What Is Psoriasis

While Psoriasis takes form on the skin and is considered a skin condition, it actually starts underneath the skin and is a chronic disease of the immune system.  Ranging from mild to severe, Psoriasis primarily occurs in people between the ages of 15-35.  Psoriasis causes your skin cells to grow faster than normal, resulting in the accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin; they look like dry, red patches.  

Signs Of Psoriasis

Typically occuring on the knees, elbows, or scalp, Psoriasis can also affect the palms, soles of the feet, or the torso.  The most common sign of Psoriasis is patches of raised red, dry skin that are at the sites of friction, scratching, or abrasion (primarily the elbows, knees, and scalp).  The symptoms of Psoriasis are below. 

  • Raised, Red Plaques
  • Small Red Individual Spots (more common in young adults)
  • Itching or Burning Sensation on Skin
  • Dry Skin (that may crack or bleed)
  • Silvery, Scaly Plaques (most commonly found on the scalp)
  • Pitted Nails (or separation from the nail bed)
What Causes Psoriasis

The exact cause of Psoriasis is unknown, but it is believed that genetics and one's immune system play a role in its development.  It is a common thought that defects in immune regulation play a major role in causing Psoriasis.  The formation of plaques is the result of skin cells multiplying 10 times faster than normal.  When underlying cells reach the skin's surface and die, the volume of cells causes the raised, itchy plaques.  Things that are thought to cause Psoriasis are listed below. 

  • Genetics (especially if there is a family history of the condition)
  • Viral or Bacterial Infection
  • Obesity
  • Unmanaged Stress
  • Smoking
  • Certain Medications (including lithium, indomethacin, or high blood pressure & bipolar medications)
  • Infection (such as Strep Throat or thrush)

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • A dietary intervention may help symptoms of Psoriasis.  Eliminating meat, dairy products, processed foods, fried foods, salty foods, and artificial sugars can be a great first step towards a healthier you.  It's best to have a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.  You can help yourself even more if you eat fruits and vegetables that have anti-inflammatory properties.  Rosemary, oregano, green leafy vegetables, bok choy, beets, broccoli, celery, blueberries, and pineapples are great anti-inflammatory foods.
  • It can be beneficial to re-establish your mind/body connection via breathing exercises, yoga, Tai Chi, or a journal in which you record experiences, feelings, and skin symptoms.  Sometimes hypnotherapy is worth exploring because the skin can positively respond to a hypnotic suggestion.
  • Because stress can trigger a Psoriasis outbreak, it can be beneficial to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Getting frequent massages can help reduce stress and decrease tension or chronic pain.  When you get massages, be sure to avoid any oils that may irritate the skin.
  • If you have a Psoriasis flare-up, you can make a chamomile compress to help reduce the itching and decrease inflammation.  Place 1 teaspoon of chamomile flowers (sold in health stores) in 1 cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes.  Strain out the herb, dip a towel in the solution, and gently apply it to the flare-up.
  • Herbs have been used to treat many conditions.  Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been known to help reduce Psoriasis flare-ups.  You can make turmeric tea or incorporate turmeric powder into your meals.
  • Water is the number one thing you should drink when you have Psoriasis.  Staying hydrated keeps everything flowing smoothly and it keeps skin from getting too dry.  You can stay hydrated by drinking eight 8oz glasses of water every day.  Additionally, a good rule of thumb is if you drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  If you weigh 150lbs, then you should drink 75oz of water per day.
  • Taking epsom salt baths can help relieve itching or other symptoms of Psoriasis.  Epsom salts contain beneficial minerals that can help hydrate your skin.  You can add a 1/4-1/2 cup of epsom salts to a warm bath and you can soak in it for at least 15 minutes.  Additionally, you can try floatation therapy, which is designed to promote total relaxation and promote healthy skin.
Things you should eat
  • Mangos
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Pineapples
  • Blueberries
  • Bok Choy
  • Green Leafy Vegetables (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
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