Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease in which recurring reddish patches, often covered with white scales, appear especially on the knees, elbow, scalp and trunk. Psoriasis is not a contagious condition and can be inherited.
Your skin grows continuously, and skin cells normally take 28 days to rise from deep within the skin to its surface, where they replace dead cells that fall away. But if you have psoriasis, this cycle is condensed into about four days, causing the skin cells to pile up on the surface, forming those reddish patches. When you have psoriasis, on some days you hardly notice the condition, but on others when the condition flares up, it makes you feel miserable. Listed below are some ways to give you relief from the condition.
Soothing the sore skin
- The simplest thing to do when you suffer from psoriasis is to get out into the open and spend at least half an hour every day in the sunlight. You will see the results within six weeks.
- Lie down in a bath tub filled with warm water for about 10 minutes, it can soften the sore patches and give you relief from itching. But since the bath can also make your skin dry afterwards, aggravating the itching, add a few spoons of vegetable oil to the water about five minutes before you come out, to restore the moisture of your skin.
- Vinegar is also known to relieve itching, so you might add some of it to your cool bathwater. It is not yet known how vinegar helps psoriasis, but it is known that the acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria, possibly the reason why it soothes psoriasis.
- Immediately after you come out of your bath, apply some moisturiser to your body, more heavily on the affected areas, to preserve your skin’s natural moisture. Instead of a runny lotion, which dries up too fast, choose a heavy cream or ointment which contains urea, it will help loosen scales on the skin.
- You can also use petroleum jelly on the affected parts to soften skin and get rid of scaly patches.
- Add a spoon of flaxseed oil daily to the foodstuffs you eat, not for flavouring but to ease your psoriasis. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which block the chemicals in your body that cause inflammation.
- Oily fish like salmons, sardines and trout are also a rich source of omega-3, and it is a good idea to have them once a week.
- Aloe vera gel can also do the trick. Break an aloe vera leaf and apply the gel that oozes out to your itchy patches several times a day. This wonder leaf has anti-inflammatory compounds as well as magnesium lactate which can soothe itching.
- Don’t scratch the itchy patches, it will only worsen the condition.
- You need to get yourself a special shampoo, one that contains coal tar, if psoriasis affects your scalp. Use it every day in the beginning and later, as the symptoms subside, twice a week. Keep changing the brand of shampoo so that the affected area on the scalp does not develop a tolerance for one type.
- You might be surprised, but stress is a known factor that contributes to psoriasis. So exercise regularly to reduce the stress, or try some relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing.