Psoriasis is more than just a skin condition; it can affect sufferers in all kinds of ways, especially if left untreated. We look at how the key to coping with psoriasis is having a good management plan in place.
Because psoriasis is a chronic immune system disorder that isn’t just skin-deep, it's a condition that sufferers have to learn to live with, rather than cure once and for all.
Flares tend to come and go in response to various triggers, whether those triggers are physical, psychological or physiological; the aim in learning to live with psoriasis as a chronic condition is to mitigate their effects. An effective management plan would involve identifying your own unique triggers and avoiding them, as well as looking after your overall health in ways which support your body’s resistance to psoriasis.
The ultimate goal is to lessen the frequency and severity of flare-ups when they do, almost inevitably, recur.
So what would happen if you didn’t have such a plan in place?
Well, because psoriasis is such an unpredictable condition, there are several things that could happen if you stop treatment or don’t start it in the first place.
Possibility 1: symptoms are worse and last longer
The most obvious result of not treating or managing your psoriasis would be that flares are likely to last longer, and affect you more severely. It could be that small patches of psoriasis on your knuckles or elbows end up spreading to your knees, scalp or trunk. Or, instead of managing a patch of scaly skin with emollients so that it only lasts a few weeks, the symptoms could get worse and persist for months.
Possibility 2: further complications
In worst case scenarios, leaving psoriasis untreated can lead to further complications. Potential problems of unmanaged psoriasis include depression or other mental health issues, damage to the eyes if psoriasis spreads to the eyelids, more infections that tend to coexist with psoriasis, and a general worsening of quality of life.
Possibility 3: remission
However, sometimes patches of psoriasis disappear and you can go into remission for months or years without further flares, even without treatment! Psoriasis is pretty unpredictable, so it can be hard to tell why sometimes nothing you do seems to make much difference, when at other times flare ups subside as quickly as they appear without any obvious cause.
Many people find that their psoriasis worsens in cold weather and improves in the summer without needing to treat it, so it’s certainly not always the case that not having a treatment plan will be disastrous. But for most people, putting strategies in place to manage flares when they do happen will improve their skin.
Read psoriasis campaigner Jude Duncan's article How To Manage Your Psoriasis Triggers for more information about putting management plans in place.
Recommended products for psoriasis-prone skin:
We recommend a trio of Balmonds products used in tandem to help manage skin prone to psoriasis. There’s a balm, an oil and a cream, all three natural, unfragranced and full of nutrients to keep skin in soft, well-nourished condition.
Balmonds Skin Salvation balm with beeswax, hemp & chamomile (from £7.99 for 30ml) for softening and protecting skin during an intensive flare-up
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil with hemp, lavender & chamomile (£12.99 for 200ml) to support healthy regeneration of skin prone to plaque
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.