Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that manifests as itchy, scaly red patches on the surface of the skin. It affects about 3% of the US population, around 8 million people, and typically shows up in adults between the ages of 15 and 30.
An auto-immune disorder, psoriasis is a serious health issue since it can be painful, uncomfortable, and in some rare cases, develops into psoriatic arthritis in older patients.
Though there’s no cure for psoriasis as yet, treatments to manage the condition have been getting better in recent years. Here are the best ways to treat your psoriasis right now:
Leave it alone
The most important thing you can do for psoriasis is to leave flare-ups alone. Resist the urge to scratch, rub, or pick at existing patches, as this will just lead to more flare-ups, scabbing, and puts you at risk for infection. Instead, learn to soothe the immediate distress of psoriasis by using one of the other treatments listed below.
Finding the right skincare products and routine to treat your psoriasis will probably take some trial and error. Some people swear by oat milk baths; other people can’t live without calamine lotion. Keeping your skin properly hydrated and thoroughly moisturized is always a good idea, and you may need to experiment with different creams and lotions to find the right combination. Products with active ingredients like retinoids, corticosteroids, and salicylic acid can be especially helpful. Speak to your dermatologist, if you have one, for further recommendations.
Some homeopathic remedies that have been shown to reduce psoriasis. These include aloe vera, castor oil, and other topicals and supplements which are easily procured online or from your local drugstore. Additionally, there are steps you can take to make sure your home is an environment that eases the skin condition as soon as you step in the door. If you live in a dry climate, a humidifier is essential to keep skin moist and comfortable at home. You also want to avoid using harsh detergents in the wash, as these can leave a residue on clothes and sheets that may aggravate psoriasis.
A healthy diet from whole foods that are rich in nutrients is best not just for psoriasis, but for living well overall. In terms of the skin condition, though, it’s important to limit processed foods, sugars, sodium, red meat, and all other foods that are hard on the system. Foods like these tend to cause inflammation, and inflammation is the last thing you want when you suffer from psoriasis. But don’t worry—following a low-inflammation diet is easy, since it incorporates foods you probably already eat, like lean proteins, green vegetables, berries, and healthy fats like nuts and avocados.
Avoid smoking, drinking, and other toxins
Like other health conditions, ingesting poisonous substances will only exacerbate the symptoms of psoriasis. Smoking, which is bad for the skin in general, is especially bad for psoriasis. It dehydrates skin cells further and tends to inflame the red, itchy patches that come with psoriasis. Too much alcohol—even one night of heavy drinking—tends to be associated with an increase in psoriasis flare-ups over the following weeks, or even months. Never mind the hangover; when it comes to heavy partying, it’s your skin that will pay the price.
One of the latest advances in psoriasis treatment is that it can be treated with high doses of Vitamin D. This a vitamin that most animals produce naturally on their own. Human beings, unfortunately, need to absorb theirs from external sources to maintain optimum levels. We get our Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, and also from fish, eggs, dark leafy vegetables, and other foods. Psoriasis sufferers can benefit from a daily dose of Vitamin D that’s higher than you can consume at the dinner table. Therefore, doctors are now prescribing the vitamin in megadoses as an effective treatment for the skin condition.
Lastly, you might find that the most effective way to treat your psoriasis is through medications. For psoriatic arthritis, in particular, medication can significantly improve the symptoms over the long term. There are several medications in use today that have proven helpful to people with psoriasis; you might have to try more than one to find the right type for you. These could include prescription steroids, retinoids, biologics, or immune suppressors like Cyclosporine. The therapeutics available on the market are constantly changing and improving, as well as growing more affordable. Speak to your doctor, or search online to find the right medication for you.
Whether you choose to follow one of the treatments outlined above or all of them, it’s important to do your research. Read reviews of medications online, and find out how other people are successfully treating their psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. You can even join a support group! Stay up to date by searching the latest in psoriasis treatments today.