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Psoriasis is a recurring autoimmune disorder characterized by red, flaky patches on the skin. Even though it affects your skin, psoriasis actually begins deep inside, in your immune system. It comes from your T cells, a type of white blood cell. T cells are designed to protect the body from infection and disease. When these cells mistakenly become active and set off other immune responses, it can lead to psoriasis symptoms.
Even though there is no cure, many treatments exist to ease the symptoms of psoriasis. Here are 10 ways to manage mild symptoms from the comfort of your home.
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1. Dietary supplements
Dietary supplements may help ease psoriasis symptoms from the inside. Fish oil, vitamin D, milk thistle, aloe vera, Oregon grape, and evening primrose oil have been reported to help ease mild symptoms of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. It's important to only take supplements that don't interfere with other pre-existing conditions you may have.
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2. Prevent dry skin
Use a humidifier to keep the air in your home or office moist. It can prevent dry skin before it starts. Sensitive skin moisturizers are also great at keeping your skin supple and from forming plaques.
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3. Avoid fragrances
Most soaps and perfumes have dyes and other chemicals in them that may irritate your skin. Sure, they can make you smell great but they also can inflame psoriasis. Avoid such products when you can, or choose those with “sensitive skin” labels.
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4. Eat healthfully
Diet may play a role in managing psoriasis. Eliminating red meat and fatty snacks may help reduce flare-ups that can be triggered by such foods. Cold water fish, seeds, nuts, and omega-3 fatty acids are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. This can be helpful for managing psoriasis symptoms. Olive oil may also have soothing benefits when applied topically to the skin. Try massaging a few tablespoons on your scalp to help loosen troublesome plaques during your next shower.
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5. Warm baths for itch relief
Hot water may be an irritant for your skin. However, a lukewarm bath with Epsom salt, mineral oil, milk, or olive oil can soothe the itching and infiltrate scales and plaques. Moisturize immediately after your bath for double benefits.
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6. Light therapy
During light therapy, a doctor will shine ultraviolet light on the skin. This type of therapy often requires consistent and frequent sessions. It should be noted that tanning beds are not a means of achieving light therapy. Too much sunlight can actually worsen psoriasis. This procedure should always be done under the supervision of your doctor.
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7. Reduce stress
Any chronic condition like psoriasis can be a source of stress. This can often turn into a vicious cycle when stress itself can worsen psoriasis symptoms. In addition to reducing stress whenever possible, consider incorporating stress-reducing practices such as yoga and meditation.
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8. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is a trigger for many people who have psoriasis. A study from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found an increased risk of psoriasis among women who drank nonlight beer. Those who drank at least five nonlight beers per week were nearly twice as likely to develop psoriasis, when compared to women who didn't drink.
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9. Try turmeric
Herbs are commonly used to treat many conditions. Turmeric has been found to help minimize psoriasis flare-ups. It can be taken in pill or supplement form or sprinkled on your food. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits for you. The FDA-approved dosage of turmeric is 1.5 to 3.0 grams per day.
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10. Stop smoking
Avoid tobacco. Smoking may increase your risk of psoriasis. If you already have psoriasis, it can also make your symptoms more severe.
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There isn't a single answer for keeping the symptoms of psoriasis at bay. What works for one person may not work for another. Some treatment options may have negative side effects for pre-existing conditions other than psoriasis. It is important to remember that while these home remedies for psoriasis my help with mild cases, prescription therapy is required for refractory or more severe cases. Talk to your doctor before seeking treatment on your own.
Written by Brian Krans and Cathie Ericson
Medically Reviewed by Graham Rogers, MD on May 16, 2016Read more in Psoriasis Resources
Diet and nutrition. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/alternative/diet-supplements
Herbal remedies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/herbal-remedies
How cigarettes and alcohol affect psoriasis. (2015, May 6). Retrieved from https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/how-cigarettes-and-alcohol-affect-psoriasis
Mayo clinic staff. (2014, April 11). Psoriasis. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/basics/causes/con-20030838
Psoriasis causes and known triggers. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/causes