An autoimmune disorder that speeds up the life cycle of skin cells, psoriasis results in red, itchy, and sometimes painful scales forming on the surface of the skin. Regular lotions and moisturizers do little to relieve the redness and itching, so what do you do when you’re experiencing a Psoriasis flare up?
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Unfortunately, psoriasis is a chronic condition with no known cure. Just because you may not be able to completely get rid of psoriasis, however, doesn’t mean that you have to suffer needlessly – treatment options are out there! Keep reading to find out what the best psoriasis treatments are.
What Are the Most Effective Psoriasis Treatments?
Although psoriasis has no cure, there are a number of different things you can do to relieve the pain and itching of a Psoriasis flare up and to reduce the risk for recurrence. Whether you’re looking for a treatment for mild or severe psoriasis, you have three main options:
· Topical applications
· Light therapy
When it comes to dry skin psoriasis treatment, topical lotions and moisturizers are usually the first thing most people try. When used properly, topical applications can help to relieve itching and moisturize the skin to reduce psoriasis plaques. This treatment is one of the safest psoriasis treatment options, but it generally works best for mild to moderate cases.
If you suffer from moderate to severe psoriasis, topical applications may not be enough – you might need to try an alternative form of treatment. Light therapy is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option and medications are always available as a fallback. Keep reading to learn more about each of these three psoriasis home treatments.
Topical Plaque Psoriasis Treatments
As you may already know, there are several different forms of psoriasis but the most common is plaque psoriasis. This skin condition affects millions of people and it accounts for about 8 out of every 10 cases. Though this type of psoriasis can become severe, it is often mild to moderate in severity and it can be fairly easy to manage with topical applications.
Topical applications for psoriasis treatment take several forms – here are the most common:
These topical applications are the most common treatment for psoriasis and they help to reduce both inflammation and itching. Corticosteroids are best used during flare-ups rather than as a psoriasis permanent treatment.
· Vitamin D:
Vitamin D analogues help to slow skin cell growth which is beneficial for cases of mild to moderate psoriasis.
This topical medication helps to slow skin cell growth and it may also help to remove scales, making your skin smoother.
· Topical Retinoids:
These treatments are vitamin A derivatives that help to decrease inflammation. Keep in mind that topical retinoids might increase sensitivity to sunlight, so be careful when using them.
· Calcineurin Inhibitors:
This type of application is designed to reduce inflammation and plaque buildup but it is only recommended for short-term use. Calcineurin inhibitors are good for areas of thinner skin (such as around the eyes) where steroid creams may be too harsh.
· Salicylic Acid:
A common ingredient in medicated shampoos and beauty products, salycilic acid helps to reduce scaling by encouraging the sloughing of dead skin cells. Most commonly used for scalp psoriasis, you can combine this treatment with corticosteroids or coal tar to maximize its effectiveness.
· Coal Tar:
While this might not sound like anything you want to put on your skin, coal tar can reduce itching, inflammation, and scaling. Keep in mind that it has a strong odor, however, and it may stain your skin or clothing.
In addition to these topical applications, you might want to consider a high-quality moisturizer as well. Regular moisturizers won’t heal your psoriasis or prevent it from coming back, but it can help to reduce the itching and scaliness of your skin. Look for an ointment moisturizer because these are usually more effective in hydrating your skin than psoriasis treatment creams and lotions. For the best results, apply a thin layer of the ointment over your skin right after taking a bath or shower.
Plaque Psoriasis Therapy with Light
When you go outside, you need to keep your skin covered – sunburn and exposure to dry, cold weather can trigger a psoriasis flareup. What you may not know, however, is that natural sunlight can also be a helpful plaque psoriasis therapy. Light therapy for psoriasis involves either natural or artificial UV light – here are some of the options:
In controlled amounts, exposure to natural sunlight can slow skin turnover while also reducing inflammation. The key is to keep the exposure brief because intense sun exposure can worsen psoriasis symptoms. Ask your doctor first if this form of therapy is safe for you.
· UVB Phototherapy –
Also known as broadband UVB, UVB phototherapy involves controlled doses of UVB light coming from an artificial light source. This therapy is best for mild to moderate symptoms and it can be used for psoriasis that resists topical applications.
·Narrow Band Therapy –
One of the newer treatment options, narrow band phototherapy is highly effective, and it can be administered up to three times per week until symptoms improve and then you switch to weekly maintenance sessions.
· PUVA Therapy –
Psoralen plus ultraviolet A is a type of photochemotherapy which involves taking a light-sensitizing medication (called psoralen) before being exposed to UVA light which penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB.
Another option for light therapy involves the use of an Excimer laser. This treatment is best for mild to moderate cases of psoriasis and it is able to treat only the affected skin without damaging healthy skin cells. In addition to being more targeted, laser therapy requires fewer sessions than traditional phototherapy because the UVB light being used is more powerful. This treatment does come with a risk for side effects including blistering and redness.
Psoriasis Medication List
When topical applications and light therapy don’t work, you might need to consider medication. Psoriasis medications can be taken by mouth (orally) or they can be injected. Here are some of the most commonly prescribed psoriasis medications:
This drug is designed to suppress the immune system and, in doing so, reduce the risk for flare-ups. The problem with cyclosporine is that it can increase the risk of infection, so you should only use it as a short-term treatment.
This oral psoriasis medication helps to suppress inflammation and decrease skin cell production. In high doses, this drug can cause upset stomach and, if used long-term, it may contribute to complications like liver damage and decreases blood cell count.
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids are an effective severe plaque psoriasis treatment. Keep in mind, however, that they do come with risks, especially for pregnant women.
These are drugs that alter the immune system and they are best for moderate to severe cases of psoriasis. These drugs are usually given as a psoriasis treatment injection.
Keep in mind that any drug comes with the risk for side effects, so talk to your doctor before you start or stop taking anything. Be mindful as well that psoriasis drugs can interact with other drugs you may be taking so use medical treatments with caution and always report side effects or interactions to your doctor as a precaution.
What About Holistic Treatment for Psoriasis?
If you find that none of the options discussed above provide the desired level of relief from your psoriasis symptoms, or if you’re just wondering about an alternative treatment for psoriasis, you’ll be glad to know that there are several options. Here are a few things to consider:
·Aloe Vera –
Typically available in a topical application, aloe vera can reduce itching, inflammation, scaling, and redness during a flare-up and it can help to keep your skin moisturized in the in-between times.
·Oregon Grape –
Topical applications of Oregon grape (also known as barberry) have been shown to reduce inflammation and to relieve other psoriasis symptoms.
·Fish Oil –
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil can reduce inflammation caused by psoriasis. Doses up to 3 grams per day are generally recognized as safe.
·Dead Sea Salt –
Bathing in dead sea salt can help to ease itching and remove scales. This Dead Sea psoriasis treatment is easy to do – just mix the salt into a hot bath and soak for 20 minutes.
If you suffer from psoriasis, you know how hard it can be to remain positive when you’re in pain or discomfort. You should take heart, however, in the fact that there are many treatment options available. Not only that, but new medications and other psoriasis treatments are always being developed. The best thing to do right now, however, is to avoid your triggers and keep using the treatment recommended by your doctor.