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Psoriasis - Skin condition explained and several effective treatments examined.

Updated on September 28, 2016
Example of Psoriasis skin condition.
Example of Psoriasis skin condition.
Cross section of skin condition Psoriasis
Cross section of skin condition Psoriasis
Psoriasis diet
Psoriasis diet
Psoriasis natural treatment
Psoriasis natural treatment

Psoriasis is a serious skin condition, with several forms but with almost always a family history and is known to be linked to an abnormal immune system. What happens is that the epidermis (outer skin layer) goes wild and the skin cells replace themselves in a few days instead of the normal 48 days. The result is a build-up of dead skin cells and thick scales forming together with some itching. It mostly attacks the knees, elbows, buttocks and scalp although half of sufferers find their fingernails affected also.

Cell division is controlled by a balance between two compounds in the body – cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) and cyclic guanidine monophosphate (GMP). High levels of GMP and the cells divide too quickly whereas high levels of AMP reduce the rate. Studies have shown that if there is a reduction in both AMP and GMP the cells still divide too quickly and therefore it is important to restore the balance of the two.

Certain factors have been suspected of being the cause of psoriasis (stress; fast food; bacteria; viruses; liver, kidney and digestive disorders; prescription drugs and nutritional problems) but none have been identified as the actual cause.

What is not widely known is that sufferers of psoriasis will have an overly acidic body chemistry often caused by eating too many acidic foods. It is essential to attain a neutral chemistry otherwise the immune system is affected and you will have difficulty in absorbing nutrients. Foods that will achieve this alkaline pH are: carrots, garlic, spinach, brussel sprouts, celery, watercress, cooked apples, pineapple, prunes and grapes. This acidity is linked with an inability to metabolise fatty acids and in order to rectify this you should take a digestive enzyme capsule (I would suggest Solgar from Amazon) with each meal and a further two between meals. Avoid citrus fruit, fried foods, gluten, dairy products and sugar. Increase the amount of vegetables and take a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil each day. To provide the fatty acid that you need try to include cold water oily fish and/or linseed/flax oil supplements.

Liquids are very important and you should try to drink two litres each day comprising quality water, together with carrot and celery juice. Carrot juice is high in vitamin A and celery contains psoralens which research has shown helps psoriasis. This compound is also found in limes and lemons (the only citrus fruits permitted) lettuce, parsley and parsnips. Alcohol will only make things worse as the liver needs to be detoxified.

Undertaking a detoxification programme will help to decongest and cleanse the colon. There is an acknowledged 3 week detox which will help enormously with psoriasis. I should warn this is a serious regime and you should not attempt it if you have any doubts.

Firstly remove all wheat, dairy and sugar from temptation. Replace this with rice noodles, vegetable soups (or make your own), cereals, oatbran and rye breads. Drink two litres of fluid each day but not tea, coffee or sugary (incl.diet) drinks. Herbal teas such as camomile, fennel and peppermint will all help digestion.

Breakfast – Fruit, oatmeal or a cereal that does not contain wheat or sugar.

Lunch – Soup and/or salad with rice or oat cake, or a stir fry of vegetables and grain.

Dinner/Supper – Have the opposite of what you had for lunch.

Snacks – Vegetable and fruit juice with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds and unsalted cashew nuts. Soya yoghurts boost the detox and banana and raisin bread made with soya flour.

Before breakfast and lunch make a cleansing drink from 1 cup quality water, juice of half organic, unwaxed lemon, pinch cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of quality honey (if you can afford it use Manuka) or organic maple syrup or molasses. Heat and drink warm. For the lunch drink use the same recipe but add one or two teaspoons of finely grated ginger to stimulate the gastric juices and aid digestion.

During the second week add 1000mg Vitamin C and a good quality multivitamin.

A serious detox programme such as this will have side effects ranging from migraine like headaches to almost flu symptoms. You will experience mood swings, diarrhoea, bad breath, trouble sleeping and problems regulating your temperature. These are all good signs that the body is ridding itself of damaging toxins.

If a detox programme is out of the question for various reasons I would suggest cleansing the colon with an herbal cleanser such as Nature’s Secret Super Cleanse (from www.victoriahealth.com) followed by a quality probiotic. At the same time take Milk Thistle (150mg daily) to support the liver.

It is important that if you are diabetic, suffer from digestive disorders or ulcers that you talk with your doctor before embarking on a serious detox diet.

Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) is important for cell replication. The best form is from sunlight and most psoriasis sufferers have found that exposure to the sun helps. The sun activates the pineal gland which regulates the hormones. Vitamin B complex will help with stress related outbreaks. A topical form of Vitamin D3, calcipotriene has proved to be both safe and effective. Calcipotriene appears to block skin cell reproduction, enhance the maturity of keratinocytes (the impaired skin cells in psoriasis) and act as an anti-inflammatory. It works similarly to moderate topical corticosteroids, short-term anthralin, and coal tar in improving mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis. But unlike with steroids, patients do not develop thinning of the skin. Using the drug in combination with other topical treatments may improve its effectiveness. Calcipotriene is not as effective as the strongest corticosteroids, but combining both medications is proving to be more effective than taking one in isolation. There is an ointment containing both calcipotriol and betamethasone which studies show works better than either drug alone. The combination of vitamin D ointments with systemic medicines, notably methotrexate, acitretin, or cyclosporine, increases its effectiveness. Because combining medications allows patients to use lower doses of both medications, it reduces side effects. Studies also report success in some patients who use vitamin D ointments in combination with phototherapy treatment.

Selenium is a mineral known to improve psoriasis and is found in onions, garlic, seafood, chicken, broccoli and tomatoes. It is a mineral missing from most peoples diet and a supplement of 100-200mcg per day is recommended.

Kombucha Tea – It is a living yeast culture that is fermented with sweetened tea to detoxify the system, strengthen the whole system and help many immune related conditions including psoriasis.

Essential Oils – The use of these oils is primarily to de-stress the sufferer as stress has been shown to aggravate the condition. All sedative and antidepressant oils have been shown to help and Bergamot is the most useful. This can be applied to the damaged areas using Rose-hip, Argan or Neem oil as a carrier. All three of these carrier oils are known to have healing properties in their own right. Juniper stimulates the circulation and purifies the blood which makes it useful for psoriasis. Cajeput essential oil is used primarily in laryngitis, an anthelmintic in round worms, for rheumatism and an antiseptic in cystitis. However it is also used in a calendula carrier oil to reduce irritation.

Bach Flower remedy – Crab apple is strongly indicated to help.

Various herbal remedies:

Coleus Forskohlii - This herb has been used to treat psoriasis for many decades. Its dosage is 50 to 100 mg of the herb two or three times a day.

Yellowdock - The University of Maryland Medical Center, suggests that yellowdock can be taken as a mixture with two other herbs--red clover and burdock--to treat psoriasis. Mix equal parts of all three herbs together and steep the mixture in 1 cup of tea. Drink the tea three times daily. It is also available as a tincture and the dosage should be 30 to 60 drops three times a day.

Evening Primrose Oil – This can be taken orally to treat psoriasis, or it can also be applied topically to psoriasis lesions to treat the symptoms. The dosage level is 500 mg to 2.5 g daily.

Calendula Oil – will help with any itching, irritation and inflammation.

Borage seed oil – has a high concentration of GLA and is regenerative and stimulating for psoriasis and eczema, also sun damaged and dry old skin.

Andiroba oil – normally used in a 10% ointment. It helps the healing of skin damage as it contains mryristic acid used to form the skins outer layer. In psoriasis treatment it advises the skin cells when to stop regenerating and thus avoids the formation of scaling. At the same time it restores the normal skin cell cycle and therefore stops the uncontrolled growth of the cells while, as an added bonus, stops the growth of the pigmented cells causing age spots.

Aloe vera – apply either the gel from the live plant or prepared material to the affected areas to relieve pain and itching.

Kukui Nut oil – This is high in linoleic and essential fatty acids. It helps with the healing of various skin conditions and is primarily used in a therapeutic soap. The oil is rather expensive.

Tamanu oil – It is a very rich oil used for serious skin problems such as dry, irritated or old skin.

Barberry – is normally used in an ointment to heal skin infections.

Sapindus – a relative of the lycii and goji berry it is primarily used to produce hypoallergenic detergents for those with skin allergies. It is also used in ointments/creams to treat the skin.

Sarsaparilla – Acts as a blood purifier and sooths psoriasis by disabling bacterial endotoxins which are present in the blood.

Comfrey – apply a salve or ointment made with this herb to help heal the skin

Yarrow – massage the fresh juice from the plant onto affected areas. You can also add a few drops of yarrow essential oil to a warm bath to relieve some of the symptoms

Chickweed - apply cream or gel direct to affected area.

Radix Rubiae – is a Chinese herb which seems to have an ability to prevent the growth of skin cells. Laboratory tests discovered the anti-proliferative activity of this herb but as yet it is not supported by clinical trials.

Gotu Kola - can be taken internally or externally to aid skin healing. Do not take if pregnant.

Liquorice - 1 or 2 teaspoons of root powder to 1 cup boiling water, strain after 10 minutes and drink 2 -3 cups a day to treat inflammation of the skin. Alternatively take supplement capsules. It is also used to treat bursitis, tendinitis and gum inflammations.

Chickweed – used in a cooling ointment to treat damaged skin.

Burdock root – helps in the purification of the system and to protect and support the liver.

Oregon grape – is an antioxidant which helps to prevent the formation of certain types of skin cells. A gentle anti-toxin.

Oats (oatmeal) – used as a poultice to sooth and treat various skin conditions. Has proved very effective for decades.

Capsaicin (Zostrix) is an ointment prepared from the active ingredient in hot chili peppers. It is used to relieve arthritic pain and may help psoriatic itching. It acts by inducing histamine release and perfusion changes in psoriasis damaged skin. It should be applied to affected areas three or four times daily using a latex glove. There will often be a burning sensation when the drug is first applied, but this soon fades. Try to find one which includes menthol as it will help itching.

Golden Seal - tablets or capsules as directed can help treat skin infections but be careful of taste/colour.

Not normally widely linked to psoriasis is a process in the body known as angiogenesis which is the production of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels. This normally only happens in wound healing and embryonic development. Psoriasis has been linked with the dilation of the capillaries (the first stage of angiogenesis) and a treatment is needed to be found to prevent it. The Allergy Research Group in America has identified the hedgerow weed Bindweed to have promising angiogenesis properties. Until this has been developed properly, cartilage extracts can do a similar job. The cartilage comes from sharks and is expensive and in addition you may have moral grounds to exclude this.

Meditation – Researchers looking at audiotape meditation during ultraviolet phototherapy, to reduce stress relating to psoriasis, found that it cleared far more quickly that using light treatment alone.

Phototherapy – There is a German made device named Dermalight 80 to 1000 which uses NB-311 narrowband UVB lamps, which is claimed to be the safest and most effective wavelength for home phototherapy available. There are several other devices available. Narrowband light has a success rate of around 75% after 10 or 12 treatment sessions.

Broadband Ultraviolet B (UVB) Radiation and coal tar

Coal Tar has been used on its own for over a hundred years now but more recently it has been found to have a greater effect when used in combination with UVB. This requires daily treatments for up to 4 weeks. The coal tar or anthralin is applied once or twice each day and then washed off before the procedure. Trials indicate that a low-dose (1%) coal tar preparation is effective. Such regimens are unpleasant, but are still useful for some patients with severe psoriasis, giving long-term remission (up to 6 - 12 months).

A final point psoriasis may result in a condition known as Madarosis where you can lose all or some of your eyelashes. When the problem is under control these may grow back.

Psoriasis skin cells do not reach maturity before sloughing off and holistic thinking is that they do not produce enough solitrol (a hormone released through the skin). To remedy this, there is much anecdotal evidence (up to 88% of sufferers found a complete or partial cure) suggesting one should visit the Dead Sea for a dip – perhaps treating it as a healing holiday break and taking advantage of the salts, minerals and screened sunshine.

© 2012 Peter Geekie

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    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Eddie

      Used motor lube oil has been suspected of causing many medical problems – the effects will all vary in severity according to the condition of the engine they were used in and also if the engine ran on petrol (gas) diesel, or avgas. The overwhelming consensus of opinion is that lube oils should not come into prolonged contact with the skin and particularly used oils. Latex gloves should be used at all times. In addition fumes from used oils should not be breathed in (but that’s another matter)

      An important difference between new and used motor oil is the heavy metal content. This difference is extremely important because many of the metals are harmful to human health and living organisms. These metals originate from the fuel and from motor wear. Used oil contains high concentrations of lead, zinc, calcium, barium, vanadium and magnesium along with lower concentrations of iron, sodium, copper, aluminium, chromium, manganese, potassium, nickel, tin, silicon, boron, and molybdenum. Concentrations of lead in used mineral-based crankcase oil were likely higher when leaded gasoline was used. In addition unknown quantities of other substances can be present in race engines that run on methanol, nitrous oxide and octane boosters.

      Mineral-based crankcase oils are manufactured using highly refined base oils and contain up to 20% of a variety of additives such as viscosity index improvers, detergents/dispersants, antiwear additives, pour-point depressants, and antioxidants . During use, the high temperatures and friction cause changes such as oxidation, nitration, and cracking of polymers in the component chemicals. In addition, a variety of substances such as fuel, water, antifreeze, dust, and various combustion products such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, and metallic oxides accumulate in the oil. The degree of chemical change and accumulation of contaminants in the oil increases with use and varies depending on the type of fuel used and the mechanical properties of the engine.

      Used mineral-based crankcase oil is a complex mixture of metals and PAHs. When motor oils undergo thermal decomposition, gasoline combustion products are formed, significantly increasing the levels of PAHs which contribute to the carcinogenic and mutagenic properties of the oils.

      Skin irritation has been reported in epidemiological and experimental studies of humans after exposure to used mineral-based crankcase oil.

      Rashes on the hands or arms were reported by 29% of the mechanics in a study of workers from 10 auto shops. The few studies available indicate that PAHs found in used mineral-based crankcase oil can penetrate the outer layer of skin

      PAHs can affect the toxicity of other chemicals and promote carcinogenesis in the liver, induce immunosuppression (depressed immune system) and adversely affect reproductive functions .The carcinogenicity of used mineral-based crankcase oil has been attributed to accumulations of PAHs, lead, molybdenum, chromium, zinc, cadmium, copper, and silicon in the oil based on the correlation of tumour incidence with the PAH content of the oil and the isolation and testing of PAH-containing fractions of the oil for carcinogenicity.

      Sorry about some of the jargon used but it is impossible to write something like this without it creeping in. If you have any particular questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Kind regards Peter

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Yes the article is very helpful, but I didn't know about used engine oil, being a mechanic with psoriasis, and I had no idea, does it make it worst?

      Thanks Peter

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Thanks for your comments Eddie, I don't know surfer soap but I will look it up to see what makes it tick.

      You already know about sunshine, but I hope you may find the article useful re this nasty problem. (I'm sure you know about used engine oil and skin irritation)

      Kind regards Peter

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Peter,

      I'v had psoriasis for about 10 years now, bot it's never been bad. Beer seems to fire up the psoriasis more than anything, even just one beer, but I find in the summer months It's clears up almost completely, probably because I'm in the sun as much as possible.

      One other remedy I have used in the winter months is Surfer soap from St Lucia, it doesn't work as good as the sun, but it does help relieve the itchiness. Great article, very informative and detailed, voted useful and shared on twitter :)

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear healthylife2,

      I'm so sorry to learn your husband has suffered from reoccurent psoriasis. It can sometimes be very difficult to shift hence the reason to try different methods. It is essential to neutralise the acidic body chemistry and if possible use the UV light treatments which have proved very effective.

      I really do wish you well and kind regards Peter

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks for the informative hub! My husband has had psoriasis for a while and it completely disappeared after giving up all processed foods and sugar and eating primarily vegetarian. He has gone through this cycle numerous times. The doctor wanted to give him medication that would weaken his immune system and could cause numerous other serious health issues such as multiple sclerosis.We just have to find a way to actually enjoy that lifestyle.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Went back and re-read especially love the idea about the holiday at the dead sea.

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Tirelesstraveler

      Thank you for your comments.

      I have noticed that a section of the article did not download correctly. I will edit and rectify this during the day.

      Kind regards Peter

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      When I was a kid my neighbor had psoriasis. I felt so badly for her. My husband looked like he had it for a bit a few years ago; he didn't actually,but it was a scare. Most of your information is good for just about any kind of skin difficulty

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Lipnancy

      Thank you for your comments - conditions such as this sometimes have seemingly simple causes but difficult solutions.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Love your suggestions. I have known many people with this condition and did not realize that it was linked to I acidity.

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Joyce

      I'm so sorry to hear that you have suffered from this nasty condition. There are many remedies, some good some bad and I hope you recover soon and maybe something in the article was of help.

      Kind regards Peter

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I've had is awful Psoriasis in the crack of my arms and my Dr. at that time said it's caused by stress, and we were trying to sell our business that took forever.

      Voted up, useful and very interesting, Joyce.