Even though there are numerous treatment options for psoriasis, the management can be complex and challenging. Psoriasis is an unpredictable disease with periods of relapses and remissions and even the results can be unpredictable. Asides from medical treatment, one of the ways to manage psoriasis is home care. The major emphasis in self care is to decrease the intensity and prevent worsening of the psoriasis. Self care at home should include:
Daily baths: Daily cleansing is important to remove the damaged skin. This helps remove the oils and the scales from the skin. One may add a little bit of bath oil or oiled oat meal and let the skin soak for 10-15 minutes. The water should be warm but not too hot. One should not rub, scrape or scratch the skin. The bath oil should then be gently rinsed off. Drying should be done gently to avoid skin irritation.
Moisturizer: For those who have very dry skin one may apply moisturizers after a bath. This may help prevent the itch and help soothe the skin. In the winter time, moisturizers are essential to prevent the skin from drying and cracking, which usually makes the psoriasis worse.
Dressings: Cover the affected areas overnight. If you have large patches of exposes plaques, then one can apply moisturizer and cover it with a loose bandage. This will prevent you from scratching and will aid in the removal of the scales and dead skin in the morning. It will also help keep your bed clean.
Sunlight: Expose your skin to small amounts of sunlight. Light therapy in a controlled fashion is excellent for the treatment of psoriasis. A small amount of sun in the morning may be good for your psoriasis. Do not sit out in the sun for long periods and high intensity sun is not recommended. Always wear a sunscreen. For those who like to swim and sun bath, minimal exposure to sun is good but over exposure can worsen the psoriasis.
Cortisone: Apply cortisone ointment if you feel that itch or redness is coming on. Light strength topical hydrocortisone is available without a prescription.
Triggers: Avoid psoriasis triggers, if possible. Keep a diary of what triggers your psoriasis. Avoid foods, intense sun exposure and drugs that make your condition worse.
Avoid drinking alcohol: Alcohol intake has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of psoriatic medications.
Support groups: If you feel depressed, anxious and hopeless, Don't. There are millions of others who also have psoriasis. There are numerous support and help groups. One can find them on the internet or your doctor may know of some in your area.
Camouflage: If you feel very self conscious about your condition, use proper body cover up including clothes, hats and camouflage creams. Be careful some camouflage creams can also lead to worsening of the psoriasis
Follow your doctor's recommendations. Psoriasis can be trying and often the treatments do not work. Do not give up that easily. Be patient and follow your doctor's advice. It is a life long illness and you will have to make many adjustments, and in the end it will be worth it
Get educated. Be knowledgeable about your disorder. Know what triggers it and how you can prevent it from getting worse. Discuss the disorder with your family and friends and most of all, the more you get to know about the disease, the better treatment you can get.