If you suffer from psoriasis you know that it is no walk in the park. The sudden flare-ups of dry, flaky skin, the embarrassing rashes and red patches; it interferes with your social life and increases your levels of stress. Over the years there have been many medical treatments developed for psoriasis involving pills or injections, smearing on creams, or even getting some rays.
Medical treatments for psoriasis typically fall into three main categories; 1) topical treatments involving corticosteroids, tar products, or ointments derived from vitamin A or D; 2) systemic medications that slow down or block the immune system responses; or 3) phototherapy involving UVA or UVB ultraviolet light.
These are all effect to some degree, but they can be expensive, tedious, or even painful.
But there are home treatments you can do for yourself, adjustments in your lifestyle, your diet, and your home environment that have equal effect at eliminating or reducing flare-ups More often than not, they are all-natural cures and won’t harm you with harsh side-effects.
Not all results work for all people and it may take trying a few different remedies to find one that works for you. Listed below are 8 tips, or home remedies, that can ease living with psoriasis.
Tip 1: Keep Skin Moist One of the most effective methods to reduce, or control, flare-ups is also the simplest, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Using moisturizer is an important part of self-care for psoriasis. Dry skin makes irritation and itchiness caused by psoriasis worse than it needs to be. A vicious cycle can result: dry skin can cause itching and scratching, leading to new psoriasis patches developing on the irritated skin.
The best way to keep skin moist? Apply ointments formulated from olive or oregano oils, and wheat germ or castor oils containing herbs which sooth the itch. Katy Wilson, an Alternative Medical Practitioner, in her guide titled “Psoriasis Free For Life”, provides recipes for several, very effective, natural homemade ointments. Use these ointments immediately after showering to restore moisture to your skin.
You can also try super-moisturizing areas of skin affected by psoriasis. At bedtime, cover a patch of skin with ointment, and wrap it with a bandage or plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, wash the area gently. Over time, this will reduce scaling.
Tip 2: Bathe, but Beware Bathing can be another important part of psoriasis self-care, yet frequent bathing can also dry skin out, causing problems. A few tips for bathing with psoriasis: Avoid hot water, which can irritate skin. Use lukewarm water instead. Don’t towel off — pat yourself dry, then apply oil based moisturizers. Pure water dries skin. Add bathing salts, oil, or oilated oatmeal to bathwater to make it more skin-friendly.
Tip 3: Be Consistent in Your Routine Sure, slathering on thick oily goo day after day is messy and inconvenient, but consistency is key. Make it part of your daily routine and you will see results. Also, though they are messy, topical therapies avoid the potential side effects of pills or injection treatments for psoriasis.
Tip 4: Sun Can be Your Friend, But Take Care Although controlled ultraviolet exposure through UVA or UVB lamps is optimal, the ultraviolet light found in sunlight is a proven treatment for psoriasis too. But sunburns can make psoriasis worse so cover unaffected skin with SPF 30 sunscreen and start with some limited sun exposure. Twenty minutes a day for 2- 3 days a week is a good start. Talk to your doctor first, because certain psoriasis medicines aren’t safe with high sun exposure.
Tip 5: Stop Smoking! If you suffer from psoriasis, you have one more reason to stop smoking. People who smoke at least a pack a day are twice as likely to suffer severe psoriasis as those who smoke less. And ladies, the negative effect of smoking on psoriasis is even stronger for you. Research shows that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to care for your psoriasis.
Tip 6: Sorry, Alcohol is No Friend to Psoriasis Though it is not known why, psoriasis is more common in people who drink alcohol heavily, and men are typically more affected than women. More than one drink per day in women, two drinks per day in men, is too much.
Tip 7: Diet Changes May Be Key Many people with psoriasis have experienced improvement after cutting down on certain foods, including caffeine, eggs, sugar, white flour, gluten, and as already noted, alcohol. There is an association between obesity and psoriasis, and many dermatologists feel a healthy weight can improve psoriasis. But the link between these foods and allergies also is a factor in psoriasis.
It’s reasonable to experiment by eliminating certain foods, especially less nutritious ones, to see if your own psoriasis improves. And it’s always sensible to maintain a healthy weight by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and exercising frequently.
In her guide, Psoriasis Free For Life, Katy Wilson provides guidance for creating a diet rich in foods reported to reduce, or eliminate, flare-ups in psoriasis sufferers.
Tip 8: Stress – Tend to Your Mental Health Stress is a key factor in both frequency, and severity, of flare-ups. Take care of your mental health.
People with psoriasis often feel socially isolated and lonely. They are frustrated by their condition, may develop low self-esteem or anxiety about daily routines or give up things they enjoy, due to embarrassment or physical discomfort caused by psoriasis. People with psoriasis may be more likely to experience periods of depression.
If psoriasis is affecting your mental health, seek the assistance of a qualified, licensed therapist or psychologist to help you cope with psoriasis’ impact on your life.
You may also, consider joining a psoriasis support group. Talking with other people who understand the challenges of living with psoriasis can really help.