Choosing a psoriasis treatment can be difficult, as people react differently to different treatments. While choosing a treatment, it is important to consult your doctor and to discuss your psoriasis symptoms. Specific psoriasis conditions (like scalp psoriasis, genital psoriasis or pustular psoriasis) may require different treatment.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin disease that usually contains raised, red patches covered with a build-up of dead skin cells. There are different forms of psoriasis (including plaque, guttate, inverse, pustular and erythrodermic). Psoriasis can also affect different areas of the body (including scalp psoriasis, genital psoriasis, psoriasis on the face, psoriasis on the hands and feet and psoriasis of the nails).
Usually people have only one type of psoriasis at a time. Sometimes psoriasis can change from one form of psoriasis to another. It is most likely to appear on the scalp, knees, elbows or torso, but it can develop anywhere on the body. Psoriasis is not infectious and cannot be caught from another person.
People suffering from psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis. It is similar to rheumatoid arthritis, but not as severe. It may affect the fingers, toes, neck, lower back, knees and ankles. In severe cases, it can cause irreversible damage to joints.
About fifty percent of people suffering from psoriasis develop scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis is caused by the body producing too many skin cells on the scalp, resulting in red lesions covered with a white scale (made up of dead skin cells). In extreme cases of scalp psoriasis, thick plaques can cover the scalp and cause hair loss.
What Causes Psoriasis?
The exact cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is believed to be a genetic condition. It seems that the immune system speeds up the growth of new skin cells, so that the skin cells pile up. Often, there is something that triggers the immune system to act in this way and the resulting psoriasis. Some of the triggers that can cause psoriasis are:
?Injury to the skin;
?Reaction to drugs;
Symptoms of Psoriasis
Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. People suffering from plaque psoriasis will develop 'lesions' on their skin, which are covered by a white scale (from dead skin cells). The skin will also be itchy.
Treatment for psoriasis depends on the type of psoriasis you are suffering from and the psoriasis treatment that works best for you. Discuss any treatment with your doctor or skin specialist.
RELIEVING THE ITCH
One of the most uncomfortable things about psoriasis is the associated itchiness. Cool water can help relief this itchiness. Try a wet towel, a cold shower, a cold bath or a cold pack. Many of the medication and natural treatments mentioned below will also help combat the itchiness.
When considering treatment for psoriasis, it may be beneficial to know some of the natural treatments that are available. Although none of these treatments will cure psoriasis, they may relieve the symptoms and itchiness and help prevent further outbreaks from occurring. All natural treatments should be discussed with your doctor, as it may affect any psoriasis treatment he or she prescribes.
?Baths can be beneficial by themselves in relieving itchiness. Oatmeal, Epsom salts and Dead Sea salts can help remove the scales and also help in soothing itchiness.
?Aloe Vera is often used to soothe and moisturize skin.
?Apple cider vinegar can be used to soothe the skin. You may also add it to a bath.
?Capsaicin is found in cayenne peppers. It can help treat red, scaly and itchy skin.
?Evening primrose oil can be found in cream or lotion form. It can also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
?Tea tree can be applied to the skin or added to baths.
?Fish oil, taken as a supplement, can help improve the symptoms associated with psoriasis.
?Milk thistle can be purchased in tablet or fluid form. It helps stop T-cell activation.
?Turmeric can help relieve psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriasis medication is available to treat all types of psoriasis.
Some of these medications will need to be prescribed by a doctor. Others may be bought over the counter.
?Tar was used for many years to treat psoriasis. It is available over-the-counter.
?Anthralin is a steroid-free topical psoriasis treatment, generally used to treat plaque psoriasis.
?Dovonex is a synthetic vitamin D3 product. It is available by prescription. Dovonex slows down the rate of skill cell growth.
?Salicylic acid helps removes scales. It is available by prescription or over-the-counter.
?Tazorac is a derivative of vitamin A. Tazorac can be bought as psoriasis cream or gel.
?Topical steroids are available by prescription.
?Phototherapy (including UVB phototherapy and PUVA) exposes the skin to light.
?Psoriasis medicine may be prescribed by your doctor. Some common ingredients in psoriasis medicine are amevive, raptiva, cyclosporine, methotrexate and soriatane.
As yet, there is no known cure for psoriasis. Researchers are studying psoriasis and trying to find a psoriasis cure.
It can be difficult to prevent psoriasis outbreaks, but avoiding some of the possible triggers for your psoriasis can reduce the amount of outbreaks that occur. It is important to know the symptoms of psoriasis so that you can recognize psoriasis as soon as it occurs and identify any possible triggers. It is not always possible to avoid all psoriasis triggers, but try to avoid triggers as much as you can.
?Stress. This is a very hard one to avoid, especially as the psoriasis may, in itself, be a cause of stress.
?Learn some relaxation techniques and strategies for coping with stress.
?Extreme weather conditions. Protect your skin from the sun and the cold.
?Skin injuries or traumas. Skin injuries may trigger a psoriasis episode. Be extra careful in trying to avoid any injuries to the skin.
?Respiratory infections. Keep your immune system healthy by eating well and resting. A healthy immune system will be better able to fight off any infections quickly.
?Dry skin. Keep your skin moisturized. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a good moisturizer for your condition.
Treating psoriasis needs to be done on an individual basis. Different people will respond differently to medications and treatments. Specific types of psoriasis may need specific types of treatment. Discuss all of your psoriasis symptoms with your doctor. Make sure you mention any specific psoriasis symptoms (such as those associated with scalp psoriasis or genital psoriasis). You should also tell the doctor if there has been anything that may have triggered a psoriatic episode. Your doctor will then be able to help you find the best psoriasis treatment, according to your particular needs.