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Home Remedies for Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a nagging, unpredictable condition, and although there’s no cure, medical intervention can stifle the symptoms.
But if you’re looking for ways to relive the pain and itch outside of the doctor’s clinic, you’re not alone: more psoriasis sufferers are turning to a holistic regimen of physical, herbal, and dietary therapies that can boost – or even replace – systemic drugs and stinky medical ointments.
While there’s no guarantee that these home remedies for psoriasis will get rid of it for good, they could help you manage your condition much more easily.
1. Supplement with Herbs
Although there are few studies on the matter, natural herbs and vitamins have returned good results for some psoriasis sufferers, and may hold the key to your own relief.
Evening primrose oil is one of the most commonly used herbs for skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis, so it may be able to help relieve your psoriasis.
Milk thistle and vitamin D may also have beneficial effects, but keep in mind that, like evening primrose oil, the healing power of these supplements is not scientifically supported.
Moreover, they could interfere with other medications, so it’s crucial that you consult with your doctor before adding a supplement to the mix.
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2. Eat More Fish
Cold water fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are extremely high in omega 3 fatty acids, compounds that can stifle inflammation. Aim to add three servings a week to your diet; if that’s too difficult, consider taking fish oil supplements.
Since fish oil is a concentrated form of omega 3s, taking a capsule a day could bring remarkable results: some studies show that fish oil supplements boost the immune system and protect against heart disease while they reduce inflammation.
However, speak to your doctor before you add them to your daily management plan, since fish oil can interfere with certain medications, like blood thinners.
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3. Use More Olive Oil
Olive oil can be incredibly therapeutic, both internally and externally. First off, it’s high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and heart-healthy compounds, which help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke – two conditions that are more prevalent among psoriasis sufferers.
You can also use olive oil directly on your skin for deep and quick relief. If you struggle with flaky scales on your scalp, try rubbing some olive oil into problem patches when you’re showering to gently lift the flakey skin off.
For psoriasis patches on your torso and limbs, a simple mixture of olive oil and sugar (in a 1:2 ratio) can moisturize and exfoliate at the same time.
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4. Try Tea Tree Oil
Dryness, irritation, and build up are terrible for psoriasis, but these problems are no match for tea tree oil.
The extract of the tea tree plant (native to Australia) has soothing and clarifying properties that relieve itch and dryness – in fact, the oil has been used for centuries by several cultures for a variety of skin issues, from dry skin to acne.
Tea tree oil isn’t an uncommon ingredient in skin products, but it’s probably best to use the pure essential oil and dilute it yourself with water or cream, so you know there aren’t any other ingredients at play that may bother your skin.
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5. Pick the Right Moisturizer
When it comes to choosing a good moisturizing cream, the thicker and plainer, the better.
Forget the luxurious, aromatic creams – they often have irritating artificial fragrance and alcohol – and instead stick to Vaseline, olive oil, or simple vitamin E moisturizer that will penetrate the skin and create a soothing barrier.
Before you buy any moisturizer, be sure to read the label carefully: some measure of sun protection is important, and the formula should be labeled noncomedogenic. You may want to try a cream with exfoliating acids, like salicylic acid or glycolic acid, which have been shown to thin psoriasis plaques by sloughing off the extra skin.
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6. Humidify Your Air
The right cream is important, but if you can increase the humidity in your living space, your skin will thank you even more. Keep a humidifier running in your office, living room, bedroom, or anywhere else you spend a good deal of time to avoid the dry skin and incessant itching before it even begins.
On the other hand, too much humidity could make your psoriasis worse.
The problem with hot and humid weather is that is causes you to sweat more, and sweat will irritate psoriasis plaques. It’s best to get your humidity from an indoor unit that you can control, and try to avoid the outdoors as much as you can on very hot and humid days.
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7. Bathe Wisely
Bathing is such a routine event, you likely overlook some details that could be harming your skin.
For instance, hot water is irritating, but warm water can be extremely soothing, and while it may seem strange, too much water can be very drying, especially when coupled with harsh cleansers. Shorter showers and baths (keep them less than 15 minutes) will help deliver the right amount of moisture, and you don’t have to soap up your scaly patches each and every day.
If you take a bath, throw in a scoop of oatmeal or a splash of milk – these have skin-soothing properties that can reduce the itch.
Some people swear by sea water or Dead Sea salts, so you may want to take a dip in the ocean instead (or create the conditions in your very own tub) to get some relief. When you step out of the tub, towel off lightly and apply moisturizer right away to keep your skin soft and happy for longer.
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8. De-Stress and Recharge
Stress is a top trigger for psoriasis flares – and it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can reduce your stress, from simple relaxation exercises to cognitive behavioural therapy (a technique that teaches you to control your body’s automatic responses).
Massage can be a particularly helpful tool for your stress, since it not only relaxes the mind and muscles, but also improves circulation to the skin and can relieve some of the pain that psoriasis can bring. A gentle touch is best, and stay away from any synthetic massage oils that could irritate your sensitive skin.
Psoriasis is a complex disorder with complex consequences. While you learn to handle the physical symptoms, be sure to pay attention to your emotional health, too: take time to address and express your feelings, and don’t ignore any nagging anxiety or signs of depression. A support group or therapist can help you stay confident and content as you manage your physical symptoms, which will have a huge impact on your level of relief and quality of life.