Nearly 8 million Americans have psoriasis — and yet, no one knows what causes it. To make matters worse, there is no cure. However, there is an upside to all of this. While not curable, it is manageable. And some recent breakthroughs are very promising. Here’s what you need to know.
First things first. Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes irritation, ranging from red spots and patches to itchy white scales. Depending on its severity, psoriasis can either occupy a small area or it can cover someone’s entire body. It is highly visible, and highly uncomfortable to live with.
No one actually knows what causes psoriasis, but it’s most likely linked to an autoimmune disease. This ultimately can make it harder to treat. However, there are several ways to manage it.
If you suffer from psoriasis, this may feel impossible. A psoriasis flare-up can be very uncomfortable. However, responding to the irritation disrupts the skin on the body and makes it harder to heal.
Lotions and topical creams can occasionally help calm the itchy sensations. They typically work best for people who have fewer areas of psoriasis on their body. These should be applied right after bathing or showering, when skin is ready to soak up the moisture. Something with salicylic, glycolic or lactic acid can usually help prevent future outbreaks. Talk to your doctor about the right brand to find one that won’t irritate your skin.
Speaking of moisture, using a humidifier can help with psoriasis. When the air around you is dry, your skin is dry — so keeping some moisture and humidity in the air can help your skin with outbreak-triggering dryness.
Yes, really. Sunlight is actually a proven treatment for psoriasis. Try to soak up some natural sunlight around two to three times a week. The ultraviolet light can help heal lesions and slow the growth of bad skin cells. Just make sure you wear sunscreen before stepping out into the sun, and talk to your doctor about whether this is the right approach for you and your psoriasis.
Smoking and drinking can actually make psoriasis worse — in fact, 1 in every 5 cases of psoriasis has been linked to smoking cigarettes. The poisonous chemicals in nicotine and alcohol can trigger psoriasis flare-ups, too.
The bad news: There’s still a lot to be learned about psoriasis. The good news: There’s still a lot to be learned about psoriasis. Because there’s still so much we don’t know about the condition, there’s a lot of room for experimental treatments that may, one day, be regarded as a cure. Right now, there are several cutting-edge biologic medications that are being used to treat psoriasis with some success. These medications can help reduce inflammation and irritation alike. They go by many names, and are definitely worth exploring. If you have psoriasis, don’t feel discouraged by your options — feel inspired by them. Do your research on these new biologic medications and talk to your doctor about how they could help with your psoriasis.
Health.com. (2014, July 3.) 21 Tips and Tricks for Treating Psoriasis. https://health.com/health/gallery/0,,20764718,00.html
Ericson, Cathie and Krans, Brian. (2019, February 14.) 10 Ways to Treat Psoriasis at Home. https://healthline.com/health/psoriasis/treat-symptoms-home