There’s no cure for psoriasis, a lifelong condition. And psoriasis flares may crop up at any time, despite your best efforts to prevent them.
For many people living with psoriasis, flares are stressful. The extra time spent managing a flare makes it even more challenging to deal with.
But it is possible to manage your condition and improve your quality of life. In fact, these tips can help you manage your next flare without devoting all of your time to it.
Work with your doctor to create an individualized psoriasis action plan. It should include ways to avoid your specific triggers as well as strategies to help reduce psoriasis symptoms when a flare does occur.
Your action plan for when a flare strikes may involve making changes to your routine. Having a plan laid out in advance can help you know exactly what to do in the event of a flare.
This may include:
- Take short lukewarm baths instead of showers.
- Spend an extra 5 to 10 minutes directly after your bath applying a thick moisturizer to your skin.
- Choose the best clothing to protect your skin without irritating it, like loose-fitting cotton.
- Limit alcohol.
Your psoriasis action plan should include anything that empowers you to manage a psoriasis flare, no matter what else is on your plate.
Put together a go-to kit of vital supplies that help you manage a flare when it occurs. Set it aside so you have it ready when you need it.
- prescription medications
- fragrance-free creams and lotions
- fragrance-free sunscreen made for sensitive skin
- homeopathic treatments, like herbs and oils
- over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch medications
- scale-softening medications, like salicylic acid
- towels with soft fibers to use after bathing
- a cold compress to place on itchy areas for relief
When all of the right items are already set aside, you won’t have to take time out of your day to hunt them down. You can get right to the relief you need during a flare.
Stress is a known psoriasis trigger. Taking steps to reduce stress may help you manage a flare.
A 2018 survey conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) found that people living with psoriasis turn to a number of different methods for stress relief, including meditation, yoga, and reiki.
Once you know which relaxation techniques best help you, develop a cheat sheet of activities you can turn to during a flare. For example, place step-by-step instructions for a deep breathing exercise or yoga sequence in your emergency kit.
That way, you don’t have to spend time thinking about how to try to relax — you can just get started.
When a flare occurs, you may have to adjust your skin care routine and switch to products that help manage your symptoms.
For example, many people living with psoriasis find that coal tar products provide relief. Coal tar also makes the skin more sensitive to UV light, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, so you may want to limit time in the sun while using it. If you feel sunlight also helps improve your symptoms, you may want to balance these two approaches.
Ask your doctor how different options used to manage flares may interact with one another. In some cases, combining approaches can help, but in other cases, it can worsen a psoriasis flare.
Applying moisturizer frequently throughout the day is always a good idea if you have psoriasis. During a flare, it’s especially important to do so in a way that’s most effective.
After taking a short lukewarm bath, pat your skin dry, leaving it still somewhat damp. Apply moisturizer immediately. Set aside time to reapply moisturizer before going to bed and again in the morning when you wake up.
Keep your moisturizer in a convenient place so you can incorporate it into your routine, especially during a flare.
Resist the urge to scratch itchy skin. This can help prevent you from further irritating a flare.
Instead, try finding relief from psoriasis itch with these tips:
- Soften scales with medication like salicylic acid.
- Use OTC anti-itch products that contain menthol or camphor.
- Apply a cool compress on the affected area.
Keep these items in your emergency kit.
As you experiment with different methods, jot down what works best to relieve psoriasis itch. You may find, for example, that a cool compress works better for you than an anti-itch product.
Use this knowledge in the future to help find relief quickly during your next psoriasis flare.
Low levels of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, are linked to psoriasis, according to
Monitoring the weather with a phone app can help you identify which days you should get outside for some sun exposure.
A weather app can also help you decide which days to stay indoors. Many people living with psoriasis experience new or worsening flares related to extreme hot or cold weather.
Tracking predictions for wind, heat, cold, and sunshine can give you insight into when to avoid the outdoors and how to dress If you need to go out.
A healthcare professional may prescribe a variety of medications for treating psoriasis. Keeping your prescriptions updated means you’ll have any necessary medications on hand to help manage a flare when it pops up.
Work with your doctor to ensure you have an appropriate supply of all medications you may use during a flare.
That way, when you do experience a flare, you won’t have to wait to make an appointment to get any prescriptions renewed. You also won’t be stuck in line at the pharmacy for a refill.
You can try several different treatment options to manage a flare.
For example, a topical steroid may be available as an ointment, cream, or lotion. Since the skin absorbs ointments more easily than creams or lotions, per
Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits of any prescription medications. Work with your doctor to come up with a plan to treat flares in the short term, as well as a long-term treatment plan to help you achieve and maintain remission.
Most people living with psoriasis experience flares from time to time. Psoriasis flares can interrupt your daily routine and make life more challenging. Identifying which strategies help you find relief can reduce the amount of time you spend dealing with future flares.