If you’re one of the 125 million people who suffer from psoriasis worldwide then you know how important it is to avoid potential flare ups when you can. The thick, scaly patches caused by this autoimmune disorder can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that cannot be cured but it’s important to be aware that it can be managed. And one of the best ways to do this is by avoiding any potential triggers where possible. You can start to identify what triggers your psoriasis by keeping track of symptoms as they occur. Do your symptoms worsen after eating specific foods? Have you experienced a flare up after a stressful week?
There are also a number of common triggers that seem to affect the majority of people suffering from this painful disorder and avoiding these can be a good place to start.
Everyone knows that drinking a lot of alcohol isn’t great for your skin, but when you suffer from psoriasis it can trigger a full blown outbreak to occur.
If you don’t want to eliminate alcohol completely, you can manage potential flare ups by drinking moderately and staying hydrated when you do have more than a few glasses of wine!
Extreme weather conditions can often cause your skin to react. Using a moisturizer in cold weather (which you should be doing anyway!) will help to prevent your psoriasis from worsening. In contrast, warm weather and sunlight can actually help to treat psoriasis, but it’s important to regulate your exposure by staying out of the sun during peak times and wearing a sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
Sweating is another common trigger to watch out for when the weather heats up. You can mitigate this risk by staying hydrated and wearing loose-fitting clothing throughout the day.
Stress causes an inflammatory response which makes it one of the main triggers of psoriasis. Studies have shown it can trigger the initial flare up of psoriasis and continue to exacerbate your symptoms after diagnosis.
These symptoms usually improve once the stress has alleviated and techniques such as meditations, yoga, and exercise are recommended to keep it under control. Natural relaxation and stress relief products such as CBD oil can also help a great deal with stress management.
There is no special “psoriasis diet” but many people with this skin condition report that their food intake has a significant impact on the condition of their skin. The general rule is that if something you eat is making your symptoms worse, stop eating it.
You can keep track of what foods trigger your flare ups by keeping a daily food diary and monitoring the condition of your skin. If you suspect a certain food is causing you issues, try cutting it out for a few weeks to see if anything changes. This is similar to the method followed by people with IBS who follow a low-FODMAP diet.
Key foods to watch out for include:
- Gluten: studies have shown that many people with psoriasis are also sensitive to gluten and that going gluten-free can help to manage symptoms.
- Junk food: processed foods can promote the inflammation that’s already the main culprit behind flare ups.
- Red meat and dairy: red meat and dairy contain something called arachidonic acid which is a natural inflammatory.
- Citrus fruits: fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit and oranges are quite common allergens so it’s worth investigating whether removing them from your diet improves your symptoms.
In general, the US National Psoriasis Foundation emphasizes the importance of following an anti-inflammatory diet, which means including lots of fruit and veg, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats in your diet. Supplementing your diet with a Digestive Aid will also help to reduce inflammation and optimize your digestive functioning and health.
Psoriasis can have a devastating effect on your confidence and well-being, but identifying and avoiding potential triggers can help you take control of your condition. With some trial and error, you may even put your psoriasis into remission.