‘Tis the season to avoid any flare ups with your psoriasis 36



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It seems this time of year I hear many patients conflicted with enjoying the beautiful weather with a couple of glasses of wine and great company. However, for many it can be a time of year where their psoriasis will flare up due to the increase stress, altered diet and family get togethers that are confronting at the best of times.

So how DO YOU manage the stressors of Christmas and enjoy the festive season while keeping your skin healthy?

1. Traffic chaos – it seems that there are more cars on the road this time of year and everyone is in a hurry. More people are driving recklessly and more rage on the roads.

QUICK TIP – ensure you have plenty of time to get where you need to go. Nothing is worth getting upset for and if people around you are feeling chaotic and stressed it doesn’t mean you need to. If a situation presents that you are confronted with reckless drivers just let it go. The frustration will soon past and will be totally forgotten.

2. Shopping centre chaos – with almost the entire world out there buying presents for all their loved ones for the exact same day there is no wonder the shopping centres are filled with people looking for gifts that are memorable and desired.

QUICK TIP – if you are stressed because finances get stretched with numerous gifts that need to be bought, suggest a Kris Kringle approach to Christmas. That way each member of the family gets a beautiful gift and also save your pennies as you can often spend a little more for one person and buy them something they will appreciate instead throwing in a cupboard and forgotten.

Perhaps opt to get up early now that many centres will open early and equip yourself with a list, comfortable shoes, water and some snacks. That way you will spend less time getting stressed, will keep hydrated, avoid eating take-away foods that will irritate your skin and get the job done with minimal shoppers around.

3. Family chaos – we all have some level of dysfunction in our family right – otherwise life would be pretty boring.

QUICK TIP – My approach is to embrace it and enjoy the moment you have with each other. If tempers flare just walk away. Someone has to show constraint so why can’t it be you. This is definitely not the time to keep score and really life isn’t about keeping score. Often alcohol can make some people more grumpy, I’m sure we all know our loved ones by now so perhaps don’t start any political rows over Christmas lunch.

4. Temptation – it is a time of year I am more tempted than others. The smell of a barbeque sizzling away, delicious dishes coming out of the oven one after the other and the urge to enjoy a cool glass of bubbles with your meal. All this sounds wonderful and makes Christmas feel more enjoyable but think about the next day and the day after that how you will feel.

QUICK TIP – Look at what the menu will be and if you are celebrating at a relative’s house perhaps chat with them as to what minor alterations can be made so that it is suitable for you. For example, instead of eating barbeque chops and sausages – you can enjoy grilled salmon or lamb souvlaki. The seasoning can be of fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary, sage etc. For salads have a bowl put aside without any dressing and you can add your own dressing including extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and lemon. There are some great recipes you could get from http://ireneprantalos.com/recipes-for-psoriasis that will taste delicious and limit any feeling of missing out. While you are there have a look at the Apple and Coconut Muffins, I prefer eating them warm with some fresh stewed apple drizzled over the top.

5. Alcohol – this one is a tricky one. Often I get asked for tips on dealing with the temptation of alcohol. The only tip I can suggest is have a juice prepared earlier that has a combination of vegetables and fruit that can wet the appetite and reduce the need to drink alcohol. You can mix it with a little bit of sparkling water to add the fizz to it.


  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 5 stalks of kale
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 beetroot (optional)
  • 1-2 celery sticks
  • splash of sparkling water
  • ice if preferred
  • garnish with mint

The truth is you can add anything to this but I would keep the fruit to only 1 piece.

6. Overall Stress – it is a time of year of overall stress as many of us reflect on what we have or what we don’t have or what we are told we must have but don’t. The truth is stuff or other people’s expectations of what your life must be will never make you happy.

QUICK TIP – Perhaps take the time to look at what gems you do have and also if something is challenging you at this time whether it be relationships, health, family etc look at what you can change about you to better deal with it or change your life to give you the outcome you desire. Being mindful of the moment you are currently in and eliminating the stress of the past or the anxiety of the future will help with clearing your mind and invigorate you to feel more energetic and patient with life’s obstacles. It’s important to remember we all have obstacles in our life and reaching out to get a helping hand from someone who supports you and loves you is what this time of year is all about.

Share your thoughts below.

Irene Prantalos

Irene Prantalos knows what it is like to overcome a debilitating illness, and turn her life around. She was diagnosed with psoriasis when she was just 11 years old and battled her way through adolescence and into early adulthood, suffering from the skin disease… until she found a way to live free from psoriasis with the help of her mother. She is now a healthy skin educator and pioneer. www.ireneprantalos.com

  1. Obviously the writer of this story has never had psoriasis or if they have they have only had it mildly. Can I just say ‘Do not write about something you know so little about’. My husband is covered from head to toe with this debilitating skin disease. No one has ever helped him. Even the government will only hand out 4 little tubes of ointment a month. This he uses on his face. Less stress for my husband? He is the most lay back person I know. Rather than tell us what they should be doing they should be working on a cure. Oh! By the way. When he was 19 he was told he was lucky to have psoriasis. Otherwise it would have been a massive heart attack. Now I have finished my rant. I will keep watching my husband scratch at night in his sleep. I will keep watching my husband knock himself and bleed for ages after and I will keep watching my husband explain to people it is not a horrid catching disease. He just keeps going with a smile.

    15 REPLY
    • Christine. I’m so sorry your husband suffers so badly with psoriasis. Does he take any medication for it??? I take Methotrexate.

    • Not any more Annette McIntyre he had a cancer treatment for 3 months in his twenties. Three months of light treatment ointment then wrapped in bandages and glad wrap and the tablets every day for 3 months.

    • Christine. Oh dear your poor husband must be torture for him. I only have it on my hands & soles of my feet. I can’t imagine all over my body. I hope he gets some relief I wish him all the best

    • I also have psoriasis quite badly it started in my early 20’s and I will be 50 next year. I got so sick of using all the the horrible prescription ointment & tablets supplied by the many doctors & specialist I’ve seen over the years. Now I use Lucus Paw Paw Ointment…. This does nothing to help my psoriasis at all…. But I apply it to my skin as soon as I get out of the shower ( before the scales start to dry & get hard) This gives me the flexibility to move around all day without feeling like I have a million paper cuts every time I move. Because the skin is more flexible it helps a lot with the itching. I also find eating capsicum make my skin insanely itchy. I’ve realised psoriasis is a disease most of us cannot beat but just making life more comfortable is a great help. I wish you well on your psoriatic journey.

    • I hope you don’t have the rheumatism as well. Chris does and uses a stick quite often noe. He is in his esrly 60’s. Good luck to you Rhonda.

    • My sister suffered so badly with this Christine and like your husband she was not a stressed person. I wish I could tell you the treatments etc she was on but i don’t know and sadly can’t ask her any more . Reading these comments somehow helps me understand even more her journey if that makes sense

    • Im so sorry …your poor husband..is there nothing that could be done for him ..i get it very mildly …have you tried organic coconut oil..

    • It is totally frustrating Christine. I have had Psoriatic Arthritis on and off since I was 37 and psoriasis mainly on my scalp. Had many cortisone injections into joints over the years, methotrexate and cortisone creams. It is definitely not caused through stress in my case and in many. It is an auto immune condition and I wish they would find a cure for it. It is the bane of my life and I am sure all those who suffer from it.

    • I have only recently found out that it is an auto immune condition. So not fair that people do not understand. Good luck Noreen.

  2. I agree with Christine, I have suffered psoriasis since I was 11 years old, I am now 84 and still no help available

  3. Christine Raynes, have you tried Arganlife soap and oil??? I’ve used it for my stress activated excema and terribly dry skin and used to scratch like a dog with fleas and now I don’t scratch at all and my skin is soft. They are on the Internet.

  4. Agree with Christine, I had it to the same degree for many years growing up. I am one very lucky lady, for many years now I only have it on my elbows and in my ears. Mind you from five years ago, I now suffer from Psoriatic arthritis, which also I am very lucky because I have it under control with medication. Very strong meds, but have been able to reduce the dosage greatly, I am very thankful. It is the most wretched skin condition which not only affects one physically, but also mentally.

  5. A while ago on A current affair I saw an article about a new drug called Secukinumab or Cosentyx, it’s an injection you get once a week for 4 weeks & then once a month after that, it works on the chemical in our body that cause inflammation & they have been having great success with it, the people being interviewed had almost cleared up with improvement being seen after the first injection, I’m going to ask my doctor about next time I see her for myself & my son, anything is worth a try, I’ve had it for 40 yrs & have tried everything & nothing really helps, but this looks good.

  6. I have suffered with psoriasis now for 40 yrs, I am so over it, has cleared up in certain places, but scalp psoriasis is so bad it nearly drives me crazy. The only thing that work with constant use is Novasone Lotions, I get 5 bottles of it a month with 5 repeats. I feel very sad for everyone who is plagued with this.😕

  7. Hi Christine, I empathise with your husband as i to have been covered from head to toe. As the writer of this article i can assure you i know more than anyone that this disease is debilitating and hurts you on the physical level but also to your very core. I struggled for years with the roller coaster ride of psoriasis. In my opinion to manage this disease (and management is all i am saying can happen as there is yet to be a cure) it takes a multifaceted approach. You must eat well, live a healthy lifestyle, use a treatment that is actually eliminating the inflammation in the body not only suppressing it and giving your body time to heal. So many of my patients expect things to change over night. Unfortunately this disease does not resolve over night. It takes persistence and guidance and support (which your husband is extremely lucky to have as i have many patients that are isolated as a result of their psoriasis). Here’s a link to my story for anyone here wanting to actually know about my personal experience with psoriasis http://www.ireneprantalos.com/exposing-my-battle-with-psoriasis-why-on-earth-did-i-put-myself-out-there/
    I know first hand about doctors giving up on me. I was discharged from my second hospital visit and the doctor told me to go elsewhere as he couldn’t help me because my condition was so severe and he has never treated anyone with this severity. So i had no choice. I had to take matters in to my own hands and find a way of managing it. So yes i have found a way to manage it, no it is not a cure so i need to adhere to this way of living but at least i am no longer bedridden ( because when i walked my skin would crack and bleed so it was better if i just lay in bed) like i was. Email me at [email protected] and i am more than happy to chat to your husband and see if i can offer him help. I know exactly what it feels like to be ignored and i believe that is why i seem to get all the ‘challenging’ patients. This invitation is extended out to anyone who feels the same way and is wanting to find the answers to managing their psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as well.

  8. Moo goo ointment. Remember my sis had tar baths!!! My mam used all sorts only ever went away when she was pregnant! I have a bit in my head which flares up when I am anxious etc and it’s humid too many causes to find a fool proof cure! Hope your husband find some relief it’s just awful!

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