Coping With Psoriasis
Are You Looking For Irritated And Itchy Skin Relief?
Did you know that there are many different kinds of home remedies for psoriasis that can help ease and soothe any irritated, itchy, cracked or flaky skin? When it comes to your skin, it is especially important to use the right moisturizers to help relieve any psoriasis discomfort.
Many who have psoriasis may be unaware that the word “psoriasis” comes from the Greek word “psora” meaning itch, and that itchy skin is one of the most common and characteristic skin symptoms associated with psoriasis.
Although I don’t have psoriasis myself, those who do have psoriasis have often told me that the itch can become quite bad, causing the person to scratch their skin until it bleeds. Once the skin has been scratched severely; it then becomes increasingly irritated causing even more itching and increase the chances of a skin infection.
It is possible to help control itchy skin, and skim moisturizers are one of the best ways to maintain skin hydration and help reduce the likelihood of developing itchy skin. I’ve learned from my psoriasis patients that a thinner water-based skin lotion tends to be less effective for psoriasis than a thicker moisturizer. Thicker moisturizers including ointments and creams, tend to stay longer on your skin, offering more protection and have less chance of drying out. Thinner lotions that are water-based and often sold to psoriasis patients tend to have less skin penetrating power and are more likely to evaporate faster and can even have a drying effect on the skin.
Try to avoid any moisturizers or any skin-care products offered to you as a psoriasis patient that are highly fragrant, unless the fragrance comes from an essential oil known to benefit your psoriasis. Artificial fragrances can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially in those with sensitive skin.
Here are now some different home remedies for irritated and itchy psoriasis skin, some suggestions are natural and others will be found to be pharmaceutical. I will give you my opinion on them both.
There are many different kinds of natural and pharmaceutical solutions here. You can use different kinds of natural oils like emu oil, pomegranate oil or jojoba oil for example. You can also use moisturizing creams or ointments from the chemist or dermatologist, although my concerns about these preparations is the long-term use of applying chemicals to your body that may end up causing you more harm than actual good. Some psoriasis patients have told me that they have experienced significant improvements from particularly stubborn psoriatic lesions by applying moisturizing creams or ointments and have then covered the area with plastic wrap. This technique will keep the area airtight and medicated for several hours, prohibiting the evaporation of the product. A concern I have here is that chemicals such as bisphenol and various plasticisers can potentially become easily liberated in the cream or ointment and are then absorbed readily into the skin. When you use a deeply penetrating natural oil like emu oil or jojoba oil you will find it just as if not more effective as applying a pharmaceutical skin product and using the plastic wrap method, yet without the fear of contaminating your body with unwanted chemicals. A good tip is to put on some cotton socks or gloves if you have any psoriasis affecting your feet or hands after you have applied any moisturizers, especially as you go to bed.
Psoriasis Treatment Bath
I don’t encourage having a shower every single day when you have moderate to severe psoriasis unless necessary, because it can dry your skin out quite substantially unless you are good at applying plenty of moisturizer. You will find that by applying moisturizers when you are still wet (rather than after you have completely dried yourself) after your shower or bath can be considerably more effective. Be sure to gently dab or pat your skin to dry after moisturizing your wet skin, try not to vigorously rub or wipe your skin with a towel.
Have a bath every third or fourth day to with you have added Dead sea salts or Epsom salts can be very therapeutic. You could also try adding a small muslin bag which you have filled with oatmeal, leave it steep in a hot bath for about ten minutes before you enjoy a soak.
Psoriasis Cold Compress
A very quick way to get relief from your itchy skin is to gently numb the skin’s nerve ending by applying either a cold compress or a frozen flexible gel pack. For skin areas that itch severely, try rubbing an ice cube over the area for a few minutes, this is a great way to calm any areas that burn or itch significantly.
Antihistamine drugs are commonly available over the counter (OTC) and they can help to relieve your itching. There are different kinds of antihistamine medications available, and a regular antihistamine may actually be of benefit at night because it may make your feel more drowsy, allowing you to fall asleep more easily in spite of your itchy skin. Make sure however that you ask for a non-drowsy antihistamine to take during the day.
I have discovered that some antihistamine medications can deplete vitamin B12 levels, so if you are a regular user of these medications, be sure to ask your doctor if you can get your vitamin B12 blood level checked. Personally, I’m no fan of antihistamine drugs and prefer to recommend vitamin C for my psoriasis patients, because vitamin C when taken in sufficient amounts on a regular basis work like antihistamine drugs.
I used to see a lot more psoriasis patients using this form of messy and smelly treatment in the past, but tend to see it used a lot less frequently these days. Most patients today just don’t like smelling like a tar pit, or hassle of applying a product that has to the potential to significantly stain bed linen or clothing. There is no doubt that coal tar works, and it works really well in the higher concentrations especially. Just like investing in the stock market, the higher the returns the greater the risk. Like any petrochemical derivative, the stronger the concentration the higher the risk of cancer. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) say that OTC products with coal tar concentrations between 0.5 and 5 percent are “safe and effective” for people to use for psoriasis. I’m not convinced that using a product based on petroleum can be “safe” when used long-term by humans, and prefer a more natural approach.
Some different anti-itch creams that are available may often include ingredients such as camphor, menthol, calamine, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, benzocaine, and various low-dose hydrocortisone preparations (weak topical steroid).
Good advice is to first try a small patch of skin to be sure that any cream, lotion or ointment you have not used before, especially containing the above mentioned ingredients, is OK to use on your skin. All too often I’ve heard psoriasis patients tell me that the product they were recommended caused a lot of allergic-type reactions after they applied it to a substantial area of their body. Sometimes you may find that a new anti-itch cream may cause excessive dryness, redness or other forms of irritation. Make sure if you do use a pharmaceutical skin preparation that you carefully follow the instructions on the container (or ask your pharmacist or doctor) and never use any product in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Remember, stronger preparations need to be used very sparingly and for shorter periods of time. Be careful using a powerful anti-itch cream for longer than recommended.