Living well with psoriasis


Practicing self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity

With Psoriasis awareness week in full swing now and running until the 4th of November, it feels like the perfect time for Usay to help raise awareness and offer tools and resources for support.

The ‘living well’ mantra for psoriasis awareness week is all about seeking and continuing to live full, active lives. This may be in the form of practicing self-care which we will explore in this blog post. Self-care is not a luxury when it comes to living with psoriasis; it is a necessity.

With that in mind, we have delved into the symptoms, treatments, and lifestyle recommendations for you, so you can keep on living well with Psoriasis.

You can find the sought-after answers to common FAQs below.

What is Psoriasis?

So, what is Psoriasis, exactly? Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition and is relatively common as it affects around 2 in 100 people in the UK. But with no cure and limited available understanding of the exact cause, it can seem daunting to begin to understand how to manage the condition.

People living with psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells. This in turn leads to flaky patches of skin which form scales. Skin cells are made in around 3 to 7 days in Psoriasis but for skin cells that are normally made this takes far longer with skin cells generally replaced every 3 to 4 weeks. This causes the build-up of patches on the skin. These are thickened, red patches of skin, which may be covered with silver-white scales. 

What is Psoriasis Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects some people living with psoriasis. It is also a chronic condition, but it affects the joints which can lead to joint pain as well as symptoms of swelling and stiffness. It affects 1 in 3 people who have psoriasis, but it can also vary in severity and with effective treatment, joint damage can be minimised and even prevented.

What causes Psoriasis?

It is generally thought in the scientific world to be a problem with the immune system. Essentially, the cells that travel through your body by your immune system, T-cells, would usually identify and fight back against any attacking germs. However, these cells attack healthy skin cells instead and this is where the reason for this is not all that clear. There are some common theories around the triggers of Psoriasis starting in the body which include:

  • Throat infections
  • Using certain medicines
  • Injury to your skin

The above triggers are also thought to potentially play a part in flare-ups of the condition.

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Are we any closer to a cure?

Treating Psoriasis is still a reasonably complex and ever-changing road and so is the condition itself. Flare-ups of the condition will arise but often  there will also be times when the condition will clear up. There is very much an ebb and flow with this condition. Staying in tune with a healthy lifestyle and looking after your wellbeing in addition to undergoing medical treatment can certainly help. Although research is not extensive, academic studies have established a link between people having Psoriasis that also undergo heavy drinking or smoking. This does not mean that because you smoke or drink more than the recommended amount you will necessarily have or will develop Psoriasis. But it does give a lot of food for thought and leads up nicely to our section that comes later around lifestyle and wellbeing.

Are there treatments available?

The great news is that there is a wide range of treatments available for mild to severe cases of the condition. If you are concerned that you may have symptoms of Psoriasis, then contact your GP who will be able to assess and prescribe treatment if required.

Treatments range from topical ointments such as Vitamin D treatments or topical steroid creams to phototherapy treatment involving ultraviolet light exposure for more severe cases. General treatment alongside more targeted ones often consists of creams, lotions, or ointments that moisten and soothe your skin. 

What role can self-care play?


To put it simply – a huge one. Looking after yourself, mind and body, can massively contribute to your overall wellbeing. Whilst there is no guarantee that this will reduce symptoms there have been links to stress as a contributing factor with flare-ups.

Many people living with the condition have reported that flare-ups have come around a period of increased stress or anxiety. Many scientific reports published by the scientific journal accept that "stress is a well-known triggering factor in the appearance or exacerbation of psoriasis". Below are some helpful tips for practicing self-care to keep your stress levels to a minimum and look after your health:

  • A healthy, balanced diet is a great place to start. Consuming at least five portions of fruit and vegetables. Keeping a food diary so you can keep track of any symptoms that arise around the time of certain foods can help to avoid triggering foods. NHS guidance, here
  • Another glass of wine? We all deserve to indulge in an alcoholic drink now and again, but it is important to do so in moderation. Top tip: check if it is safe to drink on the medication you are using.
  • Feeling rested and energised. Getting those recommended 7 hours of sleep every night and 150 minutes of exercise in each week will keep your overall health in check and steady. An added bonus is it will help to keep stress levels down.
  • Not smoking. Stoptober may have recently drawn to a close, but any time of the year is the perfect time to quit. Reducing health risks massively and improving physical and mental wellbeing. There are plenty of resources available through the NHS

If you are interested in learning more about exercise options such as yoga or perhaps Thai Chi, then check out our blog post: Growing stronger at any age.

If you are interested in learning more around mindful drinking to help with moderate drinking practice, then read our blog post: What is mindful drinking? 

Living well with Psoriasis

The important thing to remember is you are not alone, and help doesn’t just stop with your GP. There is a whole plethora of resources out there to support with specific types of psoriasis such as plaque psoriasis which affects the scalp, to nail psoriasis, as well as psoriasis arthritis. It is just about knowing where to find them and that is where we can help. Below we have listed some key resources that are definitely worth checking out and perhaps even using to learn more about living well with Psoriasis:

  • Psoriasis Action – As well as a range of information on Psoriasis you can find access to leaflets, their helpline, FAQs, treatments, and peer-to-peer support. There is also information around donating and volunteering as well as becoming a member.

  • NHS website – If you are looking for trustworthy information in order to get a good grasp on the basics around types, treatments, and causes then this is your one-stop shop. There are also links to further resources such as diet and lifestyle.

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