Psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system which causes the skin to have red raised scaling patches and plaques. It most commonly occurs on the elbows, knees, trunk and scalp, although it may occur anywhere on the body. We may diagnose psoriasis by its clinical appearance or by performing a biopsy.
Many of our patients are very self-conscious of the appearance of it and seek psoriasis treatment that will reduce the appearance of it. Some treatments are available for treating this condition, ranging from topical creams, shampoos, to oral or injectable medications. We have highlighted some alternative therapies below due to increased inquiry on these remedies.
Typically we choose topical therapy with steroids and medications called keratolytics, which help to reduce inflammation and the thickness of psoriasis plaques, respectively.
- Over the counter shampoos.
- Topical medications that can be used including Salicylic acid (a keratolytic).
- Coal tar (used to slow down the rapid growth of skin cells in psoriasis).
We recommend that patients perform test spots with any new topical medications as some may be irritating to the skin.
Many patients today with chronic conditions, including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, have an interest in complementary and alternative therapies—these focus more on preventative care and pain management.
Surveys for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) show more than a third of Americans (36 percent) use complementary and alternative therapies. These therapies include diet, herbs and supplements, mind/body therapies such as aromatherapy, yoga and meditation, physical therapies, exercise and the ancient arts of acupuncture and tai chi.
Much of the evidence supporting complementary and alternative therapies for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is anecdotal. Increasingly, researchers have studied complementary and alternative therapies particularly in looking at drug interactions, dietary outcomes and safety. Most complementary and alternative therapies are safe. However, some can interfere with your treatments prescribed by your doctor.
Always talk to your doctor or consult with a licensed health care professional before adding any complementary and alternative treatments to your treatment plan for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.