Winter And Your Skin: 7 Tips to Helping Your Psoriasis

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As most Psoriasis patients know, winter can be the hardest month to bare. In the three years that I have had Psoriasis, I notice that the fall and winter season has not been kind to my skin. But why?

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation* “A combination of dry air, decreased sunlight exposure, and colder temperatures can all contribute to winter psoriasis flares. Frequent moisturizing and use of a home humidifier can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Discuss with your doctor possible treatments to control your psoriasis in the winter.”

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I DO suggest you consult your physician but here are some things that help me during the snowy months:

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1- Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

Keep your skin moist to ease the pain, redness and scaling. The thicker the cream or ointment, the better it is at locking water into your skin. Use moisturizing soap and a creamy lotion after you shower. I use fragrance-free products like baby lotion or Aveeno.

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2- Choose soothing baths over hot showers.

I know, I know. I hate baths too but they really do help. Long showers in hot water remove moisture from your skin. If you are going to shower, shower in warm water just long enough to soap up and rinse off. (Use gentle soaps like baby soap or soaps with Tar in them- I love Grandpa Brand Soaps personally) If you choose a bath, Sprinkle finely ground oatmeal (they sell them in packets at the drug store), Epsom Salts or Dead Sea salts. Make sure the bath is WARM not hot and soak for about 15 minutes to slough off scales, soothe itching, and, most importantly, unwind. Apply moisturizing cream or lotion right after to lock the water in.

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3- Use a humidifier.

While a humidifier doesn’t work for me personally because my room is a hot box as it is, I do recommend it. To wake up with smooth skin, use a device to keep indoor air moist. Make sure you clean the humidifier or bacteria will build up and that helps no one.

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4- Wear soft layers.

Cold weather and wind can irritate your skin and trigger flare-ups. They can also make psoriasis in your joints more painful. Bundle up in a soft scarf, hat, and gloves when you go outside to protect exposed areas of skin. Dress in layers you can peel off to avoid getting too hot — sweating can make psoriasis worse. Choose cotton over wool, denim, and other fabrics that are more likely to bother your skin. When I put on creams before bed, I like to keep a pair or two of psoriasis- friendly pajamas so I don’t worry about stains.

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5- Drink water.

To pump up moisture, drink plenty of water. You’ll know if you’re getting enough because your urine will be a pale yellow. Drinking 8, 8oz cups of water is not only recommended for daily use in general but it also helps your skin. If your urine is bright yellow or dark-colored, you may need more water.

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6- Ease stress.

I know it’s hard, the winter holidays are full of cheer but also full of stress. Stress, in my experience, always makes my psoriasis worse. Plan time to relax. A massage wouldn’t hurt if you can afford it (or have a loving partner who is willing to exercise his or her hands). Exercise also helps. So get that workout in and grab a loving massage.

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7- Consult your doctor.

If nothing seems to be working, please consult your doctor. There are many options. I personally love UV Therapy but leave it to your doctor to decide what is best for you.

 

So grab that nice, soothing bath… lotion up… toss that humidifier on high and grab that massage you deserve. The holidays are for celebrating, not for skin flaking.

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How The H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks (HELL) Did You Do It???

Due to the OVERWHELMING request from you guys to know what I do to help my skin, (did I mention how appreciative I am for all the love? Well, I am.) I’m dedicating an entire blog to you all and spilling the beans. Please keep in mind *** I AM NOT A DOCTOR OR A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL, ALL ACCOUNTS ARE MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING WITH ANY MEDICAL CONDITION *** Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way…

Early 2014 I ran into a few life snags. I was stressed, I was eating poorly due to this and I just wasn’t taking care of myself. At All. As my stress increased, i began to see tiny dots on my body. I visited a doctor and he diagnosed it as Guttate Psoriasis (thanks doc. for the $200 bill… you were wrong). He gave me a topical lotion with steroids and sent me on my way.

A month passed and it just got worse. The tiny circles were now giant red, irritated, bleeding circles. Ouch. Not only were they painful but they began to itch and grow plaques (white scales that just fell of all over the house). How embarrassing !?!? But no one was telling me what to do because NO ONE KNEW. The sad thing is… most doctors are not informed enough to inform us. So what do you do? I took charge and researched and researched and then I cried and cried. Was I going to look like this forever? Who will want to date me? Who will even want to be in public with me? So I became pro-active.

AGAIN, DO NOT TAKE WHAT I TELL YOU AS SERIOUS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK OUT A PHYSICIAN.

TIPS:

-Don’t itch. I know it hurts, I know it itches and I know you want to pick those tiny little pieces of skin that seem to just about be falling off. DON’T. Let them come off on their own.

-Showers… luke warm showers. Not hot. And do not cheat and use a loofa (I know who you are). Use a bar of soap or a lather from a liquid soap. I recommend any baby soaps as they have little or no chemicals in them (same for lotions) … also, tar soaps have been amazing to me but everyones skin is different. Trial and error is best. Head and Shoulders for hair or T-Gel for hair. They are expensive so use them only when needed and don’t over wash hair if you don’t need to. Oils are OK!!

-As said above, keep your lotions chemical free. Baby lotions work best for me.

-Washing your clothes seems like a small thing but the detergent you use can affect your skin as well. Tide works best for me so I buy the Tide Pods.

– I don’t know what or if your doctor prescribed or recommended a lotion. If he or she did, i suggest rubbing it on the parts of your body that need it… if he did not then I suggest buying TAR based lotions an rubbing it on and saran wrapping those body parts. It seems ridiculous but it keeps the lotion on and soaks it in overnight. Your skin will be soft and supple in the morning.

-If you itch in the evening, wear gloves. Ridiculous? YUP! but you will be clear as soon as you can spell PSORIASIS.

-KEEP YOUR NAILS SHORT!!! This leaves less room for scratching. I know it sucks ladies but it’s worth it.

-Vitamins!!!! Take a daily vitamin and some vitamin D every day

-Your diet. When I chose to eat better my body thanked me. I limited alcohol consumption, red meat and I started eating Paleo. Paleo is essentially what the “cavemen” ate. Anything you can pick or kill. Fruits, veggies, meats. No carbs or sugars. If not just for your disease, do it for your overall health. You will feel stronger, healthier and happier. I assure you.

-Add exercise!!!! This disease attacks our immune system. Attack it back!!! Eat right, work out, kick it’s ass!!

There are many other things I recommend but will not on my blog. Medications have helped many people, I myself used UV therapy, topical lotions, etc. All things your doctor can prescribe …

BUT my general advice is eat right, treat your skin well. get some natural sunlight. and be positive. it seems simple but im living proof. I love you all and feel your pain. I am here always for any of you. ❤ SeeingPspots

I am ALWAYS available for support and question at seeingpspots@gmail.com ❤ Keep positive, keep hope

Put Down The Breast Milk and Nobody Gets Hurt

So I think anyone who has psoriasis or has caught themselves glued to a Kardashian Marathon on TV (you know who you are, “just dusting the entertainment center and it was on in the background”) knows about the infamous breast milk episode. If you don’t, here’s the recap: Kim K. has psoriasis and she heard that breast milk helps to control the outbreaks. So, being Kim K., she kinda steals some of her lactating sisters’ breast milk to try it out.

First and foremost, allow me to clear this up for you before you go popping up at a friends home grazing her fridge for breast milk; BREAST MILK DOES NOT HELP TO CLEAR UP PSORIASIS. I know the feeling of complete desperation when you have an outbreak, trust me. But please don’t throw a milk pumping party based on KK’s little stunt. That being said… Why don’t we chat about what WILL help when you have a flare up.

There are really so many different things you can do to manage your psoriasis but lets narrow this blog down to topical treatments. A topical treatment would be anything you put on top of your skin. Topicals slow down or normalize excessive cell reproduction and reduce psoriasis inflammation.

Over the counter:

Salicylic acid: This is classified as a peeling agent and works by causing the outer layer of skin to shed. It acts as a scale lifter, helping to soften and remove psoriasis scales.

Coal Tar: This works really well for me. It does smell a little funky but you get used to it. “Tar can help slow the rapid growth of skin cells and restore the skin’s appearance. In addition, it can help reduce the inflammation, itching and scaling of psoriasis. Generally, the higher the concentration of tar, the more potent the product.” (psoriasis.org) I personally like the Grandpa Brand and I swear by their tar soap. If I am using tar creams or ointments, I typically wrap that part of my body in saran wrap because it is a little messy. Leave it on for a few hours or even overnight if you can and then bathe as usual.

Soaps, Lotions and Perfumes… oh my! I always take lukewarm showers, never too hot because it irritates the skin, and I steer clear of soaps with any fragrance in them. If I don’t use my Grandpa Tar Soap, I use baby wash. (So basically I smell like I am either 3 years old or 103 years old). The same goes for my lotion. Simple, no perfumes or chemicals. Again, I find baby lotion works well for me. OK ladies (and gents)… here’s the tricky one. Perfumes and/or colognes. I know, I know… you have a hot date tonight and you don’t want to smell like Benjamin Button (or maybe you do, depending on what age he’s at). I recommend spraying your clothing, setting it aside and letting it settle. So i promise you will smell great and since you aren’t directly applying it to your skin, you’re definitely minimizing your chances of irritation.

Prescriptions:

I CANNOT stress this enough: do NOT use anyone else’s skin creams when it comes to prescribed lotions and creams. Everyone’s skin is different so please do not use anything unless it is prescribed to you. Consult your doctor about any creams or sprays in general but SPECIFICALLY if they are not over the counter.

Typically your doctor of dermatologist will prescribe a steroid cream or spray of some sort. These did not work for me but they have worked for many other people I know.

The key to all this is to be patient. Find a combination and regiment that works for YOU. It took me some time but I did manage to get a system going and a flow and It sounds like a lot of work, I know, but once you get into the swing of things, all this applying, spraying, wrapping, washing, rubbing… it will become second nature.

Moral of the story is: Milk a cow, not your friends; it’s not cool.

 

*** Are there any products you use that work for you better than others? Do you have any tricks you want to share? (psst.. we won’t tell) ***