All of us have skin cells that grow and rise to the surface on a regular basis. People with psoriasis however suffer from the accumulation of these skin cells that grow too quickly and don't clear quickly enough. Sufferers live with skin redness, scaliness and irritation, that can range from an inconvenience to a debilitating disorder that disrupts aspects of their lives.
Many people use medications to handle their symptoms. An increasing number of people are turning to complementary and alternative medicine in their search for relief.
Psoriasis.org describes complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as medical and health care systems and practices that are not considered a part of Western, or conventional medicine in the United States. Complementary medicine is used alongside Western medicine. Alternative medicine is used instead of Western medicine.
There are a number of CAM options for psoriasis. Among them are mind-body practices, dietary supplements and topical treatments (applied to the skin), according to About.com.
Yoga, tai chi, qi gong and meditation are mind-body practices that may be beneficial for many chronic conditions. While clinical studies have not assessed these activities, there is an abundance of anectodal support for them.
Dietary supplements and topical treatments include omega-3 fatty acids, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, capsaicin, evening primrose oil, oats and tea tree oil.
Flaxseed oil and fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce itching and inflammation. Caution is advised concerning the use of flaxseed oil for those on blood thinners as there is a risk of bleeding.
The C.A.M. Report recommends the use of coal tar for psoriasis. While coal tar is not aesthetically pleasing, due to its greasy, malodorous nature, and while it can leaves stains on clothing and the surrounding environs, it is an effective treatment for some symptoms of psoriasis. In a study, coal tar performed on a par with tazarotene gel for patients with stable plaque psoriasis.
Aloe vera is applied to the skin. Apple cider vinegar may be added to bathwater, or used as a moisturizer, or simply applied to the skin.