Patient Information

Psoriasis and healthy lifestyle choices


This leaflet offers guidance on making healthy lifestyle choices if you have psoriasis. 

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red scaly patches. Commonly affected areas include the elbows, knees, scalp and back, but any area of the skin can be involved.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition. This means it is a long term condition that can be controlled but not cured. 

30% to 50% of people with psoriasis can have associated inflammation in their joints. This is known as psoriatic arthritis.

In recent times, research has consistently shown that there is a link between psoriasis and heart disease.

We also know that psoriasis is a part of the “metabolic syndrome”. This term refers to a group of conditions that increase the risk of someone developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular (heart) disease.  The conditions which increase the risk are:  excess body fat, high blood pressure, abnormally high fat levels in the blood and insulin resistance.

How can healthy lifestyle changes help my psoriasis?

A few healthy lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on your psoriasis.  They can also improve your overall health.

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Weight loss
Studies show that even a small amount of weight loss can reduce the amount of psoriasis on the skin. Both psoriasis and obesity (excess body fat) increase inflammation in the body. When the inflammation is reduced, the psoriasis on the skin reduces.
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Regular exercise
Exercise can also help with weight loss and reduce skin inflammation. 

Some people prefer not to go the gym or engage in outdoor activities when their skin is inflamed. If you are self conscious about going to a gym while your skin is inflamed, you can do indoor exercises at home. More information:
Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
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Lower alcohol intake
Alcohol can increase the chances of developing psoriasis and can worsen the severity and symptoms.  Alcohol can also increase the risk of heart disease. 

If you take Acitretin and Methotrexate for your psoriasis, alcohol can prevent your liver from processing these medicines.  It can also cause liver damage. 
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No smoking
Studies show that smoking can increase the severity of your psoriasis.  It can also be an additional risk factor for heart disease. If e cigarettes or vapes contain nicotine, they are likely to have the same negative impact on the skin.
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Healthy diet
If you eat a lot of processed food which is high in sugar, salt and fat, your body has to work extra hard to digest it.  This can worsen your psoriasis.

A healthy diet can have a positive impact on your weight and your skin condition.  A typical healthy diet will include fruits, vegetables, lean (meat), fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines), pulses (peas, chickpeas, beans, lentils) and wholegrains (eg wholemeal bread, brown rice, porridge).
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Reset, relaxation, meditation, yoga and walking
These forms of relaxation can reduce inflammation and stress, leading to a positive impact on your skin and overall health.
Psoriasis and healthy lifestyle choices - Kingston Hospital Download PDF


Kingston Hospital Dermatology team, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm 020 8934 6473

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