As a follow-up to our previous blog about the newly approved treatment for patients with psoriasis, we would like to share useful tips regarding lifestyle and healthy skincare. It is important to note that although these tips may help you manage your psoriasis, they are by no means a replacement for the medical treatments that are prescribed to keep your condition under good control. We have also provided some valuable resources at the end of the post that patients can review to learn more about psoriasis and its treatments.
- Keep nails short and refrain from scratching
- Use recommended creams on areas of plaque – do not remove plaque as this can create a worsening of the condition
- Choose loose-fitting cotton clothing that reduces rubbing the skin while avoiding nylon, wool, and rough synthetic fabrics
- A cool air humidifier in the home can be helpful
- Take a daily bath or shower with warm water – never hot!
- A minimum of SPF 60 sunblock is suggested when going out in the sun. Products endorsed by the Canadian Dermatology Association are indicated on the label.
- Applying a moisturizer once to twice daily is well worth the time! After a bath or shower, apply the moisturizer to the skin while it is still damp in the direction hair grows (hair will lie flat).
- Prescription steroids creams/ointments are to be used only when needed. Apply an amount of cream/ointment equal to the size of the tip of the finger for an area equal to the size of the palm of your hand. (For example – an elbow or knee would require a “fingertip” of cream/ointment. Larger areas on the stomach may need a few “finger tips” full)
- When prescription creams/ointments are needed, apply them prior to using a moisturizer
- Although there are no studied diets or supplements that have evidence in reducing psoriasis, it is important to avoid triggers that have been found to worsen your personal condition
Lifestyle measures include reducing stress, quitting smoking, and maintaining daily exercise (150 minutes per week) along with getting a good night’s sleep.
Stress increases the production of inflammation in the body and can contribute to flares of psoriasis. Quitting smoking is one of the most valuable interventions people can make to improve overall health and inflammatory conditions like psoriasis are improved by quitting smoking. People with active psoriasis also have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease. Smoking can further increase that risk. The most effective way to quit smoking is the use of medication along with counseling.
Sleeping less than 5 hours a night places stress on the body and increases cardiovascular risk. Cognitive Behaviour for Insomnia (CBTi) is one of the most effective strategies to improve sleep.
Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.