Staying ahead of psoriasis during winter
What's trending for Jon Lovitz and Kim Kardashian this winter? Medically, they'll both be paying attention to their skin. Personal experience has taught them that as temperatures and humidity drop, staying ahead of their psoriasis is not easy. Less sunlight, along with dry, cold air, triggers flare-ups. (Those things can affect other skin conditions, like eczema, too.)
Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S. (affecting more than 7.5 million folks). It causes skin cells to multiply at an accelerated rate, piling up and causing patches of dry, itchy, sometimes painful skin.
So here are a few tips for Kim and Jon -- and anyone else with psoriasis -- to keep skin in good shape when chill winds blow:
1. Get a flu shot (only when psoriasis or eczema is not flaring); the flu (or colds) can trigger flares.
2. Be vigilant about eating right (eliminate added sugars and sugar syrups, any grain that isn't 100 percent whole, most saturated fats and all trans fats); get seven to eight hours of sleep a night; and wash your hands often.
3. Try oral doses of omegas -- anecdotal evidence says 900 milligrams of DHA/omega-3, 210 milligrams of purified omega-7 or a couple of teaspoons of olive oil daily reduce the inflammation associated with psoriasis (and eczema).
4. If scaly patches get worse, ask your doc about a cortisone cream. A 1,000 IU daily D-3 supplement is smart, too. Your doctor also may try phototherapy and/or biologic drugs that block immune system cells that trigger psoriasis.
5. Use a home humidifier, and make sure it's bacteria- and mold-free.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.RealAge.com.