Psoriasis is a skin disease that, for me, is primarily a problem during the wintertime. As someone who lives in Chicago, I deal with harsh winters every year -- the average daily highs are around 30-38 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to minimize any irritation or breakouts, I make sure to moisturize my skin and wear several layers of clothing to fight the wind and chill. Cold weather can cause scaly skin the more I’m exposed to it. So I maximize the amount of time I stay inside. Along with being indoors, hitting the gym and breaking a sweat every once in a while rejuvenates my skin and allows it to heal.
No matter what the season, I make sure to stay away from foods that can trigger an irritating reaction, especially sweets like chocolate, ice cream, and other sugary foods. Sticking to a healthy diet involves minimizing fast foods and eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. I still get to enjoy the foods I like, but I make sure to do so in moderation.
As for medication, I use anti-inflammatory creams on my psoriasis breakouts as they present themselves. I make sure to apply some in the morning before I start my day and at night after a shower. Applying creams to irritated spots is a relief, especially when the psoriasis peaks.
When my psoriasis was at its worst, I went to my local hospital and started getting light therapy. For this treatment you strip down to your underwear and stand in a light box for about 5-10 minutes once a week. It helped eliminate some scaly spots and eased the irritation.
I’m active and spend a lot of time outdoors, and my skin appreciates it. Working out and sweating provides relief and serves as positive reinforcement.
Besides applying anti-inflammatories and using lightbox therapy, my biggest takeaways are lifestyle related, like eating healthily, dressing for the weather, and staying physically active. Dealing with psoriasis is one of the most stressful things I’ve had to do, but by keeping an open mind, I’ve found ways to ease the pain and irritation.
I found that I had to be aware of my body and willing to experiment with everything I ate and drank, and everything I did. Once I was fully aware, I was able to make the changes that helped me take care of my skin.
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