Psoriasis is an annoying and disfiguring autoimmune disease that afflicts approximately 125 million people around the world. Sadly, there’s no permanent cure — yet. However, with the constant advancements in medicine, science is sure to find one in the coming years.
What causes psoriasis?
The exact cause has yet to be identified. However, it is known that for whatever reason, psoriasis is a result of overactive T cells in the immune system mistaking healthy cells for bad ones. When this case of mistaken identity happens, crusty raised bumps and red itchy spots called “plaques” form on the skin. Psoriasis symptoms do go dormant but stress, injury, certain medications, and infections like strep throat, cold and flu can all cause and outbreak.
This disease doesn’t discriminate, affecting people from every race, age and walk of life. Sexy celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevigne, and Leann Rimes all suffer from this skin disorder. Genetics determine how the immune system functions, so it’s important to recognize that it isn’t your fault you have the disease, unless you smoke (more on this later). This condition can also lead to psoriatic arthritis; intermittent inflammation of the joints that will eventually lead to full-blown arthritis.
Psoriasis isn’t contagious, and can’t be contracted by sitting on the wrong toilet seat, or picking up a book at the local library that was last used by someone with the disease. This is often the reason psoriasis sufferers are so stigmatized by society, as the uneducated fear physical contact and/or are simply put off by how it looks.
How to treat psoriasis naturally at home
Use supplements proven to help
If you’re looking for ways to treat your psoriasis naturally, chances are you’ve experienced the negatives common prescription and OTC treatments can cause. They only work to curb a current outbreak. If stress or some other trigger such as diet changes, or unexpected problems in your life happen, the whole process starts all over. Worse, such treatments can dry out the skin and cause the same itchy, cracked, flaky skin issues you’re trying to get rid of!
Psoriasis is an immune disorder. Natural treatments can often get to the heart of the issue with some experimentation and open-mindedness. Vitamin D deficiency, leaky gut, and poor liver function are all intimately linked to psoriasis breakouts — and ongoing breakouts that never seem to go away.
The following supplements can help keep psoriasis at bay
• Vitamin D3: Have your doctor check your serum levels regularly, particularly if you live in areas where snowy winters take place, or in the UK where sunlight is poor. Vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and is the reason people who don’t get very much sun are more prone to sickness of all kinds. Take a quality vitamin D3 supplement that delivers 1,000 I.U., once daily. Alternatively, 15 uninterrupted minutes of midday sun — wearing shorts and a t-shirt with no sunscreen can offer the same dose of D. That is, if your body can metabolize it effectively this way.
• Fish oil: Omega 3s derived from fish oil boost immune function by increasing the amounts of eicosanoids and cytokines floating around in our blood. These proteins are needed to signal an immune response when foreign invaders attack inside our bodies. Strangely, those deficient in omega 3s and the aforementioned immune-signaling proteins tend to more autoimmune issues.
• Milk thistle: You’ll find plenty of concoctions out there claiming to increase liver function. While many of them do work, the main active ingredient is always milk thistle. Milk thistle is the only supplement known to help detoxify an alcoholic’s liver. It’s also used by athletes who take steroids to help negate the negative effects these drugs can have on liver function.
• Probiotics: Probiotics are essential for gut health, which is also essential for healthy immune system function. Probiotics tie things together for a psoriasis sufferer because a healthy functioning gut ensures that all the nutrition from food is absorbed properly in the stomach and small intestines. Daily consumption of probiotic rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, spirulina, and nutritional yeast can help to balance bacteria and restore gut health.
• Curcumin: Found in turmeric, curcumin is a powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory. A study from Penn Dermatology a few years back showed that curcumin taken daily can halt flare-ups when they occur, and even prevent them from happening in the first place.
Use fragrance-free products
If you want to rule out all potential irritants that may cause a psoriasis outbreak, any and all fragrances that come in contact with the skin need to go. This includes all soaps including dish soap, skin creams, perfumes, powders, potions, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, etc. While we may deem such products harmless, the body does not, and anything deemed a threat by the immune system will cause an outbreak.
If you simply cannot live without them, limit your fragrance choices to those with “made for sensitive skin” or similar labels. Always take care to observe the after effects carefully after using them. This might sound shocking, but even the most “Honest” brands out there have been exposed for using unfriendly irritation-causing ingredients.
Keep a humidifier in your house (if you live in dry areas)
Both cold and desert climates are known for low humidity and can cause skin irritation even in people who’d otherwise have no issues. For a psoriasis sufferer, dry air is a big trigger that can cause outbreaks. A simple humidifier like the popular TaoTronics Cool Mist, placed in the bedroom while sleeping can make a big difference when it comes to reducing psoriasis outbreaks.
Eliminate as many stressors from your life as possible
Many stressors are obvious to us, some unavoidable. For instance, a family member suddenly gets stricken with a terminal illness, or has a heart attack. These are unavoidable, but learning to better manage stress through exercise, meditation, and enjoyable hobbies can certainly help when the unexpected happens.
Then there are the stresses we can control, yet choose to subject ourselves to over and over out of fear. Such as the fear of moving on from a bad relationship, or fear of looking for another job because our current one provides security — even if it causes our skin to flare-up and hair to fall out! Stress and psoriasis, as you likely already know all too well, do not make great dance partners.
One of the best bits of advice I can offer is to take a nightly soak in a bath of all natural Dead Sea mineral salts or even regular Epsom salts if you can’t afford the former. Dead Sea salts offer a full spectrum of relaxing, heart healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and bromide. Yet, Epsom salts cost much less per pound, and contain magnesium which is still a powerful relaxation mineral.
Both of these solutions can help reduce stress by a lot, and also help to nourish the skin itself. I’d encourage you to read through psoriasis forums and Amazon reviews to learn more about their benefits from people who suffer from this autoimmune disease.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Both are known psoriasis triggers. Each are a major stress trigger on the body, despite the fact each are often used to combat it. Smoking has actually shown to be a catalyst in causing psoriasis in teens and adults who’d never experienced symptoms before they started smoking. In other words, smoking can wake up the dormant DNA that triggers the problem.
If you must, drink light beer in moderation. Alcohol is a major trigger, particularly for women. This study, done in partnership with Harvard Medical School, showed women who drank non-light beer were twice as likely to experience an outbreak as those who did not.
I wish I could give everyone who reads this a magic blue pill that would cure their psoriasis. Or, refer them to a skin specialist who can give you all the information required to get permanent control over this problem. The truth is that it takes knowing your body and what causes your unique outbreaks in order to get control of psoriasis. That, and coming up with a supplement and lifestyle plan aimed a mitigating breakout frequency and duration.
I hope this post has given you some great ideas you can use to get even just a little extra freedom from your psoriasis symptoms. Here’s to your good health!