Psoriasis: Do You Know Your Triggers?

Friday, April 18, 2014 12:56 PM comments (0)

psoriasisPsoriasis, which can first show symptoms between the ages of 15 and 25, often has a severe impact on an individual’s physical health as well as their confidence. A chronic condition, psoriasis occurs when new skin cells replace the old too quickly, creating areas of skin with thick, scaly red patches of various sizes. In some cases, the skin condition also creates swelling and pain in the joints, called psoriatic arthritis. Approximately 7.5 million Americans or 2.2 percent of the population suffers from psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Fortunately, there are treatments avYour ailable for psoriasis that can reduce the severity of the symptoms. For example, your dermatologist may prescribe medicated skin products, UV treatments, or other systemic  medications  to reduce symptom severity, although it may take time to determine which course of treatment will yield the best results. 

For most, symptoms often become worse following certain triggers. Therefore one of the best steps you can take in controlling your psoriasis is to identify and avoid those triggers that can cause flare-ups. Stephanie Mehlis, Dermatologist at NorthShore, highlights some common psoriasis symptom triggers:

  • Infection
  • Scratching the skin
  • Medication
  • Smoking
  • Stress/anxiety
  • Sunburn

How do you cope with symptoms of psoriasis? What triggers your symptoms?

Best Sunscreen Choice – Spray, Stick or Lotion?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 8:54 AM comments (0)

SunscreenWhen you plan to be out in the sun for an extended period of time (or even a short while), wearing some form of sun protection is better than nothing. But, with all the options on the market today, how do you know which sunscreen is best for complete sun protection?

Reshma Haugen, MD, Dermatologist at NorthShore, talks about the different types of sunscreen and offers suggestions on which are better than others:

  • Select a sunscreen that works best for you. Spray, stick and lotion sunscreens can all be equally effective, if used correctly. Be sure to read the directions on how to best apply. You’ll also want to make sure you apply sunscreen to all areas of the skin. Some find it easier to do this with lotions, while others prefer the spray. If you are using a spray sunscreen, it’s best to apply a thin layer that you can then rub in with your hands.
  • Choose a sunscreen that offers Broad Spectrum (both UVA and UVB) protection. This choice will help reduce the risk of skin cancer and help prevent early skin aging.
  • Pay attention to the numbers. Sunscreen SPFs (sunscreen protection factor) range from 4 to 100.  A sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher is recommended.  A sunscreen with an SPF value between 4 and 14 can only help prevent sunburn, but not necessarily reduce the risk of skin cancer.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours. While it’s important to select a sunscreen that is water resistant, it’s also important to realize that you will still need to reapply.

What type of sunscreen do you prefer to use? Do you use sunscreen every time you are outside in the sun?

Sun Safety – Limit Your Risks of Developing Skin Cancer

Monday, May 07, 2012 8:42 AM comments (0)

Sun Safety

As the summer approaches, many of us will spend more time outdoors enjoying the weather and the sunshine. While the sunshine can be good for you by improving your mood and giving you a boost in Vitamin D, without the proper protection it can also be harmful to your skin and body.

Aaron Dworin, MD, Dermatologist at NorthShore, offers his advice on how to protect your skin and limit your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun. Spend more time in the shade, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Generously apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection) when you know you’ll be out in the sun. Sunscreen should be used any time you know you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, even if it’s cloudy outside. Be sure to frequently reapply sunscreen as needed. Fears of not getting enough Vitamin D when using sunscreen are unproven and often overblown.
  • Avoid going to the tanning bed. Despite claims that tanning beds are safe, both UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin.
  • Dress appropriately for the sun. Wear a hat to shield your face, head and ears; wear sunglasses to protect your eyes (100% UVA & UBA protection is best); and wear clothing that limits your skin’s exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid trying to get a tan by sunbathing or applying tanning oils.

How often are you outside in the warmer months? What do you do to protect yourself from the sun?

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