Itchy, sore, unhappy-looking patches of skin - we all want to hide them as best we can, not to mention make them less itchy and sore for the sake of our own comfort and sanity. But would you consider putting cat dung on the irritated skin? Be thankful you aren't living in Ancient Egypt!
Coping with psoriasis is, for some of us, as simple as applying a little hydrocortisone ointment when an occasional small flare-up occurs. But for others, psoriasis appears often and prominently, bringing with it severe burning sensations and even arthritic pain. Here are some tips to help you cope with psoriasis, as well as some alternative treatments to try if you're fed up with the usual cast of prescribed treatment methods.
Dead Sea. What does the Dead Sea have to do with psoriasis, you might ask? It has nothing to do with scrolls. That geographic location continues to be associated with healing psoriasis for one reason in particular: salts. You can use Dead Sea salts in your bathtub at home (or Epsom salts as an alternative); many credit Dead Sea salts with healing their psoriasis. However, you might have more luck if you swim in the Dead Sea itself, for a particular reason we are about to explore...
- Regular bathing. Shower or bathe each day to help your body shed the excess skin accumulating at the psoriatic patches. Whether you prefer showers or baths, remember that abrasive soaps will only irritate your skin and make your psoriasis worse. Use more soothing, moisturizing soaps designed for sensitive skin, and make sure the water is luke-warm rather than hot.
Your own phototherapy. If your psoriasis symptoms grow from mild to more severe, one treatment methods endorsed by doctors is phototherapy (the subjection of your psoriasis to focused UV rays). But you can perform your own milder form of UV treatment on a sunny day in your own backyard. Talk to your dermatologist to determine how often and how long to subject your psoriasis to sun exposure - overexposure can lead to skin cancer. Apply strong sun-block on all other exposed parts of your body.
Eliminate or reduce what might be provoking your psoriasis outbreaks. For some, that means figuring out ways to reduce stress in their lives; meditation, yoga and soothing quiet time are just a few ways you can better cope with stress, thereby potentially preventing psoriasis outbreaks.
Many find that some laundry detergents provoke psoriasis. Others find that smoking, alcohol consumption and other factors contribute to their outbreaks of psoriasis. Keep track of your outbreaks in a journal, making note of potential triggers. You might find an emerging pattern that, if broken, could help you reduce psoriasis in your life.
Keep your skin moisturized. Psoriasis often emerges during cold months when air is dryer. Regularly moisturizing your skin can help prevent psoriasis during the winter. If you develop patches of psoriasis, moisturizing after bathing can help reduce the symptoms and heal your inflamed skin. Use moisturizing products that lock in moisture, rather than light lotions.
Nighttime recuperation. Sleep is an opportunity for your skin to recover from the day's stresses and irritation as well. After moisturizing, try wrapping your affected skin in a layer of plastic wrap. This locks in the moisture until you remove the wrapping in the morning to shed the dead skin.
Heed the advice of your dermatologist. You should always ask for clarification if you're unclear about the reason for your doctor's suggestions. Once you have clear understanding of the treatment, follow the advice.
Doctor fish. You might be out of luck if you aren't planning a trip to Turkey anytime soon. These fish live in certain Turkish spas renowned for psoriasis treatment. How does it work? The hungry little fish naturally nibble the dead tissue from skin affected by psoriasis. That, combined with the UV power of sunlight, helps to heal psoriasis. Patients of these aqua-docs find themselves returning frequently for more treatment, but they seem generally satisfied by their wholly non-pharmaceutical solution.
Support. Not only should you educate yourself as much as possible on the nature of psoriasis, but you should seek the valuable support of others who are also facing the disease. Online you'll find numerous forums and groups whose members relate their experiences; all who participate in these groups benefit from the exposure and communication. Your doctor's office can recommend groups and resources to help you cope with psoriasis.
Options for psoriasis patients have never been more abundant or promising. With persistence, sound medical guidance, good skin care and support from the community, you can successfully cope with psoriasis.