by Wendy Owen
Holistic Health Therapist
What Everybody Should Know About How To Treat Psoriasis Safely The one thing you need to understand about psoriasis is that it starts from within the body. It is not caused by an allergy or reaction to any external irritants. This particular disease is not a skin disorder, although it does affect the skin. It is an embarrassing complaint that, in its most severe form, causes pain, discomfort and social isolation for many people. This article looks at the causes and latest treatments of psoriasis to help people better deal with it.
What is Psoriasis?
It is an immune system disorder where skin cells or keratinocytes multiply faster than their normal 28-30 day cycle. These extra skin cells then build up on the surface of the skin forming red inflamed plaques or lesions with silvery scales, which can be found on all parts of the body, but more commonly on the elbows and knees and occasionally on the scalp, arms and legs.
Psoriasis does not discriminate! People of any age, sex or race can become victims. However the severity of the disease can vary greatly in different people. Some people only ever have one outbreak and are never troubled again while others suffer a severe form and are in constant discomfort. The severity of psoriasis is measured by a system called PASI, or psoriasis area and severity index which is based on the skin area affected and the level of inflammation and redness present.
Causes of Psoriasis
An immune system malfunction is believed to be the most common cause. The immune system is mistakenly triggered which causes an increase in the white blood cells which causes inflammation. A flare up can also be caused by prolonged stress. Genetics may also play a part and some doctors believed it can be passed down through the generations. Certain medications can also bring on an attack.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
The answer to this is a definite no. It cannot be passed on to others on contact or in any other way.
How Can I Find a Psoriasis Treatment?
Many treatments have been tried but most have only a temporary effect as they are treating the disease from outside and not from within. The most common medical treatment is topically applied cortisone cream followed by coal tar ointment, anthralin and calamine lotion.
Of all these the calamine lotion is probably the safest but it only stop the itching for a little while. Coal tar ointment can be effective but is messy and can cause skin irritation. Cortisone cream can cause thinning of the skin when used for long periods so should only be used sparingly.
Some people find that moisturizing the skin can bring relief. If this is to work properly a natural moisturizer should be used, not one based on mineral oil which can actually worsen the skin's condition.
Exposure to sunlight or ultra violet A rays (UVA) is one of the latest treatments of psoriasis, but the side effects can be skin cancer and premature wrinkling of the skin.
This option should be used very carefully.
Then there are the internal treatments such as methotrexate and cyclosporine. I often say if you can't pronounce it you shouldn't swallow it, well here are 2 good examples of this! Methotrexate can lead to hair loss, decreased resistance to infection, headaches and miscarriage among other things. Side effects associated with cyclosporine include insomnia, acne, stomach pains and nausea.
Is There Anything That's Safe to Use to Treat Psoriasis?
Since the disease is triggered by the immune system the logical answer is to treat the immune system. There are homeopathic treatments which can build skin health from the inside and these help enormously. Simple remedies like drinking enough water and ensuring your diet is healthy can also help.
Because psoriasis comes from within, it will always respond better to an internal treatment. Treat the body from within and use a natural anti itching cream or lotion on the skin itself. We can't yet cure psoriasis but we can manage it well enough so it doesn't have such a debilitating effect on our lives.
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Wendy Owen (Dip Holistic Health) is a holistic health therapist and natural health researcher with an extensive knowledge of natural and herbal remedies and safe skin treatments.