How to Control Psoriasis

Four Methods:Treating Psoriasis by Bathing and MoisturizingTreating Psoriasis with SunlightTreating Psoriasis with Other RemediesTreating Psoriasis with a Prescription

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes red, scaly patches on the skin. These rashes typically occur on the elbows, knees, and scalp. While there is no cure for psoriasis, its symptoms can be managed in a variety of ways. Many of these require a doctor's prescription, but there are several remedies you can try on your own.

Method 1
Treating Psoriasis by Bathing and Moisturizing

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    Fill a tub with lukewarm water. Daily baths help remove scaly skin and calm the itching and burning associated with psoriasis. Make sure the water is not excessively hot- this can aggravate your symptoms.
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    Add a bath solution to the water. Among the solutions found effective are Epsom salts, Dead Sea salts, and oilated oatmeal. Use each product as labels indicate.
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    Soak in the bath for approximately 15 minutes. Do not stay in the bath for much longer, as this could lead to further irritation of the skin.
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    Use a mild soap. Exposure to harsh soaps can make symptoms worse. Also avoid soaps with fragrances, as these can irritate your skin. It is better not to use soap at all or to use aqueous cream instead of soap than to use a harsh, drying soaps
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    Dry your skin after bathing. Do this carefully by blotting your skin with a towel. Do not rub with the towel. Rubbing can irritate your skin.
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    Apply a moisturizing cream to the affected area. Do this immediately after drying to prevent your skin from drying out. Dermatologists recommend heavy creams and ointments over lighter lotions. These will more effectively lock moisture in the skin. Like with soaps, avoid products with fragrances.
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    Bathe daily. A single bath won't lead to much improvement, so you need to be persistent. It may take several weeks for noticeable improvement.[1]

Method 2
Treating Psoriasis with Sunlight

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    Expose your skin to small amounts of sunlight. Ultraviolet B (UVB) light is found in sunlight and has been known to improve psoriasis symptoms. Phototherapy treatments are often done under medical supervision in an office, but careful exposure to sunlight can have similar effects.
    • It is best to consult your doctor before beginning a sunbathing regimen. Exposure to sunlight can aggravate your psoriasis.
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    Apply sunblock. Make sure areas unaffected by your psoriasis are covered with sunblock before exposing your skin to sunlight. This will protect you from painful sunburns and skin cancer. Use at least SPF 30 to ensure proper protection.
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    Begin sunbathing. At first, only expose yourself to sunlight for five to ten minutes daily, around noontime. Stick to these short intervals to make sure that your psoriasis is not aggravated by the sunlight.
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    Increase your exposure time gradually. Do this in intervals of 30 seconds. Only increase your exposure after you are sure your skin can handle the sunlight.
    • Do not go over the recommended exposure time. Ultraviolet light can make psoriasis symptoms worse in large doses.
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    Expose all areas of your skin affected by psoriasis to equal sunlight. Keep careful track of your exposure time and rotate accordingly.
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    Talk with your doctor regularly. As you continue sunbathing, it is important to keep visiting your doctor to check your skin for sun damage and determine if the treatment is working.
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    Avoid tanning salons. Do not use tanning beds as a replacement for natural light. Most tanning beds emit UVA light, not UVB. This will not help psoriasis and can make symptoms worse. [2]

Method 3
Treating Psoriasis with Other Remedies

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    Use over-the-counter topical treatments. There are several readily available products that have been found to improve psoriasis symptoms.
    • Coal Tar. This is one of the oldest treatments for psoriasis, and can help reduce itching, swelling, and scaling of skin. It is found in a variety of over-the-counter creams and shampoos. Be aware that coal tar can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, meaning you will burn more easily. Make sure there is none on your skin before sunbathing.
    • Salicylic Acid. This works as a peeling agent that softens and loosens scaly skin. Like coal tar, it is found in many OTC topical products.
    • Aloe Vera. This can help reduce the irritation and itching associated with psoriasis.
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    Use anti-itch creams. These don't prevent or alleviate the scaly skin caused by psoriasis, but can fight uncomfortable itching. Some that have been found effective are calamine, hydrocortisone, and camphor.[3][4]
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    Avoid triggers. In addition to treating your psoriasis symptoms, you can also avoid things that will trigger or exacerbate your symptoms. The following list names some known psoriasis triggers:
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol
    • Stress. This is proven to be the most common cause of flare ups
    • Prolonged sun exposure
    • Soaps or creams with fragrances
    • Hot water[5]
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    Dietary treatment

There are various dietary changes that may help psoriasis

  • A raw food diet has been advocated for by many people
  • Avoidance of refined foods
  • Eat foods known to reduce inflammation in the body generally. These include lemons, onions, and omega 3 containing foods like fish, soya bean oil , beans etc
  • avoid certain foods which are allergenic in some people such as milk, gluten and peanuts

Method 4
Treating Psoriasis with a Prescription

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    Visit your doctor. While the previous remedies have been found effective in some cases, they won't work for everyone. There are a variety of prescription treatments that the doctor can recommend.
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    Try phototherapy. Like sunbathing, this involves exposing your skin to UVB light. Phototherapy, however, is performed in a medical facility under a doctor's supervision. Exposure is more concentrated here than with sunlight, which may irritate your skin initially. Continued treatment, however, often leads to improvement.[6]
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    Take prescription medication. There are a multitude of medications that come in oral and intravenous (IV) forms. The two main classes of psoriasis drugs are systemics and biologics.
    • Systemics are designed to work throughout the body. They are given orally in liquid or pill form, or by injection. Some systemic drugs are Acitretin, Cyclosporine, and Methotrexate. It is important to note that this category of treatment is probably the most dangerous and is not suitable for longterm use as these drugs some of which are actually anti-cancer drugs are highly cytotoxic and may have serious consequences and health risks. In addition, the disease may become resistant to these drugs if usage is stopped. If using these drugs, some form of surveillance such as regular blood tests to check liver function among other things[7]
    • Biologics are derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory. They are administered in IV form. Unlike systemics, biologics target specific parts of the immune system to suppress psoriasis symptoms. Interleukin 12/23 and Interleukin 17-A are examples of biologics.[8]
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    Use prescription topical treatments. In addition to OTC topicals, there are more concentrated treatments available by prescription. Topical treatments include
  • Topical corticosteroids. These do not offer a permanent solution as they only work as long as they are being used. Once usage is stopped, their effects also do not last long. When used for the first time they may appear to 'cure ' the disease but this is a dangerous misconception. For these reasons they are often added to complement effects of other active ingredients like those mentioned below in a combined topical treatment. They are a range of corticosteroid preparations of various strengths such as betamethasone 1% etc
  • Vitamin D analogues e.g. calcipotriol . They can be prescribed alone or in combination with the a corticosteroid
  • Anthralin
  • Retinoids- these are vitamin A analogues. Examples include retin-A and roaccutane. They are also used to treat acne

These topical treatments are most useful for patients with only small lesions rather than those with whole body lesions who would benefit more from systemic treatment or oral drugs[9]

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  • Everyone's psoriasis is different. What works for someone else may not work for you. Be willing to try new treatments if one isn't working for you.


  • It is best to consult your doctor before beginning any regimen to treat your psoriasis. All treatments have potential side effects that you should be aware of.

Article Info

Categories: Skin Conditions