Health Desk: 10 March 2018: There is growing evidence that people living with psoriasis ought to be extra careful before lighting up a cigarette.
Before we dig into why one should put down the cigarette, let's be clear: Quitting smoking doesn't cure psoriasis, but smoking aggravates the symptoms and may make the disease significantly worse.
According to a study, smoking doubles a person's risk of developing psoriasis which eventually increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. This number is higher in women than men.
Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by patches of abnormal skin. These skin patches are typically red, itchy, and scaly. Psoriasis varies in severity from small, localized patches to complete body coverage.
The risk for psoriasis in women who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day is about 2.5 times greater than that in non-smokers. For men, the risk is about 1.7 times greater than non-smokers.
-Psoriasis and Smoking - Things to know
• Apart from nicotine, nickel (another ingredient in cigarette smoke) can also contribute towards psoriasis worsening as a result of heavy metal toxicity in your body.
• Smoking can reduce the level of moisture in your skin, making it dry and itchy.
• If you don't smoke, don't start, especially if you are a woman - you have an even higher risk of developing psoriasis than men.
• If you do smoke, consider quitting - you may have a higher likelihood of remission.
• Focus on positive, healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety - try meditation, counseling, sleep adequately, eat healthy and exercise, instead of smoking.
It is not easy to quit smoking or tobacco but it's definitely worth trying to improve overall health.
The study that found giving up smoking significantly reduced the risk of psoriasis - after 20 years it was at the same level as people who had never lighted a cigarette in their life. In fact, one may see an improvement in their skin in a matter of weeks as blood flow improves, and levels of nutrients are restored.