Why does stress make psoriasis worse?
Managing stress can help keep psoriasis flare-ups at bay.
Psoriasis has a stronger association with psychiatric disorders than other skin diseases. Research reports that mental stress precedes the first attack of psoriasis in 44% of patients with psoriasis and frequently triggers psoriasis flares in up to 88% of patients. Additionally, patients with high levels of psychological stress exhibit more severe skin and joint symptoms than those with low levels of psychological stress.
Stress worsens psoriasis by triggering a complex network of signals between the endocrine (hormones), nervous and immune systems. These signals stimulate the inflammatory processes in the skin and help psoriasis and recurring episodes of itching develop along with the typical skin changes.
How do you stop psoriasis from stress?
Stress can cause psoriasis and psoriasis itself can also cause stress. Living with psoriasis can make you feel self-conscious and anxious. You may avoid meeting people, which can impact your social and romantic relationships. Treatments that are not working or their side-effects might affect your mind. If you get joint pain (psoriatic arthritis) because of psoriasis, the pain can make doing routine activities difficult for you. All these things that come with psoriasis can make you stressed, which can further trigger psoriasis.
You can stop psoriasis flare-ups from developing due to stress by taking a few of the following steps
- Relaxation techniques: These include deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
- Long walks and long baths: Long walks in nature and warm baths can help refresh your mind and make you feel better.
- Regular exercise and a healthy diet: These two things in combination can reduce the severity of your psoriasis.
- Keep weight in check: Obesity affects psoriasis. Hence, modify your lifestyle to control weight gain and, subsequently, psoriasis.
- Massage therapy: Massage therapy with oils helps you relax. Consult a good therapist who can even suggest some herbal oils that reduce psoriatic skin dryness and relieve the itching, too.
- Psychotherapy: You can visit a therapist to learn and try techniques including biofeedback training, psychotherapy and hypnosis.
- Get adequate sleep: Sleep deprivation can worsen your psoriasis. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
- Trust your doctor: You need to have faith in your doctor. If you have doubts about some treatments, discuss it with your doctor. However, do not stop your treatment without the doctor’s advice.
- Get better treatment: The most important thing that will reduce your stress is the treatment that helps you get rid of your psoriasis flare-ups and reduces its severity. If you feel like your psoriasis treatment is not working, please discuss it with your doctor or try seeking help from another doctor to get better treatment.
- Complementary and alternative therapy: Natural treatments can be effective for some individuals when used in combination with traditional treatment options. For example, Ayurvedic treatments offer a holistic approach to treat psoriasis. Please talk with your doctor before you try any of them.
- Visit a professional mental health therapist: If you find it hard to handle stress and psoriasis, get professional help from a mental health therapist.
How do you calm down psoriasis?
The itching and inflammation of psoriasis can be relieved. Simple modifications in your daily routine can promote healing and calm down psoriasis flare-ups. These are as follows:
- Keep your skin moist: Use moisturizers in the form of creams or lotions and air humidifiers depending upon how dry your skin is. You can apply herbal products such as aloe vera gel to moisturize and heal your skin.
- Soothe with warm baths: A daily warm bath using a mild soap can help soothe itchy areas and remove the dead skin cells and dry skin. You can add oil, finely ground oatmeal or Epsom salt to your bath water.
- Dry wet skin gently by sponging with a towel: Rubbing your skin may irritate your psoriatic patches.
- Heal with sunlight: Try exposing yourself to mild sunlight two or three times a week, but use sunscreen on your healthy skin. This helps heal psoriatic skin.
- Go easy on yourself: Avoid harsh skincare products such as lotions with alcohol, deodorant soaps and acids (glycolic, salicylic and lactic acid). Wear comfortable, soft fabric.
- Avoid frequent scratching and picking: This can expose the inner layers of your skin and cause skin infections. Apply moisturizer and take an antihistamine medication to relieve itching.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol: Smoking and alcohol worsen your psoriasis and prevent treatment from working. Hence, try avoiding them as much as you can.