Having said that, Hu notes that repetitive motions of body parts with “increased exposure to friction and pressure” can cause painful flare-ups. While activities like tennis or yoga can be culprits of flare-ups, there are other repetitive motions to watch out for, too, such as leaning on our elbows at a desk all day.
Eliminating or cutting back on certain motions can help, of course, but that’s not always possible, and physical activity and exercise are also helpful for general health and preventing psoriasis over time.
“For people with psoriasis and an active lifestyle, it gets more difficult to avoid sports-related Koebner’s phenomenon,” Hu says. “This is why wearing long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and comfortable, well-fitted shoes can be very helpful in reducing pressure and skin trauma.”
Prioritize Skin Barrier Hydration
Focusing on prevention can have a bigger impact on your experience with psoriasis than you might think. Engelman suggests hydrating your skin and locking the moisture in regularly to help prevent cracking, tearing, and bleeding.
“The more pliable your skin is, the less likely it will be to crack or tear. When your barrier is compromised, it is more prone to infection, irritation, redness, etc.,” she says, recommending that those dealing with psoriasis use products with ingredients that support, soften, and nourish the skin barrier, such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, peptides, and niacinamide.
Sandy Skotnicki, a board-certified dermatologist in Toronto, Canada, and author of Beyond Soap, echoes Engelman’s advice. Proper moisturization, she says, can also help the skin better absorb topical psoriasis medication.
Take Cooler Showers
If you love nothing more than a steaming hot shower, few people can blame you — but it might not be helping your psoriasis, says Engelman.
“Avoid taking hot showers, which strip the skin of natural oils,” she says, adding that she often recommends patients invest in a humidifier. “In sub-optimal humidity environments, we can experience major transdermal water loss because the environment is pulling moisture from our skin all day long,” she says. “A humidifier adds clean moisture back into the environment therefore supporting skin barrier function and reducing dryness, redness, and texture.”
Change How You Use Body Wash (and Maybe Your Body Wash Brand, Too)
Taking a shower may be one of the most mindless parts of most of our daily routines, but for those with psoriasis, it’s worth taking a second look at your bathing habits. This isn’t just true when it comes to temperature, but also regarding body wash choice.