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Your Psoriasis is in Remission. Now What?

Strategies that can help you increase the length of time you spend without symptoms.

Medically reviewed in July 2021

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that can wax and wane over time. It may affect the skin in different ways, causing pain, itchiness, and red, scaly patches. Psoriasis can take some time to get under control—so once you do, you want to do everything you can to keep it that way.

While psoriasis flares may still happen unexpectedly, you can increase the length of time you spend being without symptoms—which is called remission—by avoiding your triggers and sticking with a treatment plan.

Avoiding psoriasis triggers
Many different things can trigger psoriasis, and individual triggers can vary for everyone. But here are some of the common culprits, along with ways to manage or avoid them:

  • Skin injury. This can include things like bug bites, shaving cuts, scratches, sunburn, bruises, and poison ivy rash. If you injure your skin, try to treat it as quickly as possible, and avoid scratching it. Skip tattoos and piercings, which can also trigger symptoms.
  • Illness. Similarly, psoriasis can flare up after infections such as bronchitis, earache, or strep throat. Treat any infection right away to reduce the risk of it triggering your psoriasis.
  • Weather extremes. Many people find that psoriasis flares in the winter due to the impact that dry, cold weather has on the skin. Keep your skin protected when you go outside, take warm (but not hot) showers, and use plenty of moisturizer. Sunscreen is a must for outdoor activities during any season.
  • Smoking and alcohol. Both firsthand and secondhand smoke can trigger psoriasis for some people. If you smoke, talk to your healthcare provider about quitting, and avoid being around others who smoke. Consuming alcohol can also make psoriasis medications less effective or even ineffective. If you are going to consume alcohol, drink in moderation (1 drink per day for women, 2 per day for men).

In addition, stress can be a major trigger for psoriasis.

Sticking with your treatment plan
Finding the right treatment plan for psoriasis can take some trial and error. Once you’ve established the right combination of treatments with your dermatologist and your psoriasis is in remission, here’s what you can do to help keep it that way:

  • Stick with your treatment plan. While it may be tempting to take a break from your treatment regimen when things are going well, it’s important to stay consistent. Not following treatment as prescribed can cause psoriasis to relapse—and potentially result in symptoms that are more severe than before.
  • Use a reminder system. Whether it’s a wall calendar, pen and paper, or a smartphone app, consider keeping a reminder system to help you keep track of medications, skincare routines, healthcare appointments, and other important components of treatment.
  • Continue with regular check-ups. Even when you’re in remission, it’s important that you see your dermatologist on a regular basis. It’s also important to see your primary care physician, who can help you focus on other areas of your health, including things like blood sugar, cholesterol, and mental health.
  • Find ways to keep stress in check. A healthy lifestyle can help with psoriasis as well as reduce stress. Eat well, exercise regularly, and make time for your hobbies and interests. Your friends and family can be a valuable source of emotional support, but you may also consider working with a mental health practitioner (such as a counselor or therapist) and participating in a support group for people with psoriasis.

While managing psoriasis can take a lot of work, with the right treatment, the right healthcare providers, and strategies like the ones described above, many people are able to achieve remission.

Medically reviewed in July 2021.

Sources:
Cleveland Clinic. "Psoriasis."
Elsevier Point of Care. "Clinical Overview: Psoriasis."
Harvard Health Publishing. "A deeper look at psoriasis."
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Psoriasis: Overview."
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Are Triggers Causing Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups?"
Peter C.M. van de Kerkhof and Frank O. Nestle. "Psoriasis." Dermatology, Fourth Edition, 2018.
Elizabeth Pratt. "Everything you need to know about psoriasis and smoking." Medical News Today. April 7, 2021.
Caroline Svanstrom, Sol-Britt Lonne-Rahm, and Klas Nordlind. "Psoriasis and alcohol." Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy, 2019. Vol. 9.

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