Tips for Coping With Psoriasis

Psoriasis cannot be cured, but it can be managed, and—over time—you can find the strategies that work best for you and adjust to life with this chronic condition.

If you have psoriasis, you may feel ashamed of your condition or embarrassed about the appearance of your skin. You also may feel stigmatized by others who don’t understand what psoriasis is or who think it’s contagious like chickenpox or other illnesses that cause visible skin lesions.

Weather and climate can have a significant impact on psoriasis. Skin usually fares better in spring and summer than in winter, as there’s more intense sunlight and temperatures are warmer.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun acts as an immunosuppressive, helping to keep the formation of plaques under control. And warmer air tends to hold moisture better than cooler air, which can be healing for very dry skin. Wearing lightweight cotton clothing, rather than synthetic fabrics, on warm days can further help.

It may feel good to take a dip in a swimming pool on a warm day, but note that heavy concentrations of chlorine in pool water can irritate inflamed plaques and also dry out skin. If you take a dip, rinse off thoroughly afterward. On the other hand, swimming in the ocean actually can help psoriatic skin: Some people find it helps slough off scales. In either case, a post-swim moisturizer is a must.

In winter, air can be dry inside and out. Use humidifiers throughout your home, especially the bedroom. Adding live plants to your living space also can increase environmental humidity.

Since psoriasis is chronic and has no cure, and it can be quite visible, it can be discouraging. But surrounding yourself with people who support you, and leaning on them, can help. In fact, a 2012 study found that among more than one hundred people with psoriasis, those who said they had a lot of social support reported having “significantly higher quality of life, lower depression levels, and higher acceptance of life with the disease.”

In particular, you may find it helpful to connect with and learn from those who have psoriasis just like you. There are plenty of support groups for folks who want to share or find information and advice for dealing with various challenges associated with the condition.

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