Psoriasis is a chronic condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the skin. Skin cells turn over far more quickly than usual and create red patches on the skin with slivery scales. While there are a number of treatments that can be effective for alleviating the symptoms, any remedy for psoriasis usually has to be continued to maintain the response. One reader reports an unusual situation in which a one-time exposure got rid of her psoriasis symptoms.
Suffering with Psoriasis:
Q. I developed psoriasis when I was 16, mostly on my legs. It was painful and unsightly so I wore pants to cover the plaques.
Throughout my 13 years of marriage and 10 years of single motherhood after that, the psoriasis persisted. The stress of working two jobs and caring for my children made it worse.
Vacation in Hawaii as a Remedy for Psoriasis:
After I remarried, my husband took me on a vacation to Hawaii. We both loved to swim and snorkel so we spent as much time as we could in the sun and warm salt water.
When I got home I realized the psoriasis had disappeared. Forty years later it has never returned.
A. Dermatologists have long known that exposure to sunlight can produce impressive results for psoriasis lesions. Summer sunshine can be very helpful. Doctors replicate phototherapy benefits with ultraviolet light in the clinic (Dermatologic Clinics, Jan. 2015).
Curcumin Improves the Response to Light:
A study published in the European Journal of Dermatology (May-June, 2015) found that people taking the active ingredient in the spice turmeric (curcumin) got even more benefit from phototherapy. Curcumin alone can often be helpful and ease the symptoms.
We’ve never heard of such a long-lasting response to sun and salt water, although there is strong evidence that exposure to both at the Dead Sea in Israel can be beneficial (American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, June, 2015). That must be the best vacation you ever took.