(HealthDay)—Sun protection is among the skin care habits that can help people with the chronic skin condition psoriasis reduce some of the discomfort they may experience, such as skin itching, cracking and bleeding, an expert says.
"It's extremely important for people with psoriasis to protect their skin from excessive sun," Dr. Stephen Stone, a professor of dermatology and director of clinical research at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. "Being exposed to the sun for too long can worsen existing psoriasis and cause new psoriasis to form."
Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches on the skin of the scalp, elbows or other parts of the body. The condition is believed to be caused by an interaction of genes, the immune system and the environment.
Along with emphasizing sun protection, Stone offered other tips to help people with psoriasis manage their condition:
- Avoid skin injuries, such as nicks, cuts and bug bites.
- One of the best ways to stop itching is to treat the psoriasis. When the psoriasis clears, itching usually disappears.
- Try not to scratch—it can worsen psoriasis. To ease itching, apply a cold compress, moisturize daily and apply medication as directed by your dermatologist until the psoriasis clears.
"If you have joint pain or your psoriasis is extensive, be sure to see a board-certified dermatologist," Stone said. "Psoriasis has been shown to affect other areas of health, including heart health."
Explore further: Many psoriasis patients going without treatment, study finds
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about psoriasis.