Benefits Of Psoriasis Skin Treatment


What Are the Treatments for Psoriasis?

Despite the fact that psoriasis is incurable, it responds well to many topical and systemic treatments. Even people with severe psoriasis can get relief during flare-ups in about 85% to 90% of cases.

Topical Treatments for Psoriasis

Topical treatments are rubbed directly into the affected skin to bring local relief without the system-wide side effects of medicines taken by mouth or a shot. Topical treatments for psoriasis include:

Salicylic acid . Some doctors recommend salicylic acid ointment, which smoothes the skin by promoting the shedding of psoriatic scales.

Using salicylic acid over large areas of skin, however, may cause the body to absorb too much of the medication, leading to side effects. Salicylic acid may also cause skin irritation and weaken hair shafts, which can cause breakage and temporary hair loss. The effectiveness of these preparations are modest at best.

Light Therapy for Psoriasis

Even regular doses of sunlight -- not enough to produce sunburn -- can help psoriasis lesions in many people. For persistent, difficult-to-treat cases of psoriasis, many doctors recommend light therapy. One of the most effective treatments is PUVA (the drug psoralen combined with ultraviolet A, or UVA, light).

However, this form of therapy is used far less often today, because it has been shown to increase the risk of developing skin cancer -- even decades after stopping this therapy.

Some doctors may prescribe ultraviolet B light (UVB) treatment using a light box alone or with other therapies such as coal tar. A more targeted ultraviolet light treatment, called narrow-band UVB therapy, is less carcinogenic than PUVA and almost as effective.

Natural Psoriasis Treatments

If medications fail to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis or cause unwanted side effects, people may try natural remedies, such as herbs and vitamins, for relief. Some people with psoriasis find natural sunlight and ocean water helpful. Some seaside resorts offer special programs for people with psoriasis.

If you are considering natural remedies for psoriasis, here's what you should know about some of the more commonly used remedies:

Aloe vera. Preliminary research suggests that topical cream from the aloe vera plant may improve symptoms of psoriasis. One study showed that topical aloe vera was more effective than placebo. This product is of only minimal benefit, at best.

Fish oil .

Fish oil may be helpful for psoriasis when taken orally. Research has suggested that taking daily oral fish oil supplements containing 1.8 to 3.6 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may bring some improvement by reducing inflammation. A survey of more than 1,200 psoriasis patients found that many reported symptom improvement by taking fish oil supplements. Others reported they were helped by vitamin D supplements.

Dead Sea salts.

Bath solutions, such as Dead Sea salts, oil, oilated oatmeal, or Epsom salts can help psoriasis by removing scales and easing itching. To try Dead Sea salts and other bath solutions, mix them in the bath as directed, then soak in the tub for about 15 minutes.

As soon as you get out of the tub, apply a moisturizer to the skin. Don't expect a lot of improvement, however.

Cayenne.

Cayenne peppers have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Capsaicin, the ingredient in peppers that gives them their heat, is also the active ingredient in many pain-relieving gels and creams. In one study, applying capsaicin cream to the skin relieved itching and skin lesions in people with psoriasis. Capsaicin can cause a burning sensation to the skin, which improves the longer you use it. It's important to wash your hands immediately after rubbing in capsaicin and not touch your eyes or mouth while you have capsaicin on your hands.

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