Psoriasis is an uncomfortable, embarrassingly chronic condition for which no known cure exists. A variety of treatments can manage the disease and even to send it into remission, but knowing what triggers an outbreak can help you avoid constant discomfort and minimize the disruption psoriasis can cause.
If others in your family have suffered with psoriasis, the odds are greater that you will be affected. Various other factors that may trigger psoriasis include:
- Skin injuries, including cuts, burns and insect bites
- Bacterial and viral infections such as strep throat
- Dry skin
- Too little — or too much — sunlight
- Too much alcohol
- Certain medications, including anti-malaria drugs, beta blockers and lithium
- A weakened immune system
Regular use of moisturizers, dandruff shampoos and a humidifier can help, as can using a good sunscreen and moderating alcohol intake. Learning how to manage your stress through yoga or other relaxation techniques can be effective.
Because psoriasis is a chronic condition, the goal is to avoid the triggers and manage your disease. Skin cells grow deep and normally rise to the surface about once a month. In persons with psoriasis, though, this process occurs too fast — every two weeks or even more frequently — so the dead skin cells build up on the surface to cause those dry spots. In severe cases, the dry spots are raised, thick and sometimes blistered.
Creams, ointments, pills, injections and phototherapy are all accepted treatments that have shown success. Try oatmeal baths to soothe your skin and help loosen scales. Get out in the sun a little, but be careful: A sunburn can trigger another episode. Relaxation and anti-stress techniques will improve your overall well being and can help ward off an outbreak, too.