Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition in which the skin cells end up turning over far more rapidly than normal. As a result, red itchy patches with silvery scales (clumps of cells that moved too quickly through the developmental process) form on elbows, knees, shoulders, buttocks and scalp. The plaques are unsightly and can be embarrassing as well as uncomfortable. Is there a way to ease psoriasis without heavy-duty medications?
What Can You Do About Psoriasis?
Q. Has anyone come up with a natural method for treating psoriasis? I started with a little patch on my leg and it has spread to many parts of my body.
The scales itch and are ugly. They really bother me.
I was prescribed betamethasone ointment that doesn’t help that much. I hope there is some natural cure.
A. Psoriasis is a chronic condition in which the immune system attacks the skin and leads to rapid skin-cell turnover. This is what creates the red patches and silvery scales of psoriasis, and it also explains why “cures” are elusive. Most treatments must be maintained to be helpful.
Dermatologists often prescribe topical cortisone-like drugs to dampen the immune response and ease inflammation. That’s what betamethasone is.
Natural Approaches to Ease Psoriasis:
Many readers have found natural approaches that help their condition. Some report that sunlight and salt water are beneficial. Light therapy is often used to treat psoriasis in the clinic (Dermatologic Clinics, Jan., 2015). As a result, the benefit of sunlight is not surprising. A sunburn makes things worse, so moderation is critical.
Inexpensive topical glycerin has helped some patients, perhaps because it has moisturizing properties (Acta Derma-Veneraologica, online June 28, 2016). Research shows that glycerol improves skin cell maturation, so that may also help explain its benefit (Zheng, and Bollinger Bollag, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Dec., 2003).
Other readers have found that ingesting the active ingredient curcumin from the yellow spice turmeric can ease the redness and itching from psoriasis. We have also received reports that eating the herb cilantro can help ease psoriasis. Vitamin D has helped a number of readers. Other natural methods that have helped some individuals include sponging the plaques with Listerine, munching hot peppers or salsa and sipping oolong tea or an herbal tea containing licorice.