If you’re among the more than eight million people in the United States who have psoriasis, you understand how frustrating this skin disease can be. Since psoriasis tends to attack in cycles that are prompted by certain triggers, understanding what drives your flare-ups can help you take the steps needed to keep your skin healthy.
Here at Rapaport Dermatology, located in Beverly Hills and Culver City, California, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Vicki Rapaport and our team of skin health experts routinely help clients with psoriasis. While this skin condition may be a chronic disease with no cure, there are many ways in which we can lessen the impact of psoriasis on your life, starting with controlling your outbreaks.
Knowing your triggers
The first step to a quality psoriasis management plan is to uncover your triggers. To give you an idea about what we’re talking about, here are some of the most common conditions that can lead to a psoriasis flare-up:
- Weather — namely cold and dry conditions
- Skin or strep infections
- Smoking (or being around a smoker)
- Skin injuries (cuts and bruises)
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Certain medications, such as lithium or high blood pressure medications
To determine whether your psoriasis is triggered by something on the list above or by something else entirely, keep a psoriasis diary. By keeping track of your circumstances when you have a flare-up, you can see some trends and target your specific triggers.
It may be helpful to list the triggers we mention above as a reference so that you can check to see whether any of these factors were present around the time you experienced a flare-up.
Managing your triggers
Once we have a clearer idea of what may lead to your psoriasis flare-ups, we can put a plan in place to help you avoid these conditions. While some items on the list above are beyond your control, there are steps you can take to minimize their impact.
For example, if your psoriasis tends to flare during the winter months when the air is colder and drier, you can offset these conditions by redoubling your efforts to keep your skin warm and well hydrated and moisturized.
As another example, if your psoriasis flares because of existing allergies, the goal here would be to partner with an allergist to control your allergies.
Of course, mitigating some of your triggers may be more direct, such as quitting smoking or reducing your alcohol intake. If we find that these are potential triggers, we can help you get on the road to better skin (and overall) health by helping you to curb these lifestyle habits.
We’ve also found that stress can play a significant role when it comes to psoriasis, and we can work with you to find ways in which you can relax and decompress, such as through meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or practices like yoga.
If you want to gain the upper hand on your psoriasis, please make an appointment at one of our offices in Beverly Hills or Culver City, California, so that we can help you uncover and manage your triggers.