Itching for a Break
Going to the gym with psoriasis can be difficult physically and emotionally, but for one Skin To Live In community member, the post-workout euphoria makes it all worth it
Toes in the water, beach chair reclined, and your favorite book to help enjoy the day in the sun. Honestly, what is better than a vacation?
Maybe the possibility of your psoriasis symptoms dissipating while in that beach chair, perhaps?
It’s an interesting phenomenon that some of our community members have noticed. Why is it that psoriasis symptoms - for some patients - seem to lessen while on vacation? What could it be? Is it the sand? Maybe it’s the water? Or perhaps it’s the cocktails? Certainly not the last one!
Let the stress wash away like the tide…
This may seem pretty obvious, but we tend to relax on vacation, and since stress may be a trigger of psoriasis,[i] anything that reduces stress could be beneficial. This is not to say that vacation always leads to less stress, and subsequently fewer flare-ups, but taking some time off could be stress-reducing for some. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
Vacation in the sun is awesome enough, but if you have psoriasis, spending time in the sun (a doctor’s recommended amount, of course) could possibly be soothing to your skin.[ii] This benefit could be from a few factors:
- The sun’s UV rays stimulate the skin to produce vitamin D, which we know has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.[iii] This makes sense too, seeing as people with psoriasis tend to have lower levels of the so-called sunshine vitamin.[iv]
- In a recent study, UV rays actually helped to clear the skin from itchy psoriatic plaques,[v] showing that regulated skin exposure to UV rays may be beneficial.
Sun and stress-reduction could be some factors that help explain why that vacation was so good to your skin. But, are there specific destinations that may benefit your skin more than others? We did some research and found a couple of potential skin-friendly holiday locations:
1. Ikaria, Greece
The Greek island of Ikaria is home to some extraordinary hot springs. They’re rich in the radio-energized mineral element saline radium and its gaseous form radon.[vi] Waters with radon appear to have anti-inflammatory properties.[vii] Locals say that regular dips may help reduce symptoms of conditions like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis.[viii],[ix]
2. Avène Thermal Spring, France
The heavily mineralized waters of this thermal spring are renowned for their healing properties and are used to relieve skin irritation.[x] Recently, one study demonstrated the benefits of Avène hydrotherapy for people with psoriasis.[xi] No wonder the spring was recognized by the French National Academy of Medicine for its health-promoting properties.[xii]
3. The Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan/Palestine
If you’re a frequent Skin To Live In reader, you may have caught our recent article looking into this phenomenon. With a very high concentration of salt,[xiii] the waters of this world famous salt lake in the Middle East are also rich in magnesium. Some types of magnesium can be absorbed directly into the skin and may reduce swelling, inflammation and ease muscle aches and pains.[xiv]
Psssst! Don’t forget to talk to your doc!
Wherever you choose to visit, make sure you do one thing beforehand: Check in with your doctor to see if these places are recommended. They are the experts and will have a better understanding if these potential psoriasis-soothing spots will be of any benefit.
Oh, and have fun!
[i] Schwartz J, Evers AW, Bundy C, Kimball AB. Getting under the Skin: Report from the International Psoriasis Council Workshop on the Role of Stress in Psoriasis. Front Psychol. 2016 Feb 2;7:87. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00087. eCollection 2016.
[ii] The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Alliance. Psoriasis and the Sun. http://www.papaa.org/further-information/psoriasis-and-sun
[iii] Mpandzou G, Aït Ben Haddou E, Regragui W, Benomar A, Yahyaoui M. Vitamin D deficiency and its role in neurological conditions: A review. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2016 Feb;172(2):109-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2015.11.005. Epub 2016 Feb 8.
[iv] Gisondi P, Rossini M, Di Cesare A, Idolazzi L, Farina S, Beltrami G, Peris K, Girolomoni G. Vitamin D status in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. Br J Dermatol. 2012 Mar;166(3):505-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10699.x. Epub 2012 Feb 6.
[v] Weatherhead SC, Farr PM, Jamieson D, Hallinan JS, Lloyd JJ, Wipat A, Reynolds NJ. Keratinocyte apoptosis in epidermal remodeling and clearance of psoriasis induced by UV radiation. J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Sep;131(9):1916-26. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.134. Epub 2011 May 26.
[vi] Zdrojewicz Z, Strzelczyk J (Jodi). Radon Treatment Controversy. Dose-Response. 2006;4(2):106-118. doi:10.2203/dose-response.05-025.Zdrojewicz.
[vii] Zdrojewicz Z, Strzelczyk J (Jodi). Radon Treatment Controversy. Dose-Response. 2006;4(2):106-118. doi:10.2203/dose-response.05-025.Zdrojewicz.
[viii] Zdrojewicz Z, Strzelczyk J (Jodi). Radon Treatment Controversy. Dose-Response. 2006;4(2):106-118. doi:10.2203/dose-response.05-025.Zdrojewicz.
[ix] Zdrojewicz Z, Strzelczyk J (Jodi). Radon Treatment Controversy. Dose-Response. 2006;4(2):106-118. doi:10.2203/dose-response.05-025.Zdrojewicz.
[xi] Merial-Kieny C, Mengual X, Guerrero D, Sibaud V. Clinical efficacy of Avène hydrotherapy measured in a large cohort of more than 10,000 atopic or psoriatic patients. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Feb;25 Suppl 1:30-4.
[xiv] University of Maryland Medical Center – Magensium. Last accessed: 19.07.16. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/magnesium