You have a lot of options for treating your psoriasis. Along with medications, there are simple ways to fight flares and ease your symptoms.
There's more research on psoriasis drugs, which are closely regulated by the FDA, than alternative therapies. But if you find a solution that works for you, it could be a great way to make your skin feel better.
Scientists aren't sure how it helps, but many people say their psoriasis symptoms improve when they get a little sun on a regular basis.
But don't overdo it. Sunburn can make patches worse. Talk to your doctor about how much time you should spend in the sun. When you head outdoors, protect the skin that doesn't have psoriasis on it with sunscreen. Pick a product that's SPF 30 or higher and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Alternative Skin Treatments
There are many treatments you can put on your skin to relieve itching, burning, and redness:
Aloe vera. It soothes skin and may improve psoriasis, although scientists haven't studied it enough to know for sure. Look for creams or gels that have 0.5% aloe. Steer clear of aloe in tablet form, though. It can be dangerous.
Tea tree oil. It's sometimes added to shampoos and may help scalp psoriasis.
Oat extracts. These may ease itching and reduce redness. They're included in many skin-care products, but soaking in an oatmeal bath may also help.
Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts. They can remove scales and relieve itching. You can add them to a warm bath and soak for about 15 minutes. Use moisturizer afterward.
Diet and Supplements
Some people feel that certain foods trigger their psoriasis. Others tout the benefits of a particular diet, like a gluten-free one.
It's hard to prove -- or disprove -- these claims. Scientists don't have much hard evidence on how eating habits affect psoriasis. But most experts say it's a good idea to be skeptical.
If you want to change your eating habits, make small changes and see how they affect you. The best approach is to eat a wide range of healthy foods, including lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Some people have found that supplements, including fish oil, shark cartilage, evening primrose oil, milk thistle, vitamin D, and oregano oil, have improved their psoriasis. There's not much evidence showing these work, though. And remember, the FDA doesn't regulate supplements as closely as medications. If you decide to give them a try, make sure your doctor knows you're taking them.