Imagine the life cycle of your skin cells moving at warp speed. A normal growth cycle for new cells usually takes about a month to travel from the lowest layer of your skin to the outside, where they die, flake, and then fall off. However, psoriasis promotes a life cycle that completes within only a couple of days. This means that the cells build up too quickly. The result is thick, silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches with occasional pain. Luckily, home remedies for psoriasis can make the condition much easier to tolerate.
Table of Contents
- What is Psoriasis?
- Causes and Symptoms
- Psoriasis Home Remedies
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin disease that ranges from an annoyance to a rather disabling condition. The most common form is called plaque psoriasis, which brings about dry, red skin lesions (called plaques) that are covered with silvery scales. The plaques notoriously itch and create soreness with the potential to emerge on any part of the body, including the genitals and inside of your mouth .
Other types of psoriasis include:
a) Nail Psoriasis:
Attacks the fingernails and toenails; causes abnormal nail growth and discoloration.
b) Scalp Psoriasis:
Dry, itchy scalp creates flaking and red patches with silvery-white scales.
c) Guttate Psoriasis:
Associated with a bacterial infection, sores in the shape of a water drop appear on the trunk, arms, legs and scalp.
d) Inverse Psoriasis:
Common in overweight patients, the skin in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and around the genitals is affected. Becomes worse with friction and sweating.
Causes and Symptoms
The cause associated with psoriasis is connected to the immune system and a white blood cell type named the T lymphocyte or T cell. Under normal conditions, T cells move about the body, locating and battling specific viruses and bacteria. If you have psoriasis, your T cells become confused and think they are healing a wound or fighting infection when they’re actually attacking healthy skin cells by accident. As a result, overactive T cells cause the immune system to respond in different ways. An overproduction of healthy cells often takes place, which include your skin cells.
Usually, a trigger sets off psoriasis symptoms, such as stress, infection, skin injury, smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol, or various medications (like drugs for high blood pressure). Symptoms of psoriasis will differ for each individual, but usually one or more of the following signs will accompany red patches of skin and silvery scales:
- Itching, burning or soreness
- Dry skin with cracks that may bleed
- Dandruff-like scaling
- Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
- Swollen and stiff joints
Psoriasis Home Remedies
When dealing with a persistent, chronic disease like psoriasis, self-care measures can become a lifesaver. At times, symptoms seem to greatly improve on their own, while a flare-up can occur at any moment. Since there is no cure for psoriasis, people are always looking for new ways to gain relief from their symptoms. For your convenience, an assortment of home remedies for psoriasis are listed below:
a) Moisturize Your Skin:
Apply a heavy moisturizer (preferably ointment-based) when your skin is still moist after a bath. Dry skin can make psoriasis unbearable. Make sure to stock your bathroom cabinet with thick moisturizers, such as Eucerin and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. Less expensive remedies, like petroleum jelly (Vaseline), will also do the trick.
Since dry indoor air is linked to dry skin, which causes problems for patients with psoriasis, it is suggested to invest in a humidifier to increase the humidity of a room. This especially works wonders for people that sleep in a bedroom that tends to sway on the dry side during the night.
c) Choose Skin Products Wisely:
Psoriasis will cause your skin to become highly vulnerable to irritants. This means that products, such as hair dyes, perms, and harsh skin treatments pose a threat. If you wish to use a potential irritant, make sure that your skin is reasonably free of lesions and most certainly, avoid using such products at all costs if you have open sores on the skin.
d) Avoid Triggers:
Psoriasis sufferers become susceptible to adverse reactions when they develop scratches, sunburn, and other skin irritations. Steering clear of such triggers is highly recommended. For instance, when you plan on being in the sun – slather on the sunscreen.
e) Shed the Pounds:
If you are overweight, controlling and treating psoriasis becomes much easier when you shed a couple of extra pounds.
f) Apple Cider Vinegar:
Treat the itching of psoriasis by adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a cold bath.
g) Fish Oil Capsules:
Packed with the fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), fish oil capsules proved to reduce the severity and thickness of psoriasis scaling, redness, and itching in about 60% of people that participated in a University of California, Davis, School of Medicine study.
h) Plastic Wrap :
After applying a topical steroid cream, cover affected areas with a small piece of plastic wrap. Use tape to make sure the wrap stays in place on the skin. In the end, the plastic wrap will advance the healing power of the cream, retain moisture, and keep your rash under control.
Sit outside for a bit to treat psoriasis lesions. It has been proven that a controlled amount of sunlight can improve their appearance. Make sure you don’t overdo it, as this can trigger an outbreak. Aim for short sessions of sunbathing for three or more times a week. And, don’t forget the sunscreen!
j) Daily Bathing:
A daily bath can help rid your skin of scales and inflammation. To enhance your results, try adding bath oil, oiled oatmeal, Epsom salts or Dead Sea salts to your bath water. It is recommended to soak for at least 15 minutes. Warm baths and dips in a heated swimming pool can also reduce scaling.
k) Your Choice of Soap:
When bathing, stay away from hot water and soaps that contain harsh ingredients, as this will cause your symptoms to worsen. Take a lukewarm bath and use mild soaps with plenty of added oils and fats. If you suffer from psoriasis, choose mild selections that avoid drying out and irritating the skin. In addition to choices like Nivea Cream Bar and Alpha Keri, consider soap-free cleansers, such as Aveeno Cleansing Bar and pHisoDerm Dry Skin Formula.
l) Blot the Skin:
After taking a bath, make sure to ‘blot’ your skin to avoid further irritation.
 Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg 270.