Psoriasis is a lifelong condition, which means you will always have the disease. Most people go through cycles of no symptoms or cycles of worsening symptoms, usually due to a common trigger. When you have exacerbated psoriasis, you need to be doing something to control your symptoms.
If your psoriasis isn’t improving after months of trying a new medication, it’s time to make a change. Here are six things to consider when your symptoms aren’t getting any better.
1. Switching medications
Finding the right treatment can be frustrating. Some treatments have unexpected side effects, while others will work well for a few months and then suddenly stop working.
Doctors usually start off with the mildest treatments and then progress to stronger ones if your psoriasis doesn’t improve. If a drug doesn’t work or seems to stop working after a while, you may need something stronger or even a combination of different treatments.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s best to try a medication for a few months before assessing whether or not it’s working.
If you find that your current medication is really not helping, rather than giving up and letting your prescription run out, talk to your doctor about other options. Switching treatments is a common practice in psoriasis. Your doctor or dermatologist should understand.
2. Seeing a new dermatologist
When it comes to treating your psoriasis, there are many factors to consider. You may be worried about side effects or costs. Perhaps you want to find a treatment option that requires fewer doses each week. You should be able to share all of these concerns with your dermatologist.
The key is finding a dermatologist who is willing to work with you. If you find that your dermatologist isn’t making the time to work with you to come up with a treatment plan that fits your needs, you may want to consider visiting a new dermatologist.
3. Changing your diet
While not everyone recognizes dietary triggers of psoriasis, what you’re eating could play a role in the severity of your symptoms.
In a recent survey of 1,206 people with psoriasis, roughly half of respondents who cut the following foods out of their diet reported full clearance or improvement of their psoriasis symptoms:
|alcohol||251 of 462 people (53.8 percent)|
|gluten||247 of 459 (53 percent)|
|nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant||156 of 297 (52.1 percent)|
|junk food||346 of 687 (50 percent)|
|white flour products||288 of 573 (49.9 percent)|
|dairy||204 of 424 (47.7 percent)|
In addition, many of the people surveyed found that their symptoms improved after adding the following to their diet:
- fish oil or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- oral vitamin D supplements
Also, more than two-thirds of people who switched to the following diets saw their skin improve:
- Pagano diet, a diet developed by Dr. John Pagano that emphasizes cutting out refined carbohydrates, most red meats, and nightshade vegetables
- vegan diet, which eliminates all animal products, including milk and eggs
- paleo diet, which is based on imitating the diet of hunter-gatherers and includes whole, unprocessed foods
There’s no definitive research to support dietary modifications for treating psoriasis, but many people swear by these changes. And eating healthier can’t hurt.
4. Cutting out alcohol
Drinking alcohol, even in small amounts, can have a huge effect on your psoriasis in many different ways. Not only can alcohol trigger a flare-up, it can also:
- interact with your psoriasis medication and reduce its effectiveness
- increase serious side effects of some medications
- reduce the likelihood of achieving remission
- impair your immune system, which will increase your risk of infection
- cause your body to produce more inflammatory proteins called cytokines, which can make your symptoms worse
If you can’t get your psoriasis under control, you should consider cutting alcoholic beverages completely out of your diet.
5. Getting rid of stress
Stressful situations can easily trigger a psoriasis flare-up. If stress is currently ruling your life, you should think about making changes to reduce it.
This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. It might be time to cut back on some of the activities that you just don’t have time for or to say no to new activities that add too much to your plate.
Not all stress is completely unavoidable, but there are ways that you can cope with stress a little better. Try these activities to help manage stress:
- deep breathing exercises
- writing in a journal
- spending time with family
- taking a walk in nature
- getting a pet
If you can’t seem to reduce your stress despite your best efforts, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health specialist.
6. Bathing daily
Soaking in a warm bath every day can make a huge difference on your skin.
You can also try adding Dead Sea salts, mineral oil, colloidal oatmeal, or olive oil to help with the itching and irritation.
For an added bonus, use a moisturizer after you take your bath.
The bottom line
There’s no cure for psoriasis at the moment, but many different treatment options and home remedies are available that can help ease symptoms. The trick is to be proactive in your treatment plan. If your psoriasis isn’t improving or it’s getting worse, it’s time to try something else. This could mean a new medication or a change in diet and lifestyle.