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Living with Psoriasis

Patient scratching psoriasis on her elbow

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than 7 million Americans suffer from psoriasis, a chronic, non-contagious disease that causes red, flaky patches on your skin. Plaque psoriasis is the most common of the five types of psoriasis, causing red bumps or legions covered with a silver-looking cluster of dead skin cells or scales. The cause of psoriasis is uncertain, but most researchers agree that both genetics and your immune system play a big part in the disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Plaques of thick, scaly skin that are red with silver scales, most often appearing on the elbows, knees and scalp
  • Itching and burning sensations due to the lesions on the skin
  • Ridged, thick, or pitted nails which can eventually separate from the nail bed
  • Arthritis, stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints
  • In Pustular Psoriasis, blisters filled with pus, fever, chills and diarrhea

While there isn’t a single answer for keeping psoriasis at bay, there are some things you can do on your own to help alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis.

  • Take dietary supplements. Vitamin D, aloe vera and fish oil have been known to help alleviate mild symptoms of psoriasis.
  • Moisturize. Running a humidifier in your home or workplace moistens the air and can prevent your skin from drying out.
  • Eat right. What you eat can play a role in controlling psoriasis. Up your intake of cold water fish, seeds, nuts and omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. And apply a small amount of olive oil to your skin to soothe any flare-ups.
  • Avoid soaps and perfumes. Most fragrances contain chemicals and dyes that can irritate your skin and inflame psoriasis. Opt for products made for sensitive skin instead.
  • Take a lukewarm (not hot) bath. Hot water can irritate your skin, but a lukewarm bath and calm itching, especially when you add Epsom salt, mineral oil, milk or olive oil to the water.
  • Avoid harmful substances. Alcohol can be a trigger for many people who suffer from psoriasis, and smoking may increase your risk of psoriasis. It can also make symptoms more severe for people who already have psoriasis.

While these home remedies for psoriasis may help with mild cases, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your condition, as well, to see if prescription therapy may be required
To learn more about detecting or managing psoriasis, or if you’re interested in any of the other dermatologic services we provide, contact Westerville Dermatology online or by calling 614.895.0400 today to schedule an appointment.

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