Psoriasis is a chronic condition that causes your skin to have thick, red, scaly patches. Psoriasis is itchy and comes from the Greek word for “itch.” More severe cases show up as loose, silvery, scaly skin along with the red patches. Hands are one of the most common places for psoriasis. Psoriasis is not contagious, but it can be embarrassing, and while there is no cure for psoriasis, you can treat the condition in several ways.
Psoriasis is not always active, but it is subject to flare-ups, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Psoriasis can run in families. People who have it report that certain conditions can cause the flare-ups, such as cold, dry weather, stress, infections, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen) and high blood pressure medicine. Smoking can make psoriasis worse.
You may be able to control the flare-ups. Injuring your skin can cause psoriasis to develop at the injury site. Be careful when trimming your fingernails, recommends the University of Michigan Health System. Stress can cause flare-ups or can worsen an existing condition. Certain infections, such as strep throat, can cause psoriasis to appear. Although some sunlight is good for psoriasis, too much sun has the opposite effect. Sunburns can trigger flare-ups. Alcohol can cause flare-ups as can smoking, particularly in women. The Beat Psoriasis website recommends you drink plenty of water, eat green, leafy vegetables and avoid sugary sodas, red meat and spicy foods.
Treating Mild Cases
Treating mild cases includes keeping your hands moist with lotions and creams. Apply the moisturizers when your hands are still damp to hold in the moisture better. Exposing your hands to some sun during the day can help, as long as you don’t overexpose them. Some people find aloe vera to be soothing, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
Prescription Medicines and Phototherapy
If over-the-counter creams and lotions don’t work, your doctor may prescribe topical medicines, such as vitamin D compounds, corticosteroids, tar products or retinoids. Your doctor may have you use a medicated cream or moisturizer and then wrap your skin with plastic wrap to help keep the skin moist.
Exposing the psoriasis to ultraviolet light often improves it, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Patients usually do phototherapy three times a week. This treatment is typically done in addition to using an ointment.
Your doctor may prescribe oral medicines if you have a severe case of psoriasis. Medicines include methotrexate, some retinoids and cyclosporine. Methotrexate works well for many people when other treatments fail, according to the University of Michigan Health System website. Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant cannot take methotrexate. Retinoids are related to vitamin A. Pregnant women cannot take them. Cyclosporine weakens the immune system, so it is usually used on a rotational basis, along with other treatments.
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