Easy and effective ways to treat psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disorder in which bumpy red patches of scaly skin appear on certain parts of the body. This is a non-contagious disease caused by an overactive immune system. There is no cure for this condition, but it can be controlled by some medications. It can also respond well to some natural remedies.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is caused by the overproduction of skin cells. It starts as rashes of tiny red bumps which soon become larger and also become scaly. There is no known definite set of triggers for psoriasis. It can be caused by small things like cuts and scratches, stress, and strep infection.
Some defect in the immune system makes it send signals for new skin cell growth. Normally, the human skin cells get replaced every 10 to 30 days. If you have Psoriasis, this process speeds up. Your skin cells get renewed every 3 to 4 days.
Because of this rapid cell growth, older skin tissues fold up and rise, causing bumps. As the skin cells continue to grow, the patches and bumps become larger and are covered with silver scales, caused by new cell growth.
Psoriasis usually only shows up when a person reaches early adulthood. But once it begins, it can go away and then reappear again through the lifetime. This skin condition generally affects specific spots such as the scalp, lower back, elbows, and knees. In some cases, it even affects the skin under the nails.
Effective treatment for Psoriasis
If your doctor has diagnosed that you are suffering from psoriasis, he/she might try several treatments. These range from mild topical applications to the use of steroids ointments and oral medicines, and the use of immunosuppressants.
The doctor will design the psoriasis treatment plan based on the severity of the condition, your age, any pre-existing medical condition, your overall health, and other factors.
Many topical applications can help control psoriasis, even in cases where the condition is severe.
- Salicylic acid
This ointment can speed up the shedding of psoriatic scales. However, using salicylic acid creams over large areas can cause the skin to absorb too much of this compound which can have side effects like weak hair follicles and skin irritation.
- Calcipotriene topical creams
Calcipotriene is a form of Vitamin D. It can help control psoriasis by slowing down the production of new cells in the area it is applied on.
- Coal tar ointments
These topical applications can help clear the scaly skin and slow down new cell growth. However, when used on the scalp, they can cause a rash that affects hair follicles.
- Retinoid creams
These creams can clear dead cells and unclog pores, and also prevent dead cells from clogging up pores. The opened up pores can help the skin absorb other beneficial topical applications faster, speeding up the healing process. Retinoid creams can help control inflammation, bacterial growth, and oil production. However, retinoid creams can cause skin irritation and dryness.
- Steroid creams
These are commonly used to treat psoriasis. They reduce itching and inflammation and control the production of new skin cells. Strong steroid creams can have side effects like skin dryness, thinning of skin tissues, and irritation.
Ultraviolet Light Therapies
In severe cases of psoriasis, doctors may try ultraviolet light treatments. A light therapy called PUVA which combines the drug psoralen with UVA light therapy was used a lot. However, since studies revealed this therapy to increase the chances of skin cancer, doctors use this treatment only rarely.
Some doctors are now using Ultraviolet B rays instead of UVA. UVB is far less carcinogenic than UVA.
Oral Medicines and Injections
Oral Retinoids can be effective in treating severe psoriasis but women who take this should not plan to conceive up to three years after taking this medication. It can cause serious birth defects.
There are many Biologic drugs available now, medicines created from human or animal proteins. They are far less harmful and can be very effective, but they are extremely expensive.
Injections of immunosuppressant drugs like cyclosporine or methotrexate can help control, psoriasis by controlling the immune system. However, they can have side effects.
Natural remedies for psoriasis
In addition to medical treatments, you can also try some simple natural remedies to treat psoriasis:
- Apple cider vinegar can help provide relief from scalp itching due to psoriasis. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and apply this to the scalp. However, avoid this if you have cuts or open wounds on the scalp. Apple cider vinegar can cause irritation and a burning sensation in open wounds
- Dead sea salts or Epsom salt added to your bath water can provide some relief. Soak in this bath water for around 15 minutes. Apply a moisturizer after the bath
- Banana peel can be used to soothe and remove the rashes. Take a banana peel and rub the inside of the peel over the affected area
- A smooth paste of oats mixed with water can be applied to the rashes to get some relief
- Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory compounds. So, chamomile tea can be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis
- Applying castor oil mixed with a little baking soda over thick lesions can help heal them
- A soothing application of aloe vera gel can help heal the rashes and scaly skin. You can also mix aloe vera gel with garlic oil and apply this to the lesions
- Olive oil and coconut oil have many beneficent nutrients essential for the skin, and they are good moisturizers. Apply either of these oils on the affected regions to remove scaly skin and to heal the rashes.