Psoriasis occurs when skin cells multiply much faster than normal, healthy cells and because of the overproduction of these cells areas of skin are than covered with pink or red colored patches with white scales, which is usually raised. It occurs in all areas of the body, particularly the joints and it is triggered by the immune system, otherwise the condition is not usually dangerous and other than it being somewhat stressful and embarrassing the symptoms will generally subside within weeks with the appropriate treatment. Psoriasis usually is hereditary, it is not contagious and it is quite common among people with fair skin. Symptoms include:
Deep red or pink, raised patches of skin with white scales that appear anywhere on the body except the face
Thickening and pitting of the fingernails and toenails.
There are a number of factors that can cause this condition they can range from emotional stress to infection. Other factors that are known to aggravate psoriasis are excess alcohol consumption, injured skin, obesity, incorrect diets, and certain drugs.
There are many techniques which are able to help people that suffer with psoriasis, this is done by addressing the psychological roots and consequences of the disease as the disease is often triggered by high anxiety, low self esteem and stress related problems. Hypnotherapy and other relaxation techniques can be quite helpful as well. You should try to relax more and take part in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. You should also try to avoid situations that are very stressful.
As fish oil is normally extremely beneficial to sufferers of psoriasis you should try to take a fish-oil capsule that contain EPA, four times a day. Other supplements that should be taken are Vitamin A, D, E, calcium, lecithin, magnesium, kelp, evening primrose oil, linseed oil and garlic. You should be careful when taking them though and your doctor should be consulted before you take any supplement. Vitamin B complex has been found to promote healthy skin and using Vitamin E ointment to rub into your scalp 2-3 times a week can be rather helpful. It has also been suggested that eating too much citrus fruit can aggravate psoriasis. Psoriasis patients are similar to eczema patients in the way that they cannot metabolize fatty acids, so to prevent outbreaks, you should try to keep to a diet high in raw vegetables and fish and low in acidic fruits and fatty meats.
If you are suffering from scalp psoriasis, try to wash you hair with a coal-tar shampoo or with a mixture of juniper, cedarwood or lemon oils. Regular exercise will help your entire system. It is also quite helpful to expose the areas of inflamed skin to the morning or afternoon sun, although you should be extremely careful to stay out to long and you should apply sunscreen to all the other parts of your body.
When to seek further professional advice
If the skin inflammation is not responding to any form of treatment;
If you feel that the conventional treatments for psoriasis are not working you should ask your doctor for advice on alternative treatments. Some aromatherapeutic remedies that can be helpful are to mix together 4 drops of essential oil of cedarwood and 2 drops of juniper or lemon in 1 tablespoon of almond, olive or jojoba oil, this mixture should then be applied to your scalp and left in overnight under a shower cap. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly the next morning. If the above oils are unsuitable you can use lavender. This should be repeated 3 times a week until the symptoms clear. Some people are sensitive to essential oils so test your sensitivity by placing a drop of the oil on your skin for 30 minutes to be sure you are not sensitive to it. Herbs that are believed to help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis are dandelion root, burdock root and Oregon grape. To soothe the itching that is associated with psoriasis rub in some evening primrose oil. Mix tinctures of skullcap, sourdock, cleavers and burdock in equal parts is also quite helpful in relieving the itch and a rinse made of dried rosemary and sage offers another alternative to tar-based shampoos. Consult a professional homeopath before choosing a homeopathic remedy to treat psoriasis, so that he can advise you on the correct one to use.
Although this condition is not curable it does respond very well to treatments. Your doctor will probably recommend that you soak in a warm bath for 10-15 minutes, and then immediately apply a topical ointment such as Vaseline, which will help your skin retain moisture. If this does not help your doctor may prescribe another medication which is a little stronger. Treatment with capsaicin has also been found to be quite effective, however capsaicin should only be used under a doctor’s supervision as it can burn and severely damage the skin if it is used incorrectly.
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