Psoriasis is not just a chronic skin disease that leaves its mark on your body. It’s a condition that marks all areas of your life. Whether you’re trying to be productive at work or spending some quality time with your partner, you’ll likely find that the sore, itchy red patches of skin from psoriasis can be a significant interference. They can make your joints swell and even turn fun outings into embarrassing times as you try to hide the sight of your patches.
But sadly, these are issues you’ll have to deal with for your entire life. After all, there’s no cure for psoriasis.
Luckily, there are ways to minimize how much psoriasis impacts your life. You just need to know all there is to know about psoriasis, which is where this article comes in. Read on to learn all about psoriasis and how you might treat it.
The first thing you should know about psoriasis is what exactly defines it. And to do that, you need to answer the following questions.
What is it?
Psoriasis is a common condition in the United States. People who have it deal with inflamed skin that tends to come and go through cycles. When their skin hits an inflammation cycle, it grows extra skin cells quickly. And in turn, those extra skin cells form scaly, red patches that can be itchy and quite painful.
Are there different types?
While psoriasis is frequently considered as just one skin condition, there are several different types:
- Plaque psoriasis — This is likely the type of psoriasis you’ve seen or heard about before as it is the most common form of psoriasis. This particular kind of psoriasis can cause dry, red patches of skin that are raised and covered in silvery scales. These patches can show up anywhere on your body, and they may feel itchy or painful.
- Nail psoriasis — With this psoriasis, you’ll notice abnormalities in your fingernails, toenails, or both. Your nails might have pitting (which are small dents on the surface of the nails). They might also grow abnormally and become discolored. In severe cases, your nails could crumble or loosen and separate from their nail bed.
- Guttate psoriasis — Typically found in children and young adults, guttate psoriasis appears generally when there’s a bacterial infection. You’ll know if you have it when you see small, scaly red patches on your trunk, arms, legs, or scalp in the shape of a water drop.
- Inverse psoriasis — Found in the armpits, groin, breasts, or genitals, inverse psoriasis creates smooth, inflamed red patches of skin. This form of psoriasis may come from a fungal infection and tends to worsen with friction and sweating.
- Pustular psoriasis — As its name implies, pustular psoriasis causes you to have pus-filled blisters either in wide-ranging patches or in small areas on your hands, feet, or fingertips. These blisters can appear and disappear frequently alongside fever, chills, severe itching, and diarrhea.
- Erythrodermic psoriasis — Less likely to occur, erythrodermic psoriasis can create a red, peeling rash that covers your entire body. This rash may even itch or burn quite severely.
- Psoriatic arthritis — This type of psoriasis not only causes your skin to be inflamed, dry, and scaly, but it also causes you to have swollen and painful joints. Depending on the severity of this condition, you may experience just joint pain, only minor changes to your nail, or inflamed skin alongside either or both joint and nail issues.
What causes it?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you don’t need to worry about your condition spreading. While it might look intimidating, psoriasis is most definitely not contagious, so you can’t catch or spread it.
But aside from that bit of welcome knowledge, scientists still don’t really know what causes psoriasis. Currently, they believe that the two following aspects play strong roles in causing the skin condition:
- Immune system mishaps — Scientists have noticed that people with psoriasis tend to have problems in their immune system. Unlike regular immune systems where the body’s white blood cells attack only harmful things like bacteria or viruses, immune systems impacted by psoriasis have white blood cells that attack the body’s skin cells. Because of this attack, the body creates new skin cells more frequently than usual, which causes an extra pileup of skin cells that tend to form psoriasis.
- Genes — Psoriasis does tend to run in families, so it’s more likely for people to get the condition if they have family members who already have it. But this fact is still debatable as scientists have noticed not all people with psoriasis have genes that increase their risk of getting the condition.
Determining If You Have It
To figure out if you do have psoriasis, you should talk to your doctor. Your symptoms may be similar to psoriasis, but they might not necessarily mean you have the condition. You’ll have a better idea if that’s the case when you get your doctor to professionally diagnose you.
Treating It Naturally
Once you’ve confirmed that you do, in fact, have psoriasis, you’ll likely want to know how to treat it. Psoriasis can be quite unpleasant, so to take away some of your discomforts, try one of the following natural treatments.
Psoriasis can cause tough plaques of itchy skin, but you can soften them up easily through bathing on a regular basis. Frequent baths also give you the chance to absorb ingredients that can moisturize and soothe your skin like Epsom salts, oatmeal, or coconut oil.
If you plan on trying this out, make sure you use only warm water and that you only soak in it for under 15 minutes. Doing otherwise can dry out and irritate your skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have psoriasis on your scalp, you may want to consider applying apple cider vinegar to it. It’s a common treatment that can reduce yeast overgrowth and help you cut through the extra layers of skin build up that comes from psoriasis.
It’s important to note, however, though that apple cider vinegar can be quite harsh on your skin if you leave it only it on your skin for too long. So dilute it with water when applying it to your scalp, and don’t apply it to any cracked or bleeding areas.
A chemical that naturally comes from cayenne and jalapeno peppers, capsaicin may be able to help soothe your skin. A bit of an odd idea considering most hot ingredients like this are not ones that feel comfortable against even regular, non-inflamed skin. But capsaicin has the ability to ease any nerve pain signals. So you might want to check out cream based on the ingredient for your psoriasis.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Some studies have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids might improve psoriasis. And this can be a fairly easy treatment to consume! All you really need to do is take fish oil supplements or add more oily fish like salmon or mackerel to your diet.
Much like apple cider vinegar, you might not expect to put olive oil on your head, but it can prove quite soothing for psoriasis on your scalp. It can both moisturize your scalp and loosen any itchy-inducing skin flakes present there.
If you’re looking more for a natural ingredient that reduces inflammation, consider consuming curcumin. This chemical compound is mainly found in turmeric. As an oral supplement, it lowers the levels of inflammation in psoriasis-affected skin. And as a topical, it can actually clear away psoriasis patches.
As inflammation can be caused or worsened by stress, it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that your stress can trigger psoriasis. To avoid that possibility, consider managing your stress through activities like physical exercising, counseling, and meditating.
Considered to be one of the most effective botanical treatments for psoriasis, Mahonia aquifolium could very well be your perfect skin solution. But not everyone will react in the same way to herbal products, so you’ll want to test it out on a small patch of skin first.
Probably the most obvious treatment is to drink water frequently. While it’s no cure for psoriasis, it will help hydrate your entire body. Consequently, you’ll be able to reduce dry and flaking skin that can come from psoriasis.
Finding an Alternative Treatment
If none of these natural treatments are working for you and your psoriasis, you may need to turn to a stronger treatment like pharmaceutical medication. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your focus on natural treatments entirely! For instance, consider prescription SORIATANE®.
While synthetic, it is still a type of vitamin A, which can be found naturally in foods like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy. And studies have indicated that this medication is quite effective at treating psoriasis. So if nothing else works, talk to your doctor about getting SORIATANE® prescribed.
It might seem too expensive a treatment at first, but there is a way to lower its cost significantly. All you have to do is ship your prescription medication from a country outside the United States. You can do this easily through a pharmacy referral website like RxConnected. This type of site will connect you to licensed pharmacies from abroad where prescription prices are less exorbitant than the ones in the United States.
Whether you do get medication or find a natural treatment that works, know that there is a way for, to survive with your skin intact and free from the worst of psoriasis.