What Are Your Psoriasis Treatment Options?
With contributions from Lara Wyatt.
Treatments for psoriasis vary depending on the kind of psoriasis you have and the severity of your disease. Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, some treatments work by decreasing the intensity of your body’s immune response.
Psoriasis treatment aims to help slow the abnormally rapid growth of skin cells which cause psoriatic lesions. Other treatments help to soothe your skin by relieving itching, providing moisture and easing the pain.
Most people require a combination of therapies in order to obtain maximum effectiveness and symptom relief. If you suspect you have psoriasis, it is best to consult with or be referred to a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis so that you will be able to obtain the most effective treatment for your psoriasis.
Psoriasis treatment focuses on making lifestyle changes, from eating a healthy diet to protecting your skin from the skin, taking oral or topical psoriasis medications (some of which can be prescription or topical based), natural or alternative therapies.
If you're looking for new ways to treat your psoriasis, there are seven main categories of psoriasis treatment you can try today or discuss with your primary care physician or dermatologist. The sections below and on the next pages cover psoriasis treatment options and what you need to know about each to make living with psoriasis a little more manageable.
Lifestyle Approaches for Psoriasis Treatment
Making a few lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your skin and psoriasis. Here are five lifestyle changes to consider and include in your psoriasis treatment plan:
- Drink plenty of fluids so that your skin will be kept hydrated and toxins will be eliminated efficiently. Ideally, you should be consuming half a gallon (2 liters) of water every day and the easiest way to do this is by carrying around a water bottle with you and refilling it as you go. When purchasing a water bottle, look for one that is 8 oz. or more – this is another helpful way to keep track of how much water you are consuming or alternatively, you could track your water consumption with a fitness app.
- Eat a healthy, simple diet free of dyes, MSG and other food additives, which have been proven to worsen symptoms of psoriasis. Many people with psoriasis suffer from food allergies, so notice if your symptoms worsen after you have certain foods. Wheat and dairy products are common irritants. Include dietary fats rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. Coldwater, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are excellent choices.
- Reduce and manage stress in your life. This may be exploring options to have a better work-life balance using flexible working arrangements with the company you may work for, or even just finding ways to take more time out for yourself in your busy schedule.
- Protect your skin from exposure to sun, wind and extreme temperatures. People living with Psoriasis tend to have highly sensitive skin, so ensuring you’re wearing layers as often as possible to keep the elements from damaging your skin can help. Think scarves and gloves in winter, so the sensitive skin on your neck and hands isn’t exposed to the icy temperatures.
- Treat your skin gently. Bathe in warm, not hot water. Avoid the use of irritating bathing aids such as brushes, loofas, and coarse washcloths. Use hypoallergenic or natural skin care products and avoid picking or scratching lesions, as this could lead to infection. Additionally, scratching your skin causes your body to release histamines, which promotes more itchiness. Try applying a cool cloth to itchy lesions or using topical remedies instead. If you scratch while you sleep, consider wearing soft cotton gloves at night.
Natural Remedies for Psoriasis
Natural remedies are an important part of a comprehensive psoriasis treatment program regardless of whether or not you employ pharmaceuticals. Take evening primrose oil and hypoallergenic multivitamin/ multimineral supplements daily. They ensure that you are getting the micronutrients your body needs to heal and reduce inflammation. You can apply evening primrose oil topically to skin lesions too.
Herbs that enhance detoxification are beneficial. Some of the best herbs to use include yellow dock, kudzu, burdock, and dandelion root. You may consume them as teas, tinctures, or capsules. Herbs that benefit the skin must be used consistently; you may need to use them for a month or more before you see improvement in your skin.
Topical Herbal Remedies
Topical herbal remedies that promote comfort, relieve itchiness and support healing include calendula, chickweed, and plantain. You can apply the herbs as creams or lotions.
If creams or lotions are unavailable, simply dab cooled herbal tea to lesions three or four times a day. On the other hand, try drinking ginger and turmeric tea as it is known for its anti-inflammatory potential. You never know, having a cup of this tea every day may help ease your psoriasis symptoms a bit.
Herbal skin care preparations are superior to many widely available commercial products because they contain fewer preservatives and are often made with desirable organic ingredients.