Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that causes one’s skin to become scaly, inflamed, or itchy. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, over 8 million people in the country suffer from this skin condition. Psoriasis doesn’t yet have a definitive cure, but there are several treatments to manage its flare-ups and ease its symptoms. Every psoriasis case is different. So it’s best to consult a dermatologist for treatment alternatives in combination with some home remedies.
Natural remedies for psoriasis
While there’s no evidence that shows a direct connection between psoriasis treatment and aloe vera, some studies suggest that it can ease the disease symptoms. Aloe Vera absorbs easily in one’s skin and is a natural moisturizer especially suitable for sensitive skin. Natural aloe vera gels are enriched with antioxidants. Its healing, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating properties can ease psoriasis flare-ups like itchiness and irritation.
Turmeric is another powerful remedy for easing psoriasis flare-ups. It contains curcumin which has antifungal and medicinal properties. It usually comes in powder form and can either be used externally on the skin or included in one’s daily meals. Applying natural turmeric paste on itchy skin or discolorations, scrapes, or lesions can help soothe and heal it. One can also consume turmeric tea with black pepper to improve the absorption of curcumin.
Light therapy is the primary line of treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. It basically slows down the affected skin cells from growing rapidly and abnormally. In this therapy, one’s skin is exposed to either artificial or natural light in a controlled manner. These therapies take a longer time to show results and must be repeated. Here are some common light therapies:
Warm salt baths
Warm baths with Epsom salts or oatmeal can be calming to psoriasis-affected skin. While this is not a permanent solution, it can temporarily help ease one’s flare-ups and discomfort. A warm bath with a prescribed bath oil can help hydrate one’s skin. Similarly, an oatmeal bath or a wet dressing reduces itching.
Omega-3 fatty acids
External treatments can show results. But it’s important to note that what goes into one’s body also reflects on one’s skin. Maintaining proper food habits can help ease psoriasis. A 2017 study revealed that patients who consumed foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids noticed a significant improvement in their skin. Flaxseed oil, seeds, soy, fatty fish, fish oil, and nuts are rich sources of omega-3 and can help reduce skin inflammation.
Humidifier therapy adds moisture to the air and prevents it from going too dry. This, in turn, helps one’s skin from extreme dryness and irritation. Since dry or chilly air can aggravate one’s psoriasis, a humidifier might be useful, especially during cold or dry climates.
While there have been no direct studies that link psoriasis to stress, many patients have experienced flare-ups due to it. So it’s advisable to employ methods like yoga, meditation, journaling, aromatherapy, deep breathing, etc., to ease one’s stress.
Moisturizers for dry skin
It’s also advisable to apply a good moisturizer after a shower so that the skin retains its moisture. Aloe vera is naturally soothing and can help reduce one’s scales and ease redness. Natural oil like tea tree is antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. They can also help keep one’s skin from rashes, irritation, and itching. One may come across many natural ingredients suitable for psoriasis. But it’s better to consult a doctor before trying out different products to rule out allergies.
Types of psoriasis
There are several types of psoriasis. The most common one is plaque psoriasis, which is seen in about 80% of the patients. The types are differentiated on the basis of the areas and age groups it affects and the type of spots or bumps it shows on one’s skin. It can either affect a small patch of skin or a large area of one’s body. Erythrodermic psoriasis, for example, is a more severe type of disease. It affects a large part of the skin and can lead to skin shedding and discoloration.
Signs and triggers of psoriasis
An early sign of psoriasis shows up in the form of tiny bumps, discolored skin, and the formation of scales on one’s skin that shed easily. The outer layer may flake off, but the scales (that lie beneath it) stick together. They come off when scratched and may lead to bleeding. Some other common symptoms include dry or cracked skin, joint pain, and cracked or crumbly nails.
Psoriasis commonly affects one’s face, genitals, nails, feet, scalp, palms, elbows, and knees. It can develop due to stress, skin injury, dry weather, certain foods, or infections, and its flare-up may be brought on by contact with any triggering agent.
Other treatment options
One of the first-line FDA-approved systemic treatment options include Sotyktu™ (deucravacitinib). It is used for adults who suffer from moderate to severe psoriasis. Ustekinumab (Stelara) is used for psoriasis patients above six years of age to reduce inflammation or joint swelling. It’s mainly used for treating plaque psoriasis. Another similar treatment option is Secukinumab (Cosentyx), used for adults to reduce red and scaly patches. One may require many combinations of these remedies to treat psoriasis. So it’s advisable to consult a doctor at the initial stage to avoid disease aggravation.