The cause of psoriasis is largely unknown but is thought to be an abnormality in the immune system causing inflammation in the skin. There are various treatments on the market, medicated and natural and there has been debate about which are more effective. Over the counter drugs and topical lotions are particularly popular but sometimes only offer quick relief and not a permanent solution. Yet some refer to it as an internal disease and feel creams applied on the body will only be a short term solution and that diet is the real answer.
Due to this one of the ways in which to treat this has been to consume plenty of green vegetables as these are known to have anti-skin inflammatory effects. Other natural products include oats which have an anti inflammatory and healing effect when applied to the skin. There are also a wide range of herbs and spices that can be used to alleviate the effects of psoriasis:
Comfrey Root – applied directly to the skin it will help promote normal cell replication. Crush the leaves to release the juices and place the leaves over the affected area. They can also be found in skin ointments.
Turmeric – Used as an alternative to steroid cream and is a natural way to relieve itchiness and irritation. It can be taken in gel capsules or applied directly to the skin. To apply it directly mix the powder with water to create a paste and apply to the affected area. Do this before you go to bed and cover it with a bandage, remove in the morning and wash off.
There are also a number of home remedies which are cheaper and have fewer side effects than drugs and lotions and are known to be better in the long run as they work the root problem rather than being a quick fix:
Dead sea salts – stop itchiness and skin scales of psoriasis as the high levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium are all good for the skin.
Vinegar dip – soothes minor burns and other skin inflammations.
Warm olive oil – gently massage into the scalp to soften dead skin.
Honey and Cinnamon ointment – can be ingested or applied directly to the skin. Both ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties.
Burdock and Milk Thistle – Helps to detoxify the liver. Correcting abnormal liver function is important in the treatment of psoriasis as the liver detoxifies and filters the blood, if not it can manifest itself on the skin.
In addition to these there are the treatments which a doctor may prescribe for psoriasis or over the counter medications. Some of which have some compromising side effects:
PUVA – Hospitable based treatment PUVA phototherapy using UVB light helps in the treatment of psoriasis as the light effect on the skin slows down the excessive cell growth of psoriasis and can clear symptoms for varying periods of time. Studies have shown that PUVA helps 85% of patients to clear psoriasis. However patients that undergo this treatment are at a greater risk of skin cancer.
Coal Tar treatments – another way of treating psoriasis but it can be messy and greasy to apply, as well as staining clothes. Shampoos can be used that contain coal tar and are ideal for treating scalp psoriasis.
Topical Steroids – Topical steroids are the most frequently used treatment for psoriasis. Topical steroids are used as anti-inflammatory agents to reduce the swelling and redness of lesions. However they can thin your skin, cause stretch marks and affect internal organs when applied to widespread areas of the skin. When this treatment is stopped being used psoriasis can come back with a vengence.
There is no quick fix for the treatment of psoriasis and many of the treatments need to be used holistically. It seems that for a long term solution it is best to employ some natural treatments and not to rely solely on medicated or over the counter treatments as these may cause drastic side effects. Yet ultimately it’s important to find a treatment that works for you that doesn't compromise your health.
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