As there is no cure for psoriasis and considering the ugly appearance of the psoriatic manifestations and skin changes, a patient of psoriasis does desperately look around for certain alternative modes of treatment.
However, there is no substitute for them. Alternative treatments do not replace them but you can use home remedies or herbal preparations as adjuncts only.
They help you to contain the symptoms in the skin, scalp, and nail psoriasis.
Although the natural home remedies for improving psoriasis symptoms will not cure the disease, they will help improve the appearance of the damaged skin.
These remedies can be more helpful to some people in neutralizing the symptoms when used along with the conventional therapy prescribed by your dermatologist.
Whatever natural means you adopt, such as natural products or herbal remedies, you must consult your healthcare provider to avoid any dangerous drug interactions.
Similarly, the use of any such products, during pregnancy or lactation, or with a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should be exercised with caution and only after consulting your health care provider.
Self-care tips for psoriasis
Avoid trigger and risk factors
First, you must be aware of the factors that cause psoriasis and can trigger a flare-up of symptoms. You must try and avoid them.
For example, drinking alcohol or smoking, or taking certain medications can trigger an attack. You should avoid them. Obesity increases your risk of developing psoriasis. If you are obese, adopt measures to lose weight and maintain your BMI between 20 and 25.
Therefore, make lifestyle improvements and follow a healthy diet and a disciplined lifestyle.
Alcohol increases the risk of a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms. It also reduces the efficacy of the treatment.
Even a small amount of alcohol consumed, can reduce the efficacy of the psoriasis medications and increase the risk of their side effects. It also reduces the chances of remission.
Alcohol reduces your immunity and increases the chances of recurrent infections.
Smoking is an independent factor that can significantly increase your chances of developing psoriasis or it can make an existing condition worse. The smoker is twice at risk of developing psoriasis as compared to a nonsmoker.
The more you have smoked (amount) and the longer you have smoked (duration) have a directly proportionate adverse effect on the condition of your psoriasis or the risk of developing it.
Bathing daily with lukewarm water is good for your psoriatic skin. Do not use hot water. Use mild soaps and soap your body gently. This helps to remove the scales and reduce inflammation. Add bath oils or colloidal oatmeal or Epsom salts to the bathtub water and soak yourself in it for about 15 minutes.
Adding dead sea salts is also good. They draw toxins from the body and promote healing. After a bath, blot or pat your skin dry with a soft towel. Do not rub as this can cause skin damage, which again can trigger a flare-up.
Moisturize your body skin immediately after a bath for added benefits.
Use moisturizer regularly
Immediately after patting yourself dry after a bath, apply an ointment based moisturizer. Ointment based moisturizers and oils work better in psoriasis than creams, which again are better than lotions. Keeping the inflamed psoriatic skin patches moist helps to loosen the scales.
The best way to do this is to cover the affected areas with a thick layer of moisturizer cream or lotion and then to dress it in a plastic wrap or cotton cloth.
Leave this overnight and wash off in the morning during bathing. Moisturizers help to hide the scales and give a better appearance to the skin. Moisturizing your skin twice a day will give you double benefits.
Controlled exposure to soft sunlight
Natural sunlight is a good natural remedy that will improve your psoriasis symptoms. Exposure to soft sunlight for short sessions, 3 to 4 times a week will improve psoriasis. However, please note that over-exposure will worsen your psoriasis and also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Maintain a proper note always about the time you spend in the sun to avoid overexposure. Cover your healthy and normal areas of the skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Before starting on this, do consult your doctor about the best sunlight exposure time for you.
Avoid fragrant products
Avoid the use of fragrant soaps and perfumes. They contain chemicals that can irritate your skin. If you are prone to develop psoriasis, these chemicals can irritate your skin and increase your risk of developing psoriasis or flare-up an existing remission.
Prevent your skin from becoming dry
Dry skin is a factor that can trigger the development of psoriasis or flare-up a remission. To prevent dry skin, you have to keep the air in your office and home moist. To do this, use a humidifier to prevent dryness in the air.
The use of moisturizing creams on the skin will also help.
Try to stay stress-free
Psoriasis and stress enjoy a “cause and effect” relationship. Due to adverse effects to the chronic nature of psoriasis and its ugly skin manifestations, the patient is under constant mental stress, which in turn worsens the symptoms and can even bring the disease out of remission and cause a flare-up.
To increase your stress threshold, make it a regular practice to perform meditation and yoga. This will help you fight stressful situations and minimize the stress of psoriasis.
Getting good sleep is beneficial for stress and skin repair. However, sleeping well with psoriasis is a problem because of the itching. To avoid scratching your skin during sleep, wear cotton gloves while sleeping, take antihistaminics before going to bed in order to reduce itching. Do not take caffeine beverages before going to sleep and keep your psoriasis patches covered.
Natural remedies are useful in reducing the itching and scaling in psoriatic skin lesions of mild to moderate degree.
Aloe extract cream
Aloe extract cream, made from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, reduces the redness, itching, and scaling in people who suffer from mild to moderate cases. You should apply it several times a day for a month or two to see improvement.
Research has shown that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oils contain inflammation and reduce skin symptoms.
Oral fish therapy combined with phototherapy is helpful in controlling the symptoms.
You can even apply it to the affected skin and cover it with dressing for a few hours every day for about four weeks. It improves scaling.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, supplements of fish oil, milk thistle, aloe vera, Oregon grape, and evening primrose oil when taken daily for a month have all been reported to help ease mild symptoms of psoriasis. However, consult your healthcare provider before starting on these. You can also apply Oregon grape topically on the skin lesion to reduce the inflammation.
Essential oils to reduce stress
Lavender, Lemon Grass, or lemon essential oils are useful to get relief from stress. There is some research that suggests that the scent of aromatherapy essential oils can help to fight stress, which in turn can help reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, when taken orally reduces the inflammation in the body thereby reducing the psoriasis symptoms. There is plenty of evidence to suggest this, making curcumin a useful natural remedy to try in psoriasis, It is available in capsule and tablet forms.
Neem oil is made from the seeds of the tropical neem tree, also known as Indian lilac It is a multi-purpose healer used in various conditions including skin psoriasis.
Be sure to use 100% organic pure oil. Soak cotton in it and allow the soaked cotton to stay on the skin lesion for about 20 minutes or more. Wash off with lukewarm water. Do it daily for a month or two till you get the desired results.
Neem is quite a potent substance and therefore make sure your skin is not allergic to it before starting the application. You could mix it with any skin-friendly oil to apply on larger areas.
Drink one to two cups of bitter gourd juice with squeezed lime every morning on an empty stomach. It can help provide relief from psoriasis symptoms. However, it may be several months for effects to be seen.
Capsaicin is a chemical that is present in hot chili peppers. According to a 1999 study, capsaicin cream when applied topically reduces the itching of psoriasis. Apply sparingly as it can initially cause burning.
Drink adequate water
Drink an adequate amount of water every day to help get rid of toxins from the body. Health experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon a day consumed evenly spaced throughout the day. The benefits of drinking water are tremendous and spread throughout all systems of the body.