Psoriasis - Topic Overview
A doctor can usually diagnose psoriasis by looking at the patches on your skin, scalp, or nails. Special tests aren't usually needed.
Most cases of psoriasis are mild, and treatment begins with skin care. This includes keeping your skin moist with creams and lotions. These are often used with other treatments including shampoos, ultraviolet light, and medicines your doctor prescribes.
In some cases, psoriasis can be hard to treat. You may need to try different combinations of treatments to find what works for you. Treatment for psoriasis may continue for a lifetime.
Skin care at home can help control psoriasis. Follow these tips to care for psoriasis:
- Use creams or lotions, baths, or soaks to keep your skin moist.
- Try short exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) light.
- Follow instructions for skin products and prescribed medicines. It may take a period of trial and error until you know which skin products or methods work best for you. For mild symptoms of psoriasis, some over-the-counter medicines, such as aloe vera, may be soothing.
It's also important to avoid those things that can cause psoriasis symptoms to flare up or make the condition worse. Things to avoid include:
Skin injury. An injury to the skin can cause psoriasis patches to form anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury. This includes injuries to your nails or nearby skin while trimming your nails.
Stress and anxiety. Stress can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly (flare) or can make symptoms worse.
Infection. Infections such as strep throat can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly, especially in children.
Certain medicines. Some medicines, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and lithium, have been found to make psoriasis symptoms worse. Talk with your doctor. You may be able to take a different medicine.
Overexposure to sunlight. Short periods of sun exposure reduce psoriasis in most people, but too much sun can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. And sunburns can trigger flares of psoriasis.
Alcohol. Alcohol use can cause symptoms to flare up.
. Smoking can make psoriasis worse. If you smoke, try to quit.
Studies have not found that specific diets can cure or improve the condition, even though some advertisements claim to. For some people, not eating certain foods helps their psoriasis. Most doctors recommend that you eat a balanced diet to be healthy and stay at a healthy weight.