Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes redness, flaking and inflammation. With this skin condition, skin cells grow too fast. As skin cells form, they move to the surface and form thick, red or white patches of skin. These thick patches are also known as plaques. This thickening often occurs on the elbows, feet, hands, scalp, knees or lower back.
Experts believe that this chronic skin condition results from the immune system overreacting. When infection is present in the body, the immune system sends out white blood cells to destroy bacteria, viruses and fungi. The immune system is comprised of T cells that circulate the body looking for foreign substances. In psoriatic patients, instead of destroying bacteria and viruses, the T cells end up on the skin.
Psoriasis has many symptoms, including itching, swollen joints, pitted nails and tenderness to the skin. There are many things that can cause the symptoms of psoriasis to increase, including stress, weather and infections.
At Home Options
There are many at home options you can do to help care for your psoriasis. The following list of at home options can help ease your suffering and symptoms.
Fish oil, evening primrose oil, milk thistle and vitamin D can help improve the symptoms. In addition to taking these supplements orally, they can be applied directly to the skin to help diminish redness and thickening of the skin.
Keep your skin moist by using creams and lotions. Many sufferers have reported that aloe vera gel, shea butter and cocoa butter helps to relieve the pain associated with psoriasis. Choose pure sensitive skin moisturizers and lotions to help prevent flare-ups.
Take cool baths to relieve red, irritated skin. Adding Epsom's salt, olive oil, mineral oil or milk to lukewarm water and soaking for a half an hour can help alleviate itching and allow those scaly plaques to absorb moisture.
Expose the skin to ultraviolet light for short periods of time to help with your psoriasis. Light therapy can be performed at home using specialized phototherapy units or in a doctor's office. In order for this type of therapy to be effective, it must be done consistently. Although some people prefer a doctor's office, many prefer to purchase a light therapy unit for use at home. This allows them to use phototherapy to help combat their psoriasis.
Things to Avoid
Although there are no foods that have been proven to help prevent flare ups, researchers do recommend a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to improve the body's immune system. When it comes to psoriasis, there are many things you can do to help prevent symptom flare ups.
Injuries to the skin can increase the risk of psoriasis. When an injury occurs, the body signals for new skin to be formed over the cut or scratch. If you suffer from psoriasis, this can cause thickening to occur.
Stress can increase the severity of your symptoms associated with psoriasis. Stress management programs, such as guided meditation, yoga and deep breathing may help you lower the incident of this chronic condition.
Avoid Certain Medications
Certain medications, including lithium, NSAIDS and beta-blockers may worsen the symptoms of psoriasis. If you take any of these types of medications, speak with your doctor about a substitute medicine.
Excess sun exposure can damage the skin and may result in a flare up. When you are outside, wear a hat and clothing to limit sun exposure. Additionally, apply a sunscreen to protect against sunburn.
Stop Smoking and Avoid Alcohol
Both cigarette smoking and alcohol can increase the occurrence of flare ups. Additionally, these two substances can also make your symptoms worse.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can cause embarrassment, itching and pain. Eat a healthy diet, avoid unhealthy habits and lower your stress levels to keep your skin looking beautiful and pain free.