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Life’s Big Moments: Surviving the Holidays with Skin Disease

Getting through the holidays can bring up a host of issues for those living with skin disease. Here are some tips for getting through it.

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to get excited! To focus on decking the halls and lighting the menorah, right? Not necessarily. For those living with skin disease, the holidays can be flat out stressful. Whether it’s the expectations of entertaining, the holiday fashion frenzy or the influx of long-lost family members and friends, the holidays can cause normal stress levels to skyrocket with even the most spirited and organized of us all.

In short, the holidays have a lot of triggers that can lead to flare ups and frustrations. So what exactly can you do to avoid holiday stress? Let’s take a closer look.

Planning ahead

According to a recent study, 63 percent of people with psoriasis stated that their symptoms worsened with stress, and 50 percent stated that their psoriasis first appeared during a stressful time.1 So, how do you keep tinsel-related tension at a minimum?

When it comes to getting ahead of the stress that comes with holiday parties, planning ahead is essential. Consider making a list of all events that you know you will have to attend that month, and sticking to it. This can help to eliminate the anxiety that comes with last-minute planning and rearranging while still making sure that you can attend every last holiday outing and cookie baking extravaganza.

Eating and drinking (and eating some more)

Speaking of cookies, while indulging in the occasional sugary snack won’t hurt, who can ever stop at one? The holiday season is known to be one where you can freely and openly indulge in cookies, candy, eggnog, and all types of snacks and comfort foods. But, we know that diet can impact skin disease, so it’s important to try to stay on track.2

While it’s not realistic to recommend snacking on celery instead of cookies, think about practicing moderation. If you know that holiday foods trigger your symptoms, consider bringing some of your own festive snacks to the next party. Or the next time your family member suggests catching up over a glass of wine or dessert, see if they would be interested in catching up while doing a sports activity such as a walk or a bike ride. That way you can work off those extra indulgences while still catching up!

Catch some Z’s

Whether it’s late nights spent roasting chestnuts or early mornings spent chasing around your toddler relatives, the holiday season is a time where many people put sleep on the back burner. However, when you’re living with a skin disease, sleep is important because it helps fight off inflammation and increases your resistance.3 While explaining to people that you’re not just lazy is helpful, getting ahead of the problem is the real solution. Consider taking a break from frenzied holiday festivities to just relax. Who knows, you may even find yourself dreaming about warmer weather?

Sweater weather

Speaking of cookies, while indulging in the occasional sugary snack won’t hurt, who can ever stop at one? The holiday season is known to be one where you can freely and openly indulge in cookies, candy, eggnog, and all types of snacks and comfort foods. But, we know that diet can impact skin disease, so it’s important to try to stay on track.2

Although chillier temperatures may be favorable for the snowman in your front yard, they often wreak havoc on those living with psoriasis or urticaria.4 Experts suggest that cooler temperatures can cause not only dry skin, but also irritation and flare-ups.5 Since covering up in an ugly old wool sweater your grandmother knit can only work for so long, it is important to keep your skin warm and moisturized. Stick with natural textures that are comfortable and breathable. Why not wear that soft, silky scarf at your next holiday get-together? It is the holiday season after all!

No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, there will inevitably be food, festivals, and fun throughout the next few months. Don’t let your skin disease get the best of you! With these tips, you can not only get ahead of your condition, but you can also enjoy the holiday season. So grab your sweater and some eggnog, it’s time to celebrate!

  1. Leavitt, Melissa. “If you’re vulnerable to stress, your psoriasis is, too.” Last accessed 11/5/2015. https://www.psoriasis.org/blog/if-youre-vulnerable-stress-your-psoriasis-too
  2. Study on the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a therapeutic supplement in treatment of psoriasis. G Márquez Balbás, M Sánchez Regaña, and P Umbert Millet. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2011; 4: 73–77. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133503/ - See more at: http://www.skintolivein.com/psoriasis/psoriasis-and-you/can-clean-eating-lead-to-clearer-skin/#sthash.nzw3sVFB.dpuf

  3. Cerrone, Julie. “Little changes make a big difference for psoriatic arthritis.” Last accessed 11/5/2015. https://www.psoriasis.org/blog/little-changes-make-big-difference-psoriatic-arthritis

  4. Zuberbier, T., et al. "EAACI/GA2LEN/EDF guideline: definition, classification and diagnosis of urticaria." Allergy 61.3 (2006): 316-320. Accessed on November 15, 2015: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00964.x/asset/j.1398-9995.2005.00964.x.pdf?v=1&t=ih2hmbzx&s=0c1da070aef69be82d2501ae31d6755769a8a451

  5. Psoriasis. Schön MP, Boehncke WH. N Engl J Med. 2005 May 5;352(18):1899-912. Accessed on November 16, 2015: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=15872205 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra041320

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