Psoriasis is estimated to affect up to 2.2% of people living in the UK, affecting people of all ages. The autoimmune condition is generally triggered by environmental factors and, because there is no known cure, is a continued source of pain and discomfort for many people.
If you have Psoriasis, your skin cells are replaced every three to five days, instead of the normal rate of thirty days. This rapid growth leads red, itchy patches that may be localised in one area or occur all over the body. Psoriasis can be triggered by sickness, infections, even psychological stress, and, because there is no cure, the focus has turned to controlling the symptoms. Importantly, if the condition is not managed, you risk developing co-conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disease, lymphomas and depression.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a sensitive, unsightly skin disease that causes red, itchy and scaly patches on the skin. It usually appears on the elbows, knees, scalp and trunk, though it can appear in other places too.
The disease, unfortunately, is quite common, but it has no cure and is a long term condition. Most people describe Psoriasis coming and going in cycles. It might flare up for a few days or weeks, before going away for a while with no symptoms before suddenly flaring up once again. People experience it differently. Some really suffer as it never seems to go away. Others get it less often in a less pronounced part of the body. It can be quite unsightly, which can lead to poor self-confidence and depression.
However, there are some methods that can help to manage the condition. They don’t always work for everyone, and there may be some trial and error involved before you can find what’s right for you. Everyone is different, after all.
What is commonly used to treat Psoriasis?
There are a number of different approaches to treating Psoriasis; the most common are prescription creams, lifestyle changes and topical CBD products.
Creams are probably the most popular way to treat the disease. You can, in some cases, buy these yourself, or if you’ve visited a doctor or medical professional, they may be able to recommend them to you. Steroid ointments or creams are often used to treat Psoriasis, especially if they are mild to moderate cases. The treatment will, in most cases and if it responds well with the patient, reduce inflammation. It will slow down the production of skin cells and also reduce itching. Scratching the affected area usually makes it worse, so measures that relieve the itchiness are important.
The creams are usually a topical treatment containing vitamin D or topical corticosteroids.
If creams are not effective, or the condition spreads, a treatment called phototherapy might be used. Phototherapy is the exposure of your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light. If this is not effective, systemic medicine may be applied depending on the severity of your condition and your doctor’s preferences.
Sun and Sea
Other lines of treatment include sunbathing. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are the perfect natural substitute for more abrasive treatment such as phototherapy that uses artificial light for the management of many skin diseases, including Psoriasis. While you can’t spend all day in the sun, limited exposure can help reduce the spread of Psoriasis. You can curtail the risks by wearing sunglasses, and applying suncream, The sun will also help your body produce more vitamin D, which is effective against the disease. The salt of the sea can also soothe the disease while cleaning the area. The rough salt can smooth down the appearance of your Psoriasis. However, it can leave your skin dry afterwards, so make sure you wash the area as soon as you’re out of the sea and apply a topical cream.
If you have bad Psoriasis, you might need to make changes to your diet. Keeping the triggers low is a key to keeping it from starting and spreading, and there are various foods which can act as a trigger including:
- Alcohol. Alcohol consumption can be a trigger, so you’d do best to avoid it. Heavy drinkers don’t respond to treatment as well as non-drinkers, so if you’re suffering badly, cut it out or limit it.
- Processed foods. Processed foods are linked to inflammatory conditions including Psoriasis.
- Other items such as red meats can also make it flare up quite badly, especially if you consume a lot throughout the week. The same is true of dairy and refined sugars.
Foods that can help manage your condition are:
- Fruits and vegetables, they help due to their anti-inflammatory properties
- Fish, for their omega-three acids which can help reduce the spread of the disease.
- Antioxidant-rich herbs and spices, such as ginger, thyme, sage and cumin.
When looking at diet as a whole, people who are overweight suffer worse with the disease. It’s why you need to lose weight if possible. This may be because fat cells lead to the production of proteins that can trigger inflammation and make the condition worse. The less fat cells, the less chance of worse inflammation. A quick Google should be enough to get you started, but if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed, speak to a doctor or a dietician.
While Psoriasis has no known cure, there are a number of options that can help to relieve the condition. From prescription creams to diet and lifestyle changes, there are different things you can try to bring the disease under control. One of the most promising options is CBD topicals. Not only does the cream offer relief from the itchiness, but the CBD works on healing the condition by boosting your immune response, reducing inflammation and restoring your body’s endocannabinoid balance.