Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes the skin growth cycle to increase in speed. This leads to a buildup of skin cells that causes thick red patches or silver scales to appear. If you have psoriasis, your dermatologist in Arlington Heights will work with you to control your condition with medications, but there are other things you can do to reduce the chances of flare-ups. Talk to your dermatologist to learn about strategies you can use, and try these techniques for controlling psoriasis symptoms.
Moisturize Your Skin
Dry skin often exacerbates psoriasis symptoms. Be sure to use a thick moisturizing cream daily. Some people find that petroleum jelly is a good moisturizer for psoriasis. If your skin develops scales, you can help remove them by applying a heavy moisturizer and then wrapping the affected area in a waterproof material, like plastic wrap. Remove the material after a few hours.
Avoid Skin Injuries
For a person with psoriasis, every nick can lead to a serious flare-up. Take care to avoid cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other traumas to the skin. The flare-ups associated with these injuries are known as Koebner’s phenomenon. In addition to being careful to avoid injuries, including nicks while shaving, stay away from things that poke your skin, like tattoos and acupuncture. Take steps to avoid bug bites and avoid activities or clothing that cause skin chafing.
Control Your Sun Exposure
The sun is a double-edged sword if you have psoriasis. The right amount of sun exposure can slow your skin growth cycle, thereby reducing your psoriasis symptoms. However, getting sunburned can actually trigger your symptoms—in addition to increasing your skin cancer risk. About 20 minutes is a good target for most people with psoriasis, but get advice from your dermatologist about a safe amount of sun exposure for you.
You don’t have to live with the discomfort of psoriasis. Talk to your dermatologist at Altman Dermatology Associates to find out how to keep your symptoms under control. We also treat a range of other chronic skin conditions, including eczema and rosacea. To schedule a consultation with one of our doctors, call 847-392-5440.