It can often seem like psoriasis surfaces at the worst time. That’s most likely because stress can actually cause a flare-up.
“We’re not sure why stress triggers psoriasis, it just does for many people,” says Abby Van Voorhees, MD, Chair and Professor of EVMS Dermatology. “That said, skin is a part of the body and would be impacted by stress hormones, just like the rest of the body.”
Instead of letting it make things worse, there are several healthy ways to soothe your mind and skin at the same time.
- Sleep: getting the appropriate amount of rest is one of the fastest ways to relieve stress. In addition to affecting your mental health, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
- Exercise: physical activity produces endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. They also improve the ability to sleep.
- Meditation: closing your eyes for just a few moments to be calm and relaxed can drastically reduce your stress levels.
- Group therapy: being able to talk to other people with similar problems can reduce the anxiety that leads to stress.
Finding the right way to relieve stress is different for anyone, but Dr. Van Voorhees says she highly recommends group therapy for teens, “I find them especially of value to young adults with psoriasis as they struggle to fit in with their peers."