A psoriasis flare-up can be much more than just a minor inconvenience. It can have a great impact on your plans. The itchy, painful, and often visible skin patches may even keep you from leaving your house.

While there’s no cure for psoriasis, you don’t have to miss a fun night out with your friends because of a flare-up. Here are some tips for treating and managing your psoriasis without sacrificing the activities you love the most.

While both men and women can get psoriasis, women are at more significant risk of experiencing social and emotional effects from the condition. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, about 60 percent of women living with psoriasis feel as though the condition has impacted their quality of life. This is mainly due to the visibility of the disease.

Despite 125 million people living with psoriasis worldwide, many people don’t understand the condition. When people ask you about it, don’t dismiss their questions. Instead, take it as an opportunity to educate others on psoriasis:

  • No, your psoriasis isn’t contagious,
    and no one can catch germs from any of the lesions you’re trying to heal.
  • A “women’s disease”? No way! Just as
    many men get psoriasis, too.
  • Can you be too young or too old to
    get psoriasis? No — age has nothing to do with it. You can develop the
    condition well into adulthood.
  • Your psoriasis might go away! There
    is no cure for psoriasis, but you can manage symptoms with proper treatment and
    enjoy a great quality of life.

It’s impossible to educate everyone about psoriasis, but taking the occasional opportunity to answer questions can increase your self-confidence and make you feel better.

While there’s no such thing as a psoriasis diet, the Mayo Clinic suggests that eating a gluten-free diet may help some people manage their symptoms. This approach is only helpful if you have both psoriasis and a gluten sensitivity. It’s thought that following this diet may reduce inflammation, a key trigger of psoriasis. If you’re unsure whether you are gluten intolerant, speak to your doctor about getting a blood test to detect any gluten sensitivity.

People without a gluten sensitivity are better off enjoying a healthy, well-rounded diet.

It’s natural to want to unwind with a cocktail (or two) after a long day. But always remember that it’s best to enjoy alcohol in moderation. The National Institutes of Health has reported that heavy drinking can make psoriasis flare-ups worse. If you find that your symptoms are worse after consuming any amount of alcohol, you might want to make your next cocktail a virgin.

Ladies’ night doesn’t have to mean going out to a club or bar. In fact, being in a crowded environment can make your psoriasis flare up from heat and exertion. Consider suggesting a relaxing activity for your friends to do instead. You may find out that a relaxing mani pedi sounds better to everyone than a long (and expensive) night out.

While hanging out with the ladies is a great way to burn off steam and catch up on the latest gossip, you still need to make time for you. Self-care is important for everyone, but especially if you’re balancing work, a social life, and family with a health condition like psoriasis. Psoriasis also puts you at an increased risk for mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Self-care can help ward off the psychological effects of psoriasis and reduce any stress. And if you’re less stressed, you might experience fewer flare-ups.

If the concept of self-care is new to you, consider swapping out some of your daily habits for more healthy ones. For example, you might give up some of your Netflix time and take a walk. A five-minute meditation session can take the place of checking social media. Or, you can cook a nutritious meal at home instead of grabbing take-out after work. By making these small changes, you can improve your self-care without taking more time out of your already-busy schedule.

Psoriasis may last for life, but it doesn’t have to take over your life. Flare-ups can be frustrating and make you feel uncomfortable in your skin. But rather than give up hope, fill your doctor in on your experiences. They can re-evaluate your treatment plan and help you get back to your busy lifestyle, including spending time with your closest gal pals.

Psoriasis research is ongoing, which means that new treatments are continually being investigated. You may just need to try a few different approaches before finding the best one that works for you.