Psoriasis is a recurring autoimmune disorder characterized by red, flaky patches on the skin. Even though it affects your skin, psoriasis actually begins deep inside your body in your immune system.
It comes from your T cells, a type of white blood cell. T cells are designed to protect the body from infection and disease. When these cells mistakenly become active and set off other immune responses, it can lead to psoriasis symptoms.
Even though there’s no cure, many treatments exist to ease the symptoms of psoriasis. Here are 10 ways to manage mild symptoms from the comfort of your home.
1. Take dietary supplements
Dietary supplements may help ease psoriasis symptoms from the inside. Fish oil, vitamin D, milk thistle, aloe vera, Oregon grape, and evening primrose oil have all been reported to help ease mild symptoms of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. It’s important to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they don’t interfere with other health conditions you may have or medications you’re taking.
2. Prevent dry skin
Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home or office moist. This can help prevent dry skin before it starts. Moisturizers for sensitive skin are also great at keeping your skin supple and preventing plaques from forming.
3. Avoid fragrances
Most soaps and perfumes have dyes and other chemicals in them that may irritate your skin. They can make you smell great, but they also can inflame psoriasis. Avoid such products when you can, or choose those with “sensitive skin” labels.
4. Eat healthfully
Diet may play a role in managing psoriasis. Eliminating red meat, saturated fats, refined sugars, carbohydrates, and alcohol may help reduce flare-ups triggered by such foods. Cold water fish, seeds, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. This can be helpful for managing psoriasis symptoms. Olive oil may also have soothing benefits when applied topically to the skin. Try massaging a few tablespoons on your scalp to help loosen troublesome plaques during your next shower.
5. Soak your body
Hot water may be an irritant for your skin. However, a lukewarm bath with Epsom salt, mineral oil, milk, or olive oil can soothe the itching and infiltrate scales and plaques. Moisturize immediately after your bath for double benefits.
6. Get some rays
Light therapy involves exposing your skin to ultraviolet light under the supervision of a doctor. Ultraviolet light can help slow the growth of skin cells triggered by psoriasis. This type of therapy often requires consistent and frequent sessions. It should be noted that tanning beds aren’t a means of achieving light therapy. Too much sunlight can actually worsen psoriasis. Light therapy should always be done under the supervision of a doctor.
7. Reduce stress
Any chronic condition like psoriasis can be a source of stress, which in turn can worsen psoriasis symptoms. In addition to reducing stress whenever possible, consider incorporating stress- reducing practices such as yoga and meditation.
8. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is a trigger for many people who have psoriasis. A study in 2015 found an increased risk of psoriasis among women who drank nonlight beer. Those who drank at least five nonlight beers per week were nearly twice as likely to develop psoriasis compared to women who didn’t drink.
9. Try turmeric
Herbs are commonly used to treat many conditions. Turmeric has been found to help minimize psoriasis flare-ups. It can be taken in pill or supplement form, or sprinkled on your food. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits for you. The FDA-approved dosage of turmeric is 1.5 to 3.0 grams per day.
10. Stop smoking
Avoid tobacco. Smoking may increase your risk of psoriasis. If you already have psoriasis, it can also make your symptoms more severe.
There isn’t a single answer for keeping the symptoms of psoriasis at bay. What works for one person may not work for another. Some treatment options may have negative side effects for preexisting conditions other than psoriasis. Remember that while these home remedies for psoriasis may help with mild cases, prescription therapy is required for more severe cases. Talk to your doctor before seeking treatment on your own. “Changing my diet made a huge difference for my psoriasis. I went on a diet to lose weight and an unexpected, very welcome side effect of this was that my elbows cleared up considerably!”— Clare, living with psoriasis