At-Home Skin and Joint Care for Psoriatic Arthritis
There’s a lot you can do to take care of your skin and joints. You take your medicine and keep up with your doctor’s advice, of course.
Add these simple ideas to your daily routine as some easy at-home TLC.
For Your Skin:
Moisturize. "Dry, cracked skin is easily injured and it can cause the psoriasis to pop up," says Steven Feldman, MD, PhD, dermatology professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Take short, warm baths and showers rather than long or hot ones. Moisturize your skin after every wash. Use a cream or lotion that you like.
Use gentle soap. Be wary of liquid soaps. "They're not really soap. They're detergent and much harsher than bar products," Feldman says.
Don’t get sunburned! It can trigger the growth of psoriasis plaques.
Don't scratch. Feldman knows this is easier said than done: "As a doctor, I want to clear up the itching so my patients don't feel the urge to scratch."
Ask about light therapy. Your doctor can let you know if at-home “phototherapy” would help clear up your psoriasis, how it compares to in-office treatment, what these devices cost, and whether your insurance would cover the expense.
For Your Joints:
Your daily activities can go a long way toward making psoriatic arthritis worse or better. Use these tips to help protect your joints.
Exercise your muscles. Regular physical activity strengthens the muscles around your joints, keeps your joints flexible, and helps you manage your weight. Look for low-impact options, like hiking, swimming, biking, or gentler forms of yoga or tai chi.
Eat well. No diet is proven to fix arthritis. But when you eat well, it’s good for your whole body. Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Cut down on sugar, salt, and saturated fats (found in meat and full-fat dairy products).
Manage your weight. If you’re overweight and lose some of the extra pounds, that takes pressure off your joints.
Pace yourself. It’s good to be as active as possible. But you also need to rest. So take breaks when you need them.
Chill out with an ice pack. The coldness can soothe inflammation.
Support your joints. Splints may help them work better and lessen pain and swelling.