Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition whereby the keratinocytes in the skin proliferate, causing scaly skin. We’re not sure why psoriasis occurs or how to cure the condition, but we do have some strategies for keeping psoriasis in check.
Psoriasis treatment is typically multifactorial and can involve topical preparations plus light therapy, stress management, and possibly medication.
Treating skin lesions – UV light, moisturisers, medications
Restoring the barrier function of skin is the primary focus in treating psoriasis lesions on the skin, so creams that work to this effect are employed. The simplest treatments for psoriasis are daily sunshine on skin, topical moisturisers and relaxation – there is ample evidence of psoriasis being connected to the nervous system. Applying moisturiser immediately after bathing helps trap moisture in the skin, and Vaseline or other petroleum jelly products can also act as a barrier.
Tar preparations can also be helpful, particularly in conjunction with corticosteroids. There are a handful of useful ingredients that your dermatologist will explain to you and offer as seems appropriate to your case. Itching can be managed with oatmeal baths. UV light – mostly narrow-band UVB – has been found to be useful, with psoralen and UVB (PUVA) also still used.
Severe psoriasis can be treated with medications such as retinoids, methotrexate, and other strong drugs. They all come with some side effects, but some of these medicines can effectively manage psoriasis symptoms over the long-term. There is often a bit of a trade-off, but relief of symptoms is usually paramount.
Severity of psoriasis
- Mild – less than two per cent of the body is affected (your palm is one per cent of your body)
- Moderate – between three and 10 per cent of the body is affected
- Severe – over 10 per cent of the body is affected
Weight loss can help with psoriasis. Other dietary interventions remain inconclusive, for example being gluten-free. Diet plays a role in our overall health and wellbeing, so eating a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean diet) remains important.
Food intolerances are understood to play an exacerbating role in some skin conditions, so using diet changes to experiment with your symptoms is a great idea. Visit a practitioner who specialises in this type of diet management, such as a clinical nutritionist or specialist clinic. Your dermatologist will have some recommendations.
Supplements that have proven useful in psoriasis include fish oils and vitamin D, both of which act as anti-inflammatory agents.
Exercise and physical activity
It has been postulated that an active lifestyle aids psoriasis, but the exact nature of this benefit has not been clarified. Being active is better for most people for general health and wellbeing, so healthy levels of exercise and activity are recommended.
Your psoriasis treatment is as individual as you.
We can make a plan.