medications, phototherapy, and self-care strategies such as those we describe above.
How long does a psoriasis flare-up last?
Psoriasis may be very unpredictable. The duration of flares can depend on the type of psoriasis a person has, but they may last
What are the triggers for psoriasis?
Triggers for psoriasis vary from person to person. However, common triggers include:
- dry air
- skin injuries
- alcohol consumption
- hormone changes
- other immune conditions
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition, and the symptoms may come and go throughout a person’s lifetime.
There is no cure, but certain remedies, treatments, and self-care strategies may help prevent flares and reduce symptoms that arise.
Various environmental triggers, such as stress, may cause symptoms to flare. Identifying these triggers and taking steps to avoid or manage them can help make living with psoriasis easier.