August is National Psoriasis Awareness month. We are sharing this helpful information a little early. Although psoriasis is not contagious or life-threatening, the raised, red, flaky patches can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. There is no cure for this disorder, but there are several treatments that can relieve your symptoms, and even lessen the appearance of the patches.
Some of the treatments like light therapy, can be expensive; others, like oral or injected steroids, can have serious side effects. However, there are natural remedies that are affordable and can have fewer side effects than some medical treatments.
Over-the-counter natural psoriasis products are designed to reduce the itching, inflammation, and flaking associated with the disease. Some products are designed to be rubbed directly into the affected areas; others can be used all over your body, in the bath or shower. In many cases, people can see immediate relief from the flaking and itching, while the redness and inflammation gradually reduce with continuous use.
The National Psoriasis Foundation indicates that dietary supplements like vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin, and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can all help reduce and relieve your psoriasis symptoms. However, if you are taking medication to treat your condition, you should check with your doctor, and pharmacist, to make sure your medication will not interact with your supplements.
Moisture and Humidity
Keeping the skin moist can relieve some of the itching associated with psoriasis. It can also soften the raised patches, to prevent them from cracking. During the day you can use a moisturizing cream formulated for sensitive skin, and some psoriasis products could also have moisturizing properties. At night you can apply Vaseline, or similar products, and let them soak into your skin overnight.
You should also use a humidifier, around your home, to keep the air moist – especially in the winter months.
Take Care When Bathing
Avoid soaps that have dyes, perfumes and fragrances, which can all aggravate psoriasis. Use products that are marketed specifically for sensitive skin. You can also use products that contain coal tar or salicylic acid, such as certain dandruff shampoos, to remove excess flakes and relieve the inflammation.
Avoid bathing or showering in very hot water, which can dry out your skin. Instead use lukewarm water. In the bath, try adding Epsom salt, milk, olive oil, or colloidal oatmeal to add moisture to the skin.
After bathing, pat your skin instead of rubbing, apply lotion or oil when your skin is slightly damp, and let your skin air-dry.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends increasing your intake of cold-water fish, nuts and seeds, beneficial oils, and fresh fruits and vegetables to reduce inflammation.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you might also benefit from eliminating red meat, dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars, which can all cause inflammation.
Potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers – all members of the nightshade family – have also been known to cause to psoriasis outbreaks.
Additionally, there is some research that indicates as many as 25 percent of people with psoriasis could also be sensitive to gluten. Eliminating products made with wheat barley and rye could relieve your symptoms. In addition to breads and pastas, you would also need to avoid many foods that could have gluten fillers and thickeners, or be fermented with wheat, barley, or rye, including:
- Beverages such as beer
- Soy sauce
- Processed foods
- Ice cream
- some Dietary supplements
You can also look for gluten-free varieties. The above is only a partial list. You can learn more about gluten intolerance and possible sources of gluten, from places like the Gluten Intolerance Group or the Celiac Disease Foundation.