There’s no cure for psoriasis, but treatments can significantly reduce symptoms. The first step is to follow your health care provider’s recommendations for treatment and lifestyle changes. This may include topical, oral or body-wide (systemic) treatments. Some of these treatments may take a while to work, but don’t give up. It’s also a good idea to find a support group to help you deal with your condition.
Your over-reactive immune system causes psoriasis, creating inflammation or swelling that results in scaly, itchy patches of skin. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a topical medication to relieve the itching and redness of psoriasis. These medications can be found over the counter or by prescription. Many people also use other natural home remedies to control their psoriasis.
Some people are able to completely eliminate their psoriasis by following a special diet. Others are able to greatly reduce the severity of their symptoms with simple changes to their daily routines. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Avoid alcohol, as it can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. In addition, avoid smoking as it can make the symptoms of psoriasis worse.
Apply moisturizer to scaly patches twice a day. Choose mild moisturizers without added fragrances and dyes.
Baking soda can soothe itchiness and reduce plaques by removing dead skin cells. To use baking soda, mix a tsp of the powder with water to make a paste, and then apply it to your scaly patch.
Coconut oil can trap moisture in the skin, soothing irritated areas and easing itching, Burns says. Rub a thin layer on your scalp, elbows or anywhere else where you have a psoriasis plaque.
Exposure to sunlight can improve psoriasis by slowing the growth of affected skin cells. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends slowly exposing the skin to sunlight for short periods of time. It is also recommended that you wear a hat and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to prevent sunburn, which can make your psoriasis symptoms worse.
Try taking an antioxidant supplement, such as pine bark extract Pycnogenol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can bolster the effects of your other psoriasis treatments. Talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
An over-the-counter tar ointment can ease itching, inflammation and flaking of the skin. Your doctor may also prescribe a coal tar shampoo or an immunosuppressant, which doesn’t treat psoriasis but reduces how fast your skin cells grow. Examples of these are pimecrolimus and tacrolimus. These medications can have serious side effects, so it’s important to ask your doctor what’s right for you. To see if they’ll work for you, start by trying them for a month or so and then talk to your doctor about how well they’re working. They can recommend any other options if they’re not helping. They might want to switch you to a different medication, or they may suggest increasing the dosage or switching to another type of therapy.