Psoriasis sufferers feel a special kind of dread around the holidays and it's called:
The Holiday Photo
The group selfies with your colleagues all gussied up for the office holiday party.
The tag-football team photo with your family at Thanksgiving.
The close-up of you and your significant other under the mistletoe.
The surprise engagement and the photo of your hands as he slips a gorgeous ring on your finger.
You have a default pose of course. Just the right angle that hides your current flare-up. But sometimes? The angle is so awkward it looks like you're being held hostage.
Then there's your outfits in those photos. Like the winter wedding with every bridesmaid in a jewel-colored, strapless dress and you - in an elegantly wrapped scarf.
Is it any wonder that Halloween might be your favorite photo holiday?
Layering - It's Not Just for Cute Winter Outfits
Don't stress yet, it's early enough in the season to take action. Psoriasis is a multifactorial condition, which means there’s a lot going on under the skin. And just like your 17-step Korean-beauty routine or your 2-step morning shave, when it comes to psoriatic skin - and the special kind of irritation that comes with it - it’s about priming your skin so that it drinks in all the juicy benefits of the treatment products you're using.
And yes, that means products, plural, as in more than one because there’s no magic bullet when it comes to prescription or non-prescription treatment of psoriasis. To subdue flare-ups and keep your psoriasis in remission, routine maintenance is key. The upside? You get to indulge in a luxurious routine that makes both you and your skin feel great.
As with any beauty routine that’s worth your time, layers are the way to glow.
Step #1: Prime the Canvas
Like preparing a canvas before painting a masterpiece, you want to condition the environment of your skin to receive all the forthcoming goodness. To do that, you want to cleanse and then optimize your skin’s ability to hydrate and draw in moisture. The skin’s acid mantle – “the protective film of natural oils, amino acids, and sweat that covers your skin”- has to be in balance to do this correctly as your skin’s first line of defense.
Why This Is Important: For those with psoriasis, this step is especially critical to barrier repair and for regulating the external irritants that can trigger the inflammatory response responsible for flare-ups.
Step #2: Treat the Texture of Your Skin
As we age, the rate at which skin cells turn over slows down. This is when we start to see uneven skin texture and a reduced luminosity in the overall tone. When we shed cells at a slower rate, they tend to get stuck together on the surface causing the build-up that leads to uneven skin texture. A BHA like salicylic acid helps un-glue those stuck together skin cells and gently sloughs off older cells for smoother skin.
Ironically, those with psoriasis have the opposite problem with skin cell turnover. The immune response is “on” all the time which results in chronic inflammation. In turn, the process of cell turnover is sped up so quickly, that new skin cells build up on old cells deep within the dermis before the old cells have a chance to reach the surface and this results in thickened skin plaques or scales.
Why This Is Important: Because psoriatic skin is sensitive, the gentler shedding action of salicylic acid is excellent for the softening and thinning of skin plaques. This allows your products to penetrate deeper, treating inflammation through multiple layers of the skin to bring flare-ups under control. It is an essential step that allows the anti-inflammatory ingredients to do their job by reducing the inflammation that causes the redness, itching, and scaling.
Step #3: Exfoliate and Moisturize Simultaneously to Maintain the Glow
For psoriatic skin to retain a healthy appearance, maintenance is critical. To illustrate this next step, let’s use a battlefield analogy:
Conditioning the skin is like clearing the field of enemy combatants.
Treating the skin texture with salicylic acid is like sending in ground troops to begin the fight with potent anti-inflammatories and antioxidants.
A moisturizer is like the air support that provides cover for the ground troops to carry on the fight.
And an exfoliating moisturizer is like air support that also drops in paratroopers to replenish the ground troops!
Why This Is Important: It nurtures the healing process and maintains the softness and pliability of the skin you’ve achieved through treatment in step number two. To protect your fresh, new skin, the combination therapy of a gentle exfoliant and an emollient moisturizer keeps the inflammation that is the underlying cause of psoriasis under control, preventing flare-ups and helping the skin to retain a healthy appearance.
Step #4: Protect the Integrity of Your Routine for Faster Results
As outside temperatures drop, indoor temps rise, and you wear a lot more layers in all situations (even at bedtime). The realities of winter mean a lot of physical friction against your skin and other potential stress triggers for those with psoriasis. Dry air, both indoors and outside, also robs your skin of moisture through evaporation.
To mitigate these conditions, you need to secure a protective perimeter around your ground troops.
And just like in a standard beauty routine, an intensely moisturizing overnight preparation is the answer. The highly emollient consistency of a night creme increases the efficacy of your psoriasis routine by acting as an additional barrier to protect your treatment products from rubbing off or evaporating too quickly.
Why This is Important: According to Bev Hope, CMO of Prosoria, this last step is the secret weapon, “by sealing in moisture,” to create the ideal conditions that accelerate the healing process. That’s why the full complement of products in the Prosoria system not only help to clear your psoriasis but also keep your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Ready? Set? Glow!
For the psoriasis warrior, patience and hope are paramount to success. As with all routines, consistency is key.
And just as one sit-up doesn’t give you six-pack ab muscles, one product isn’t going to get you the glowing skin you deserve. So, as you prepare for the parties, gatherings, and outings of the long holiday season, indulge yourself with a quality skincare regimen like the Prosoria system.
Because great skin can be yours. And you’ll have the photos to prove it.