Stress and Psoriasis

Everyone experiences mild to moderate dry skin at some point, but for some, it’s a chronic problem. Especially during winter, the cold winds, low humidity, wet weather and less sunlight drains the moisture out of our skin making it dry and itchy. Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions that cause skin cells to build up, and form shiny scales and itchy, dry red patches. The skin patches can be painful and can vary in size and intensity over time. Winter is generally not considered a good season for people suffering from various skin disorders and psoriasis is no exception.


AWARENESS IN INDIA The disease affects 2-4% of the population with doctors reporting more than 10 million cases in India every year. Men and women are affected by psoriasis with equal frequency. It can occur in all age groups, but primarily affects adults. The longlasting disease begins inside your immune system and appears as skin redness and irritation. But psoriasis is a misunderstood disease and patients often keep it under wraps for fear of stigma; many wear long sleeves, high collars and long pants to hide their skin lesions. 


TIPS FOR WINTER Managing life with psoriasis is not easy, and it definitely poses its own unique challenges. Winter can trigger psoriasis outbreaks, but there are many ways to tackle the drying effects of cold temperature. MOISTURISING CREAM Keep your skin moist to ease redness and itching, and heal psoriasis patches. The thicker the cream or ointment, the better it is at locking water into your skin. Use a moisturising soap and a creamy lotion after you shower, bathe and wash your hands. Choose fragrancefree products to avoid allergic reactions. 

HAVE SOOTHING BATHS, NOT HOT SHOWERS Long showers in hot water remove moisture from your skin. Shower in warm water just long enough to soap up and rinse off. Apply moisturising cream or lotion right after to avoid dry skin. 




WEAR SOFT LAYERS Cold weather and wind can irritate your skin and cause flareups. They can also make psoriasis in your joints more painful. Cover yourself with a soft scarf, hat and gloves when you go outside to protect exposed areas of skin. Dress in layers you can peel off to avoid getting too hot — sweating can make psoriasis worse. Choose cotton over wool, denim and other fabrics that are more likely to bother your skin. 


DRINK WATER To pump up moisture, drink plenty of water. You will know if you are getting enough because your urine will be a pale yellow. If your urine is bright yellow or dark-coloured, you may need more water. 


EASE STRESS Stress can make psoriasis worse. Take time to relax. Try a massage or spa treatment to moisturise your skin and beat the winter chill. Exercise can also help relieve stress and reduce flare-ups. LIGHTEN YOUR MOOD Psoriasis can make you depressed. If you also have season-related disorder — depression linked to less sunlight in winter and fall — these months are an extra challenge. If you are sad often, talk to your doctor. Light therapy or an antidepressant may lift your mood. 


TAKE VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS Vitamin D deficiency is often related to psoriasis. Due to less exposure to sunlight during the winter, one must consume a good quantity of vitamin D supplements. 


SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE If your psoriasis always gets worse in winter, have a talk with your doctor. You may only need to adjust your medications a little or get some light therapy.

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