Top tips for han­dling pso­ri­a­sis in sum­mer

THE HOT­TER MONTHS CAN BE A TIME OF HEIGHT­ENED ANX­I­ETY FOR PEO­PLE LIV­ING WITH THE SKIN CON­DI­TION. LIZ CON­NOR GETS SOME AD­VICE

Llanelli Star - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE -

There’s no cure for pso­ri­a­sis, but there are lots of treat­ments that may help to re­lieve your symp­toms

PSO­RI­A­SIS af­fects around two in ev­ery 100 peo­ple in the UK and you can get it at any age in life, male or fe­male.

The Bri­tish Skin Foun­da­tion says that al­though pso­ri­a­sis is a longterm con­di­tion, it can of­ten come and go through­out your life­time, which means peo­ple af­fected will usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence flare-ups fol­lowed by pe­ri­ods where symp­toms calm down.

Ex­actly why some peo­ple de­velop it and oth­ers don’t isn’t en­tirely clear.

The con­di­tion is char­ac­terised by dry, raised, scaly patches of skin, which may be itchy and some­times sore and painful.

These patches (called ‘plaques’) tend to oc­cur be­cause of an in­creased pro­duc­tion of skin cells.

Usu­ally, skin cells are re­placed ev­ery three to four weeks, but with pso­ri­a­sis this process can hap­pen be­tween three to seven days.

It’s good to re­mem­ber that pso­ri­a­sis is not in­fec­tious, so you can’t pass it on to some­one else by be­ing in close con­tact, or shar­ing a swim­ming pool or beach towel for in­stance.

That doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make it any eas­ier to deal with, how­ever, and liv­ing with a chronic skin con­di­tion can take a toll on you psy­cho­log­i­cally and so­cially, as well as phys­i­cally.

For some peo­ple with pso­ri­a­sis, sum­mer can be a tricky time – as the hot weather means hav­ing more skin on dis­play, or be­ing

un­com­fort­able in the heat if you’re still cov­er­ing up.

Hav­ing pso­ri­a­sis is noth­ing to be ashamed of – lots more celebri­ties have been open­ing up about their experience­s of the con­di­tion in re­cent years, in­clud­ing Kim Kar­dashian who has re­ferred to her own ex­pe­ri­ence on her TV show and so­cial me­dia – so aware­ness is thank­fully im­prov­ing.

If you are finding it a chal­lenge to cope with, you’re not alone. Sup­port is out there, and your GP is a good first port of call. Here, we an­swer some com­mon skin­care ques­tions around deal­ing with pso­ri­a­sis in the sum­mer...

1 HOW CAN I RE­LIEVE PSO­RI­A­SIS SYMP­TOMS?

CUR­RENTLY, there’s no cure for pso­ri­a­sis, but there are lots of treat­ments that may help to re­lieve your symp­toms and man­age flare-ups.

Treat­ments tend to fall into three cat­e­gories: Topi­cal creams and oint­ments that are ap­plied to your skin, pho­tother­apy, and oral and in­jected med­i­ca­tions that work through­out the en­tire body.

It’s a good idea to con­sult with your doc­tor ahead of your sum­mer hol­i­day, as some treat­ments may work bet­ter for you than oth­ers – and you may need to use a com­bi­na­tion.

Your doc­tor will ex­plain when and how to treat your symp­toms, and how to use any pre­scribed treat­ments properly and safely.

If symp­toms are par­tic­u­larly se­vere and on­go­ing, a re­fer­ral to a der­ma­tol­o­gist, who can give more spe­cial­ist ad­vice, is a good idea.

2 CAN SUN­LIGHT HELP MY PSO­RI­A­SIS?

SOME peo­ple find that sun­light makes their pso­ri­a­sis bet­ter, as the sun’s UVB light can slow the pro­duc­tion of new skin cells.

In fact, light ther­apy (pho­tother­apy) – where a reg­is­tered der­ma­tol­o­gist ad­min­is­ters ar­ti­fi­cial light to the af­fected ar­eas – is a com­mon treat­ment for pso­ri­a­sis that’s pre­scribed in the UK.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber about pro­tect­ing your skin in the sun though.

Ex­perts warn that some pso­ri­a­sis medicines can also make you more sen­si­tive to the sun – so it’s a good idea to speak to your GP or der­ma­tol­o­gist be­fore head­ing off on a par­tic­u­larly hot hol­i­day.

Ev­ery­body, whether or not they have a skin con­di­tion, needs to be aware of skin cancer risks from sun dam­age too, and take sen­si­ble steps to stay pro­tected.

As well as avoid­ing be­ing out­doors when the sun’s at its hottest and cov­er­ing up with hats and sun­glasses, etc, don’t for­get to ap­ply a broad-spec­trum sun­screen.

If you have very sen­si­tive skin, seek ad­vice about the best sun creams to avoid ag­gra­vat­ing any sore patches.

One day in the sun isn’t likely to clear up pso­ri­a­sis – as the skin adapts to the effects grad­u­ally – so ex­perts sug­gest you could try to get out­side for 10 min­utes per day, over the course of sev­eral days, to test if your skin reacts pos­i­tively to sun­light.

3 WILL CHLO­RINE MAKE IT WORSE?

IT’S tempt­ing to take a dip for re­lief when your skin is feel­ing tight and itchy, but chlo­rine is a chem­i­cal that can make dry patches worse and pos­si­bly cause fur­ther skin ir­ri­ta­tion for some peo­ple.

That said, be­ing sub­merged in warm wa­ter can of­ten soften hard ar­eas of skin, so the best way to avoid ir­ri­ta­tion from chlo­rine is to take a shower im­me­di­ately af­ter get­ting out of the pool.

It also goes with­out say­ing that you should avoid get­ting in the pool if you have any par­tic­u­larly bad patches that are bleed­ing or ooz­ing.

Pso­ri­a­sis is a life­long con­di­tion but for some peo­ple it will come and go

Topi­cal creams are of­ten used to treat it but there are also other op­tions

Kim Kar­dashian

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