Is Psoriasis Remission Possible?

The news that you have a chronic disease like psoriasis is understandably hard to handle. And a lifetime of psoriasis symptoms — skin that's often red, scaly, flaky, itchy, and painful — probably seems like an unfair burden to bear for the 7.5 million Americans with psoriasis.

But some people have long periods with no symptoms, known as psoriasis remission, when their psoriasis treatment is successful.

Spontaneous remission, or when your symptoms clear up without treatment, is also possible. Your immune system attacks the skin cells mistakenly, which is what triggers psoriasis in the first place, but in some cases, the body relents and allows the cells to heal.

Psoriasis Remission: How It Can Happen

No medicine will keep symptoms away forever. Recent advances have been made in the quest to isolate the part of the immune system response that causes psoriasis, resulting in an explosion of new and effective remedies. With the right treatment, you may enter psoriasis remission and have no visible symptoms for a period of time.

But the reality is that even if symptoms go away, they’re likely to come back. And when they do, you have to be ready to squelch them before your skin flares up too badly.

What to Do if Psoriasis Returns

When psoriasis strikes again, the best recourse is to start treating it — pronto. If your previous treatment was successful, talk to your doctor about resuming the same course. But sometimes skin becomes resistant to a certain treatment, and what was once useful is no longer effective at managing psoriasis symptoms. In that case, you’ll need to try a new approach.

"There is no 'one size fits all' treatment for psoriasis," says James Swan, MD, professor of medicine in the department of dermatology at Loyola University Chicago and dermatologist at the Loyola Center for Health in La Grange Park, Illinois. "Treatment decisions are based on the type, severity and extent of the psoriasis, as well as the response or lack of response to prior treatments. There are many options, and new and fortunately very effective treatments are coming to market at a rapid pace."

There are several treatments available for psoriasis, including:

You might never be able to completely control psoriasis and hold off a flare-up indefinitely, but you can certainly try to keep psoriasis in remission as long as possible. There are plenty of steps you can take to try to prevent psoriasis from acting up again.

Preventing the Return of Psoriasis Symptoms

Once your skin returns to its healthy color and texture and no longer itches or flakes, you can try to ward off a flare of psoriasis symptoms with these strategies:

  • Get a little sun. Don't allow yourself to get burned — that skin damage could cause psoriasis to act up again — but a little bit of sun exposure can help keep mild psoriasis symptoms at bay. Just be sure to use sunscreen.
  • Say "om." Stress is thought to be a trigger for some people with psoriasis, so find ways to relax and manage stress levels to keep red skin from flaring.
  • Don't scrub. You'll want to take a shower or slip into a bath each day to keep your skin clean, but don't give it a vigorous scrubbing. Roughing up your skin can irritate it and trigger a psoriasis flare. Wash gently and pat dry. Follow with moisturizer.
  • Detox your body. Keeping your insides healthy will reflect well on the outside. That means you should avoid infections, restrict your alcohol intake, and definitely kick the cigarette habit.

Even if there's no cure, psoriasis remission offers the next best thing — freedom from visible psoriasis symptoms. Try different treatments to find out what works best to bring you relief from psoriasis for as long as you can keep it subdued.

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