As you feel the urge to get out and socialize more actively, sometimes the anxiety of having another psoriasis flare-up can hold you back. Many factors can trigger flare-ups, but you can take steps to prevent this and enjoy time with family or friends.

Don’t Overbook Yourself

While you might feel excited to be out with your social circle again, getting there can be overwhelming. It’s common to feel anxious about navigating road traffic, finding somewhere to meet up, and getting all your work done before you leave. It’s also common to over-schedule yourself, which can lead to added stress. 

Stress is one of the most common triggers for psoriasis flare-ups. As Timothy Donegan, MD, of Doylestown Hospital in Pennsylvania explains, “When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, your body releases inflammation-causing chemicals. This inflammation can trigger the process of making new skin cells too fast, and you have a flare-up.” 

To manage your stress, plan ahead as much as possible. Look at your work schedule well in advance of your event so you can tackle any deadlines early. This will keep your calendar clear and allow some leeway to handle any last-minute problems. 

Avoid late nights and prioritize your sleep so that you’re rested. If you’re planning activities, give yourself time beforehand to rest and relax. Then, space out your planned events so you have time to enjoy each moment. 

Keep Up Your Skin Care Routine

Your skin care routine is an essential part of managing your psoriasis. If you’ve found products that work well for your skin, bring them with you if you expect to be out for an extended period. Though it can sometimes be hard to stick to a routine when you’re out socializing, try to moisturize the same as you normally do. 

Keep in mind, however, that you might need to make some adjustments. “Weather can affect your psoriasis,” says Donegan. “Dry, cold weather and warm weather can worsen psoriasis. Spending time in air conditioning when it’s hot out can lead to drier skin and trigger a flare-up.” 

If your skin reacts to weather, pay special attention to the forecast and prepare. Try to do some extra moisturizing while you’re in air conditioning. 

Apply insect repellent to protect your skin, and dress for the weather. Bug bites, scratches, chafing, and exposure to extreme weather are types of skin injuries or irritations that can lead to psoriasis patches. It can take 10 to 14 days to experience a flare after an injury, so protecting your skin can prevent issues from cropping up after your fun event.

Enjoy the Sun With Caution

Light therapy is a key treatment for psoriasis because it slows down fast-growing cells and dampens your immune system. Most of it requires special lights at your doctor’s office, but natural sunlight can also help your skin.

Not everyone with psoriasis can spend lots of time in the sun, though. If you take medications like methotrexate or use topical coal tar or tazarotene medications, be careful in the sun. These medicines can raise your chances of getting a sunburn, which can lead to a flare-up and skin damage. 

Protect your skin with sunscreen, and don’t stay out in the sun for long periods. Moisturize your skin afterward.

Limit Your Alcohol to Prevent a Psoriasis Flare

You might want to kick back and enjoy a drink or two while you’re out with friends, but know your limit. Drinking alcohol can start a flare and worsen your psoriasis.

Too much alcohol can cause inflammation and damage your skin barrier. It can also stimulate your skin cells and make an infection more likely. All of these can lead to active psoriasis. 

Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks. Donegan says, “More than two drinks a day can trigger your psoriasis and can interfere with medications.” 

Keep Taking Your Psoriasis Medication

If you take medication to treat your psoriasis, take it as usual on days when you have plans. Psoriasis is a long-term condition, and staying on your medication can help you keep it under control.

If you normally take your medicine with breakfast or lunch, take it at the same time while you’re out. If you think you’ll forget, set an alert on your phone or ask a friend or family member to remind you.

Fun Doesn’t Have to End When You Have Psoriasis

If you feel like your psoriasis takes over your life, you’re not alone. Lots of people find it overwhelming and stressful, but you can enjoy time with your loved ones and prevent flare-ups at the same time. If you’re worried about your condition, talk to your doctor before any upcoming parties or big events. 

Show Sources

Photo credits:

Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology Association: “Are Triggers Causing Your Psoriasis Flare-Ups?” “Psoriasis: Tips for Managing,” “Psoriasis Treatment: Methotrexate,” “Psoriasis Treatment: Phototherapy.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Mental Health and Travel,” “Traveler’s Health Chapter 8: Travel by Air, Land & Sea.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “A deeper look at psoriasis.”

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers: “Travel Stress.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Phototherapy.”

National Health Service: “Psoriasis - Living with,” “Psoriasis - Treatment.”

Psoriasis: Targets and Therapy: “Psoriasis and alcohol.”

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “Psoriasis and the sun.”

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