Psoriasis Treatments and Tips

Psoriasis Treatments Schweiger Dermatology group

Dealing with psoriasis can negatively affect your quality of life. But if you learn how to treat psoriasis the right way, then it becomes much less of a burden. And since there is no cure for psoriasis, getting the best psoriasis treatment tips and knowing how to Here, Anita Fox, PA-C from our West Orange, New Jersey dermatology office, tackles your top 10 most frequently asked psoriasis questions and gives psoriasis treatment tips.

What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that develops when a person’s immune system malfunctions and causes skin cells to grow too quickly. The new skin cells form in days rather than weeks and pile up on the skin’s surface, causing scaly, painful lesions.

Does exercise help psoriasis?
Exercise is beneficial for psoriasis because it relieves stress, and reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease and obesity, which are linked to psoriasis. If you exercise outdoors, your skin may also benefit from the exposure to ultraviolet light.

If I lose weight, will my psoriasis get better?
Yes, in some instances, it can improve both symptoms of the chronic skin disease and quality of life.  Recent studies show that obese patients who lost weight reported less stinging and burning, were less likely to be embarrassed by unsightly lesions and found that their condition affected their everyday life less often than obese patients who did not lose weight. Basically, the study emphasizes the importance of weight loss as an integral part of a multimodal treatment approach to effectively treat both skin manifestations and other related medical conditions in overweight patients with psoriasis.

Is psoriasis contagious to my partner or my kids?
Psoriasis is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person. But it is genetically linked in family members.

Is there anything I can do to make sure my kids don’t get psoriasis?
No. While the children of people with psoriasis are at higher risk of getting psoriasis (because there is, after all, a strong genetic connection), medical science currently has no way of preventing the disease

What is the best environment or climate for psoriasis?
Cold, dry weather seems to make psoriasis worse for many patients In contrast, sun or other forms of ultraviolet light exposure helps. Psoriasis is unpredictable, but usually the sunnier, warmer weather should make psoriasis better, not worse. Also, anything that injures the skin—scratches, burns, sunburns, etc.—can make psoriasis worse. There are some medications that can make psoriasis worse, too, as can a strep throat or other viral respiratory infections.

How much sun is safe when my psoriasis flares?
As previously mentioned, sun exposure is usually beneficial for psoriasis. One reason is because ultraviolet light initiates the production of vitamin D in the skin. However, we need to balance the risks with the benefit. The main caution is to avoid sunburn, which can increase your risk for skin cancers and promote aging changes in the skin. If you use sunscreen and wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses, you can be in the sun as much as you like.

Is there a particular age that people get psoriasis?
No. Psoriasis can occur at any age. Most commonly, it first starts in the late teens or 20s, but it can occur even earlier or later in life.

Will a tattoo make psoriasis worse?
Patients with psoriasis can get a tattoo, but if they do, psoriasis can develop in the tattoo. If a person has psoriasis, lesions can develop when the skin is injured. So the needle sticks of a tattoo can cause psoriasis to occur. This isn’t the end of the world if only a  localized spot of psoriasis occurs; it is usually easily treated with strong cortisone medicines.

Can depression make psoriasis worse?
Few studies have attempted to evaluated depression in people with psoriasis. The degree of itching is strongly correlated with depressed mood. The shame or embarrassment some people feel about their psoriasis results in avoidance of common social activities, like sports and swimming, which can deprive them of the benefits of exercise and sun exposure. Depression makes psoriasis worse through direct and indirect suppression of the immune system. 

Can I use makeup to cover up psoriasis plaques?
Covering psoriasis plaques with make-up should not make them worse, so if you feel the need to cover them for an event or work go ahead. But, keep in mind that judicious ultraviolet light exposure does help psoriasis so a little sunshine (not too much, because sunburns can make psoriasis worse) on psoriasis plaques can be a good thing. 

Anita Fox Schweiger Dermatology GroupAnita Fox, PA-C, treats patients in our West Orange, New Jersey dermatology office. To book an appointment with her online, click here.