Do Your Hands and Arms Flake?

Do you worry about making food? Psoriasis can be hard to control, but for people who cook, it can create a lot of trouble. The redness, cracking, peeling, and flaking can make prep work difficult in a kitchen. Learning how to keep your hands in good shape to minimize the unwanted effects is not always easy to navigate.

My hands will get bright red and sting from having psoriasis. They often crack and bleed from the heat and chemicals used to clean a kitchen. There are times that gripping a handle of a kitchen tool like a Chef's knife or spoon will have me on the verge of tears. My skin can be so sore. Worrying about how to get through a meal prep can be overwhelming when you consider you are eating at least 3 meals in a day.

Keeping my flakes to myself

When you work with such bad conditions on your arms and hands it makes you wonder what others would say? I take pride in making food for others and have learned to keep gloves on hand both as a chef and at home. Covering my hands for sanitary reasons has always been a part of my life even before the pandemic.

I have a routine I follow for cleaning my hands. When I wash my hands, I use a soap that is more gentle on my hands. I wait for my hands to dry or pat them dry gently. If I am able to, I try to use a lotion right away after washing my hands. After that, I will put gloves on insuring I keep flakes to myself. Luckily, I wear a chef's coat and it covers my arms very well. My size is a good contributor for this. When you only stand 4'10" most jackets arm lengths are long including 3/4 sleeves on chef coats. In order to keep the flakes from arms from being an issue I have to lotion my arms as often as my hands.

Learning about my psoriasis

When I was first diagnosed with psoriasis, I did not know that it would react to detergents, heat, sweat, dryness, and weather. Using hot water when I showered felt good on my achy muscles. Using too warm of water also made my already dry thirst skin crave moisture. Sleeping at night started to become an issue with itching. Little dots started to form on my arms and legs that formed scales. After a little bit of time the scales would spread. Noticing paper thin flakes in the start never crossed my mind that it was a direct relationship to the showers and baths in too warm of water.

I am not saying that warm showers and  baths are off limits! For my own care I only take warm soaks if my body is hurting. Otherwise I have come to appreciate the cooling soothing water. The extra moisture I let my skin drink in the form of lotion. My skin is much less aggressive. Over time, the moisture caused much of the flaking to get better.

Trying out some medications

Dermatologist suggestions have changed over the 27 years of me having the disease. In the beginning, it was topical prescription salves and ointments. Next I tried medications that were widely systematic. Once my body could not handle that I waited suspended in time with this disease. Some 20 years later, we tried a biologic shot. Eureka! I have been less than 5% covered and majority of the flake is on my lower back.

From being kinder to my skin to taking biologics, I have been able to keep my flakes to myself and live a fairly good quality of life. Psoriasis doesn't take control, I do! Remember to keep up with your routines and ask your doctors if there is options for helping you control your disease.

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