Working up a nice sweat in the gym or during an intense workout session can feel refreshing and cleansing. But when you have psoriasis, that uncomfortable psoriasis flare-up can overshadow that feeling of euphoria caused by your post-workout endorphin rush. While it is essential to avoid psoriasis triggers and follow your doctors’ recommendations, you should not remove workouts from your daily routine. That’s because regular workouts can help bust psoriasis triggers like stress and obesity, cut back on flares, and help improve your treatment.
Psoriasis alone can give you a lot of reasons to avoid exercise. However, this post will help you understand the relationship between exercise and psoriasis and why you should make exercise your top priority and also show you how to stop psoriasis flare up after your workout sessions.
Exercise And Psoriasis: How They Affect Each Other
According to Harvard Health Publishing, psoriasis typically appears as dry, red patches on the skin which may hurt, burn, or itch. Psoriasis severity varies from an individual to another, just like many other skin conditions. It can appear almost anywhere on the body, including the nails, knees, elbows, legs, arms, and torso, based on the type of psoriasis you have.
A 2018 review recommends exercise for psoriasis as an adjunct treatment. However, the type of exercise you do may be painful for your skin, based on where the skin condition can be found on your body. For example, jogging or running can cause your skin to rub against each other, causing inflammation and chaffing, especially on your underarms and inner thighs while chlorine in a pool can dry out your skin, making it susceptible to flare-ups, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology explains.
Blood vessels dilate when you exercise, increasing the circulation of nutrients and oxygen to your skin and muscles. “This may lead to skin redness and, in some instances, can make your psoriasis itchier,” Dr. Zeichner says.
But that does not mean that you should skip or avoid your favorite running or swimming workout due to psoriasis. In reality, vigorous workouts might actually help lower the risk of psoriasis, according to a 2012 study, since exercise can help reduce inflammation. According to WebMD, exercise reduces inflammation, weight, and the likelihood of having other health issues related to psoriasis, including kidney, liver, heart problems, Crohn’s disease, and diabetes.
So, how can you avoid or counteract the detrimental effects of some exercise? The solution lies in a diligent post-workout skincare routine. Adhering to the following steps after each workout session will help to alleviate your psoriasis flare-up.
How To Stop Psoriasis Flare Up After A Workout Session
Step 1: Take A Quick, Warm Bath
Washing your skin too often can lead to skin dryness. But if you engage in regular body exercise, then frequent showering is not really avoidable. However, some showering guidelines can help prevent your psoriasis from getting dry and becoming itchy or painful.
Dr. Zeichner says that even if you love taking a super-hot shower after a vigorous exercise, you should keep the water lukewarm. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends keeping your bathroom door closed to keep steam in as it prevents dryness and helps avoid using the fan. Also, reduce your showering session to 5 or 10 minutes.
After washing your skin, avoid drying it out with your towel, Dr. Zeichner adds. Instead, use a clean towel to blot or pat your skin gently to avoid additional friction on your skin, particularly in areas with painful or itchy psoriasis patches.
Step 2: Use Mild Soap
Dr. Zeichner recommends that you avoid using harsh soaps, cleansers, or body wash products when you’re taking a shower or washing your skin. If you have a dermatologist- or doctor-recommended skin care products, you’ll surely want to use that on your psoriasis.
But if there’s none, opt for cleansers or body wash that does not dry the skin. Avoid products with ingredients like fragrance, retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), and alcohol, per the AAD. They can dry out the natural oils in your skin and lead to more redness, burning sensation, or itchiness.
Dr. Zeichner recommends using a gentle, moisturizing cleanser that will not disrupt the skin’s outer layer or strip the skin. When shopping for a cleanser or body wash, look for products with the National Psoriasis Foundation Recognition Seal. Products with this seal have been tested and are safe for use in tackling psoriasis.
Step 3: Apply Moisturizers As Soon As You Can
After showing and drying off your body, apply moisturizer on your body, especially on your psoriasis. Make sure you do that within 5-minutes post-shower, says Dr. Zeichner. That will prevent dryness and lock in hydration.
Avoid using a moisturizer with harsh ingredients (like the ones mentioned above for body wash) and fragrance. Make the products recommended by your doctor or dermatologist your top priority, then supplement them (if you wish) with psoriasis-friendly products you can find at your local store. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends looking for topical products that help repair skin and prevent itching.
Psoriasis can be enough reasons to avoid exercise. However, this post has helped you understand how exercise can help avoid some psoriasis triggers and has shown you how to stop psoriasis flare-up after a rigorous workout session. Suppose you need more help with psoriasis pain management, the best food for psoriasis, and psoriasis flare-up treatment, or you’re simply looking to alleviate your psoriasis itching and burning. In that case, you should contact your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist.