The reason for the title diseases that affect the skin is because I do not have a "skin disease". I have an autoimmune disease that affects my skin. I have psoriasis. You may not have been able to tell from pictures, but I have plaque psoriasis and inverse psoriasis (the 2nd being the most rare form...as my roommate used to tell me, it's the only lottery I'm ever going to win!)
- Above all else, see a doctor. I have prescriptions to aid my outbreaks. Different prescriptions may be used to treat different areas and in extreme cases, light treatments can be used. Remember, this is a chronic disease, so despite outbreaks, a person will still have psoriasis.
- Diet & exercise. While not proven, many think diet & exercise helps. I've eliminated a lot of processed foods (but hey, I still love my salt & vinegar chips every now and again!). I've lost about 20 lbs since changing everything and overall, I feel healthier.
- Soap. Try switching to mild, fragrance free hand soaps and body wash.
- Laundry detergent. I recommend the All Free & Clear version. No fragrance, no dyes.
- Limit alcohol and smoking. Both can be stressors.
- Just b/c it says "moisturizing" doesn't make it good. Fragrances can be killer on the skin. I used to love Bath & Body Works, but my skin, does not. For lotions, I recommend Eucerin. Fragrance free, tested, many derms recommend it (I also have a prescription hand lotion/foam that works very well if you have psoriasis on the hands)
- Relax! Stress is thought to increase outbreaks, so even though we all have stressors, try to get relaxation time in each day whether it's doing yoga, soaking in the bath, or just doing something you enjoy.
- Don't be ashamed :) I once had a co-worker look at my arm and ask me if I was attacked by an animal. Are you kidding? Sadly, he wasn't.
Having skin problems can be devastating, especially in severe cases, but talking to others dealing with the disease, you may find tips/tricks/treatments that you didn't know about. You can find many sites online to discuss treatments with others.
Sorry for the insanely long post, but I wanted to put this out there for anyone who does deal with psoriasis. You can always feel free to ask me any questions, I'm open about my experiences. I have been diagnosed for about 7-8 months and have dealt with outbreaks in the past 1.5 years. My sister also has psoriasis and celiac disease (as many people have more than one health problem). Other than that, my family does not have Psoriasis, so it can be something that people feel like they are going through alone.
With treatments, my skin and outbreaks have diminished significantly. I've also been healthier as I've made lifestyle changes.