Roughly eight million people in the United States alone are affected by psoriasis. This autoimmune disease can cause inflammation of joints and lesions that become an itchy, burning rash on parts of the body, including the scalp, elbows and knees. For sufferers, it can be difficult to find a treatment plan that works. Let’s take a look at how to treat psoriasis with several proven options to ease your discomfort.
For mild psoriasis over-the-counter topical medications are applied to reduce swelling and redness caused by psoriasis lesions. These ointments, creams or sprays contain ingredients that moisturize and soothe the affected area. FDA approved salicylic acid and coal tar is known to be very helpful. As well, zinc pyrithione, aloe vera, jojoba and capsaicin are also proven to work well.
Doctor prescribed corticosteroids are also frequently used to control redness and swelling. These are “steroids” that contain vitamin A, synthetic vitamin D3 and anthralin. These slow down cell growth that ultimately forms the irritating lesions.
A doctor may prescribe light therapy that can also reduce the growth of skin cells. The key to this is consistency, so your doctor may require treatment up to three days a week for several months. The safest way is to perform light therapy in a doctor’s office to reduce exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
There are two common regimens a doctor may prescribe. The “Goeckerman regimen” combines a topical treatment of coal tar with phototherapy. The “Ingram regimen” uses an anthralin-salicylic acid paste along with phototherapy.
For extreme cases, Psoralen plus Ultraviolet A (PUVA) can clear up the affected area quickly and have lasting results. Light therapy is combined with an oral pill and a cream. Be aware, this process will make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
New Oral Treatments
Doctors are discovering new and exciting ways of how to treat psoriasis. New oral treatments are shown to restore overactive immune responses that lead to psoriasis inflammation and redness. Otezla is a 30-milligram tablet, taken twice a day to manage symptoms. Otezla reduces the inflammatory response inside the cells which, in turn, reduces inflammation to the body. Otezla can also be safely combined with topical and light therapy treatments.
Many people believe that diet and environment directly affects our health. Having the ability to self-manage aspects of their care and learn how to treat psoriasis gives some people a sense of control over their disease. There is no definitive research that proves a healthy diet improves symptoms. Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, along with herbs and supplements will definitely make the body the best it can be to fight against the pain and inflammation of psoriasis.
However, stress is a proven trigger for psoriasis. Those who perform mind and body techniques to reduce stress and improve their mood have shown good results in controlling their outbreaks. Meditation and aromatherapy help the body to relax and release the negative energy that leads to stress.
Finding a treatment plan for your psoriasis may take some time. Do not give up. There are many effective options out there that will reduce swelling and ease your discomfort.