Ways to Improve Your Chances of Success with Psoriasis Treatment

Strategies that can help improve your chances of achieving and maintaining remission.

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that results from abnormal immune system activity. People with psoriasis may experience a variety of skin symptoms, but the majority experience what is called plaque psoriasis—thickened patches of skin that are red, silvery, and scaled in appearance.

Like other inflammatory diseases, psoriasis follows a cycle of relapse and remission, where symptoms flare at times and disappear at other times. Remission refers to those times when symptoms disappear. During remission, skin symptoms will clear up (though not always 100 percent). Achieving and maintaining remission is the goal of treating psoriasis.

Here, we look at a few strategies that can help improve your chances of achieving and maintaining remission.

Work with your healthcare provider
The first and foremost step to successfully managing psoriasis is to work with a healthcare provider with experience treating the condition. In most cases, this will be a dermatologist.

Because psoriasis varies in symptoms, severity, and the impact it has on a person’s life, it requires an individualized approach to treatment. The National Psoriasis Foundation refers to this approach as “treat to target,” meaning a treatment plan should be built around your specific symptoms and needs.

Treatment may include a combination of different therapies, including topical therapies (which are applied directly to the skin), UV light therapy (which can help regulate the lifecycle of skin cells), and systemic medications, including biologics (oral or injected medications that reduce inflammation throughout the body).

In addition to working with a dermatologist, it is also important to work with other healthcare providers—including a primary care physician—to manage other areas of your health. There are numerous health conditions that are associated with or may be related to having psoriasis, including psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Strategies for psoriasis success
In addition to your medications and therapies, there are a number of strategies that can help relieve symptoms and improve your chances of success.

  • Exercise. Exercising regularly helps improve both physical and mental health.
  • Eat healthy. While there is no specific “psoriasis diet,” people with psoriasis are advised to eat a balanced, nutritious diet because it benefits overall health and may help reduce inflammation. Avoiding foods known to trigger psoriasis flares is also important.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol. This is a topic to discuss with your healthcare provider. Drinking in moderation may be okay, but alcohol may make psoriasis symptoms worse and interfere with treatment.
  • If you smoke, quit. And avoid secondhand smoke. Tobacco use is associated with more severe psoriasis symptoms (as well as many other health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, COPD, and many different cancers).
  • Reduce stress. Stress can trigger psoriasis flares. Make time for things you enjoy and consider adding a stress-reducing activity to your routine, such as yoga or meditation. You may also want to consider working with a counselor or therapist to help manage the mental and emotional impact of psoriasis.
  • Protect your skin. Injured or damaged skin can cause psoriasis symptoms to flare. Take steps to keep your skin from sustaining any kind of injury, such as wearing sunscreen to protect from sunburn and wearing gloves when doing household chores. You will also want to avoid tattoos and piercings.
  • Discuss medications with your healthcare provider. Before taking any new medication (including over-the-counter drugs and supplements), discuss it with your healthcare provider. Certain medications are associated with psoriasis flares, including medications used to treat high blood pressure and mental health disorders.
  • Keep a journal. Keeping a record of your experience with psoriasis will help you and your healthcare provider recognize patterns, triggers, and opportunities for improving your treatment plan. Make note of symptoms, good days and bad days, your stress level, your moods, what you eat, and how you feel about your psoriasis treatment.

While remission can last for months or years, it’s important to understand that remission does not mean that psoriasis is cured or that treatment can stop.

One more strategy that you can do to help improve your chances of success—connect with other people who have psoriasis. Managing a chronic condition is demanding and requires significant amounts of time and energy. Consider participating in a support group for people with psoriasis or chronic skin conditions in general, where you can be around others who share this experience.

Medically reviewed in August 2021.

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