In today’s article, we’ll try to understand the symptoms, causes and learn about some good natural psoriasis treatments.
Our wellness team has gathered supported insights from experts about this condition. So let’s take a look.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that occasionally affects the joints, causing redness, peeling, pain, and swelling. It can manifest itself with different intensities throughout life and is not contagious.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects 3 percent of the U.S. population.
It mainly appears between the ages of 15 and 35, although it can also occur in children and the elderly.
This disease begins in the immune system, specifically in T lymphocytes. These cells are activated inappropriately and cause different cellular responses, such as the proliferation and dilation of blood vessels.
For “normal” people, the cell turnover of the epidermis takes 30 days. However, in psoriatic patients, it lasts four days.
Symptoms of psoriasis, causes and treatment
Although the specific origin of the disease is unknown, it is said to be a genetic disease. In fact, the gene whose alteration influences the appearance of the pathology has been located.
It’s also known to be an inherited disease.
If one of the two parents is psoriatic, one in eight children can suffer from it; if both parents are affected, the probability is one in four.
However, just because the parents are psoriatic doesn’t necessarily mean their children will be too.
The genetic alteration may also be inherited, but the disease does not develop; exogenous (external) factors also intervene in its appearance.
Among the exogenous factors that can trigger it, the following stand out:
- Chronic infections
- Nervous stress
- Alcohol consumption
- Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
- Hormonal changes
- Trauma (wounds, sunburns, etc.)
Psoriasis can manifest slowly or suddenly. Also, symptoms may disappear over a period of time and reappear.
One of the most common manifestations is skin lesions in the form of plaques whose size can vary. They’re characterized by being reddened and covered by whitish scales of different shapes and sizes.
Some may be the size of a fingernail, but others can extend to cover large surfaces of the body, adopting a ring or spiral shape.
The most common locations are the elbows, knees, scalp, back, and buttocks.
Scalp flaking can be mistaken for severe dandruff. But the characteristic plaques of psoriasis, which mix squamous areas with completely normal ones, distinguish it from dandruff.
Psoriasis can also appear around and under the nails, which get thicker and deformed. The eyebrows, armpits, navel, and groin can also be affected.
Other less frequent symptoms are:
- Genital injuries in men
- Nail modifications ranging from color (shades between yellow and brown); thickness (thicker and the detachment and separation of the skin)
What not to eat if you have psoriasis
A good natural psoriasis treatment also includes the foods you should AVOID:
Alcohol is bad for your health in general. Many doctors and nutritionists do not recommend its consumption even sporadically.
In the case of psoriasis, alcohol dilates the skin’s blood vessels and gives way to T cells responsible for this chronic disease.
Therefore, it is best not to drink even a pinch of alcohol. Water and natural juices are perfect for skin care and health.
Junk food, i.e. foods with large amounts of sugar, fat, and salt, is completely harmful.
Especially if you have psoriasis, the amount of sugars and fats these foods possess makes them even more prone to promoting inflammation.
Red meat is good for certain diseases such as anemia. But even so, for disease-free people, consumption should be limited.
Similarly, it’s better for people who have psoriasis to avoid it or greatly limit its consumption because it also promotes inflammation.
Dairy products, in general, are NOT recommended for people with psoriasis. However, you can replace cow’s milk with soy, almond, or vegetable milk; there are now hundreds of options.
According to an article published by the American Academy of Dermatology, having a gluten-free diet has been shown to improve psoriasis since gluten can swell the skin.
It’s good and usually looks good in salads and whole. But its basic components cause strong swells in certain delicate areas of the skin.
Nowadays, there is a tendency to reduce sugar consumption because it’s really not good, and people are aware of it. Also, it decreases the body’s immune responses.
Condiments and spices are potential enemies of those who have psoriasis. The ones that bring more problems are cinnamon, curry, vinegar, mayonnaise, paprika, and Tabasco sauce.
It is also preferable to avoid Worcestershire and tomato sauce, which can also aggravate the symptoms.
Currently, no method is known to help prevent the appearance of this pathology.
Specialists advise keeping the skin moisturized and clean, as well as avoiding specific triggers.
Although specialists prefer to talk about different ways of presenting the disease, there are many types of psoriasis. It can be classified according to its severity, its shape, and pattern of the scales.
- Mild psoriasis: Covers 2 percent or less of the body’s skin. They’re usually isolated plates located on the knees, elbows, scalp, hands, and feet. The treatment is for topical use (creams, lotions, shampoos)
- Moderate psoriasis: Covers between 2 and 10 percent of the body’s surface. It can appear on the arms, legs, trunk, scalp, and other areas. The treatment patients receive for topical use and phototherapy. In some cases, it may also include pharmacological therapy
- Severe psoriasis: It covers more than 10 percent of the body’s skin. It is usually treated with phototherapy and oral medications
Severity depending on the shape and pattern of the scales:
- Plaque psoriasis: Known as ‘psoriasis Vulgaris.’ This is the most typical form of the disease (80 percent of cases correspond to this type). The scales that form the plaque’s cusp are made up of dead cells, which detach from the plaques. Other symptoms also include pain and itching of the skin, as well as cracking
- Guttate or gouty psoriasis: This type manifests as small reddish drops on the trunk and extremities and sometimes on the scalp. However, these lesions are not as thick as those of plaque psoriasis. It can be caused by some infection and usually appears during childhood
- Reverse psoriasis (in folds): It appears in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in the folds of the genitals and buttocks. This usually manifests in smooth and dry skin, redness and inflammation, but not scales. Reverse psoriasis is especially prone to irritation from rubbing and sweating, so obese people have more problems
- Erythrodermic psoriasis: It’s a rare inflammatory type of psoriasis that usually affects most of the body. It is characterized by a very sharp and aggressive reddening of the skin. Within this group are the dry form and the wet or edematous (more serious) form
- Generalized pustular psoriasis: Also called Von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis. It is rare and manifests with large reddened areas of the skin, which hurt and produce pustules. When these pustules go dry, they reappear cyclically
- Localized pustular psoriasis: When the pustules only appear on hands and feet
- Acropustulosis: Skin lesions are located on the tips of the fingers and sometimes on the feet. They are characterized in that they can be painful and disabling, leading to nail deformity and, in more severe cases, changes in facial bones
The diagnosis of the disease is made by observing the area where peeling and skin lesions appear.
As psoriasis progresses, doctors can easily recognize its characteristic peeling pattern, so there is generally no need for diagnostic tests.
Sometimes specialists perform a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other pathologies that may share the appearance and symptoms.
Natural psoriasis treatment
Treatment of psoriasis depends on each patient and the stage at which they’re at. Even though there is no cure for this disease, it can be kept fully controlled.
The symptoms (inflammation, redness, peeling, and itching) can sometimes be kept away.
Different treatments applied are:
- Topical substances: The initial treatment for most psoriatic patients is usually creams, lotions, cleansers, and ointments applied to the infected areas
- Phototherapy: In general, the sun is beneficial for psoriasis patients. Some may need a specific boost with artificial UVB rays or a combination of ultraviolet light and medications, called PUVA (psoralen along with exposure to ultraviolet light UVA), also known as photochemotherapy. The medicine is taken orally or injected to potentiate the effects of UVA
Systemic drugs; Oral and sometimes injectables:
- Steroids: Among the most common for mild and moderate psoriasis. They’re medicines that imitate the action of certain hormones that the body produces naturally
- Tars: Tar-based preparations have been used for centuries to treat psoriasis. One of its main disadvantages is the unpleasant smell given off
- Calcipotriol: is a synthetic form of vitamin D, which is used to treat mild or moderate psoriasis. It does not act quickly, but in the long term, it is effective in controlling psoriasis. However, it’s not recommended to apply to the face, where it can cause irritation
- Retinoids: Derived from vitamin A. They’re normally used in combination with steroids
- Anthralin: Effective in mild or moderate psoriasis and does not pose long-term side effects, but it can be irritating to the skin
- Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid is used as a complementary treatment. It is used to remove the scales from the plaques of psoriasis and prepare the skin for the application of topical medications
- Methotrexate: Methotrexate dramatically cleanses psoriasis. Among its side effects are nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and mouth sores
- Oral retinoids (isotretinoin): They are effective in some cases of psoriasis, but they work best in combination with other medications. They are safe in long-term treatment
- Cyclosporine: Controls the immune system and is used only if all other options have failed. Effective and fast-acting, but it can cause hypertension and damage kidney function. You cannot keep this medication for more than a year
Natural psoriasis treatment and causes: Final thoughts
This chronic disease lasts throughout life. However, if the patient receives the right treatment, the impact on their quality of life will be much easier.
It’s also essential that psoriasis patients maintain adequate skin hygiene to prevent infections that can lead to injury and a new disease outbreak.