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Everything you need to know about Psoriasis

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What is Psoriasis? 


Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin cells build up and form scales and itchy dry patches on the skin. Many medical practitioners are of the opinion that Psoriasis is an immune system issue otherwise referred to as an autoimmune disorder.Usually people who suffer with Psoriasis experience inflammation and redness around the scales or patches on the skin. In severe cases, these patches or scales crack and bleed. These patches usually develop on the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. In rare cases, it would appear on the nails, mouth and around the genital area. 

Table of Contents:

Causes & Symptoms

Causes and Symptoms of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, causing the skin to regenerate faster than usual. The most common form of Psoriasis is known as plaque psoriasis, the rapid regeneration of cells is what leads to the lesions and patches on the skin. There are some researchers who believe that Psoriasis may be genetic and that environmental factors play a huge role in the development of the disorder. There are also triggers, which include stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, climate, injury to skin and even certain medications. 

What are the causes of psoriasis?

There may be a combination of contributing factors:

  • Genetics plays a part because it is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family.
  • The Immune system is also thought to play a major role.
  • Certain medications can cause an outbreak or flareup of psoriasis and these include: anti-malarial drugs; beta-blockers; corticosteroids, Indomethacin; and Lithium. Never start such medications without informing your doctor if you have a family history of psoriasis.
  • The condition can flare up with new lesions a few days after injury to the skin either by being cut, scratched, rubbed or severely sunburned.
  • Stress is an important trigger for flare ups while some can trace their original outbreak of the condition to a particular stressful incident. And of course, becoming stressed about having the condition of psoriasis itself only compounds the problem.
  • Climate plays a significant role in psoriasis when cold and dry winter weather and the lack of moisture from overheated buildings poses a real challenge. Time spent in a hot and sunny climate (but without the drying effect of air conditioning) can improve the situation.
  • Other triggers include obesity, bacterial and viral infections (including HIV), hormone imbalance, the habit of smoking and indulging in heavy drinking.
  • A third of all sufferers will have a family history of psoriasis. If one parent has the condition, the odds for a child to develop the condition is one in four.  If both parents have psoriasis, these chances increase to two out of their three children.

What are other reasons why psoriasis occurs?

  • Psoriasis can be triggered by throat infections especially a streptococci infection.
  • Trauma or scratching can make the condition worse.
  • Certain drugs can bring on psoriasis for the first time or, if the condition is already present, aggravate it. These include blood pressure meds (beta-blockers); NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are pain killers used to ease joint pain and swelling from psoriatic arthritis while also capable of triggering psoriasis flare-ups; and some mental health medications including Fluoxetine and Lithium.
  • As in many other conditions, stress can play a big part with psoriasis being adversely affected in a stressful situation.
  • While sunlight is often helpful for psoriasis sufferers, in up to twelve per cent of those with psoriasis they could find it becomes worse with too much sunshine - particularly if they are fair skinned.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol is not a good idea for those with psoriasis - it should be kept to a minimum.
  • Smoking is of course extremely unhealthy for anyone but when psoriasis occurs on the hands and the feet, it can be adversely affected by smoking.
  • A 2013 study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology Journal has linked autoimmunity, and therefore psoriasis, with a vitamin D deficiency.

Psoriasis is visible to the naked eye, view our Psoriasis image gallery to help you identify if you may have it.

The 5 most common symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Rashes or patches of red, inflamed skin, often covered with loose, silver-colored scales; in severe cases, the plaques will grow and merge into one another, covering large areas.
  • Itchy, painful skin that can crack or bleed.
  • Small areas of bleeding where the involved skin is scratched.
  • Problems with your fingernails and toenails, including discoloration and pitting; the nails may also begin to crumble or detach from the nail bed.
  • Scaly plaques on the scalp.

    Are there different types of psoriasis?

    Yes, there are 7 different types of psoriasis…

    Plaque Psoriasis is the most common type with about 8 in 10 people with psoriasis having this kind. Plaque psoriasis causes raised, inflamed, red skin covered with silvery, white scales. These patches may itch and burn, appearing especially on the elbows, knees, scalp and/or lower back.

    Guttate Psoriasis is a type that often starts in children or young adults but occurring in less than 2% of cases, causing small, pink-red spots on the skin and often appearing on the trunk, the upper arms, thighs and scalp. This type of psoriasis may go away within a few weeks, even without treatment. Some cases, though, are more stubborn and require treatment.

    Inverse Psoriasis is usually found in the armpits, the groin, under the breasts and/or in the skin folds around the genitals and buttocks. Symptoms include patches of skin that are bright red, smooth, and shiny without any scales.  These symptoms can become worse as a result of sweating or friction while fungal infections can be a trigger.

    Pustular Psoriasis is uncommon and mostly appears in adults. It causes pus-filled bumps (pustules) surrounded by red skin. These may look infectious - but are not. Although sometimes just appearing in the hands and feet, when it covers most of the body but when this happens, it can be very serious requiring immediate medical attention.  Symptoms include: fever, chills, nausea, a fast heart rate and muscle weakness.  There is a list of triggers for this type of psoriasis including:

    • Topical medicine (ointments you put on your skin) or systemic medicine (drugs that treat your whole body), especially steroids.
    • Suddenly stopping systemic drugs or strong topical steroids that you used over a large area of your body.
    • Getting too much ultraviolet (UV) light without using sunscreen.
    • Exposure to certain chemicals.

    Erythrodermic Psoriasis is the least common, but is very serious, affecting most of the body and causing widespread, fiery skin that appears to be burned. Other symptoms include: severe itching, burning, or peeling; a faster heart rate; and or changes in body temperature.  This type of psoriasis can cause severe illness from protein and fluid loss, necessitating urgent medical attention and even hospitalization.  You may also get an infection, pneumonia or congestive heart failure.  The list of triggers include:

    • Suddenly stopping your systemic psoriasis treatment.
    • An allergic drug reaction.
    • Severe sunburn.
    • Medications such as lithium, antimalarial drugs, cortisone, or strong coal tar products.

    Erythrodermic psoriasis may also happen if your psoriasis is hard to control.

    Nail Psoriasis is common in up to half of those with psoriasis, being even more common in those who have psoriatic arthritis, which affects your joints. The symptoms include:

      • Pitting of your nails.
      • Tender, painful nails.
      • Separation of the nail from the bed.
      • Color changes (yellow-brown).
      • Chalk-like material under your nails

      You're also more likely to also have a fungal infection.

      Psoriatic Arthritis is a condition where you have both psoriasis and arthritis (joint inflammation). In 70% of cases, people have psoriasis for about 10 years before getting psoriatic arthritis. About 90% of people with it also have nail changes. The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:

        • Painful, stiff joints that are worse in the morning and after rest.
        • Sausage-like swelling of the fingers and toes.
        • Warm joints that may be discolored.

        Some four and a half million people in the United States have been diagnosed with this condition, spread equally between both men and women.  Once diagnosed, there are various treatments a sufferer can turn to depending on the type of psoriasis, the severity and how much of the body is affected.

        Treatment of Psoriasis

        If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis, you can help treat psoriasis symptoms by:

        • Taking short lukewarm showers or baking soda baths with no synthetic or aggressive soaps which can contain harsh ingredients or detergents. Rather use Vegetal, Glycerin or Psorinol Scalp & Body Wash or "soaps" with a cucumber, algae or Aloe Vera base with no scrubbing as this can irritate the skin, worsening the psoriasis. If the water is too hot, it can increase itching.
        • Gently pat dry with a soft towel and within 5 minutes cover with a natural moisturizer to help seal in the moisture so that the skin does not get dry. Petroleum jelly and other ointments work very well because they make the skin softer and seal the skin so that the moisture is contained longer. If greasiness is a problem, wear old loose clothes for an hour while it soaks in. Do not use creams because they make the skin more tense because of the ingredients they contain as well as allowing the water in the skin to evaporate more quickly. Moisture and humidity are good for psoriatic skin.
        • Wearing loose fitting, soft clothing made of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or even bamboo so that the skin can breathe and won't be irritated. Lighter colors will hide any flaking of the skin. Avoid wool and synthetic fibers in clothing as well as bleach and fabric softeners when doing the laundry as skin with psoriasis can be sensitive to these.
        • Not smoking.
        • Taking regular ocean swims if you are lucky to live close to the sea. After your swim, leave your skin damp and let the salt crystals dry on your skin.
        • Ensuring regular daily doses of sunlight taken in short exposures. The vitamin D that sunlight produces in your body is a great healing tool. The darker your skin, the more sunlight you need. Just be careful to avoid any risk of sunburn as this could worsen the psoriatic condition. Take a vitamin D supplement.
        • Working on your diet. Alcohol aggravates psoriasis and should be cut out during an outbreak or altogether as it may act as a trigger. Eat red meat and dairy products in moderation as they contain architectonic acid, a natural inflammatory substance that is believed to make psoriasis sores red and swollen. In addition, avoid processed meats, spices and pickles and go for a diet that includes: oily fish such as salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and mackerel; plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, mangoes and green leafy vegetables as they are high in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, essential for healthy skin; flax, sunflower and sesame seeds for omega-3 fatty acids; brazil nuts for a rich source of selenium to produce those enzymes that stop the formation of certain leukotrienes which may worsen psoriasis; cereals, breads and yeast extracts that are fortified with folic acid to correct any deficiency which is sometimes prevalent in those with psoriasis; and finally any food containing zinc (such as shellfish and wholegrain foods) because zinc loss through the skin is thought to occur in those with psoriasis.
        • Cleansing and detoxing your digestive system regularly to eliminate food residues, using one of the teas or internal cleansers available from your local health food store or pharmacy.
        • Working on stress management because stress can play a big part in psoriatic outbreaks. It is thought that stress hormones may stimulate an already over active immune system, leading to more itching. Meditation, learning to relax, gentle exercise and yoga are all effective stress relievers. Some people find regularly listening to classical or any soothing music helps.
        • Exercising frequently will help those stress levels and your immune system making you healthier all round. Choose the type of exercise that you will find enjoyable to keep up and don't forget that quick lukewarm shower and moisturizing straight afterwards if you have got at all hot and sweaty.

        What are the most common homeopathic treatments for Psoriasis?

        Homeopathic treatment for psoriasis often involves several ingredients, each targeting different symptoms and types of psoriasis. Here are some of the most frequently used homeopathic remedies for psoriasis:

        1. Arsenicum Album: Best for psoriasis that is accompanied by burning sensations and improves with warmth.

        2. Graphites: Suitable for psoriasis with thick, rough, and cracked skin, often used for psoriasis that affects the scalp, bends of joints, and behind the ears.

        3. Sulphur: Effective for psoriasis with intense itching and burning, often used for dry, scaly, and red skin.

        4. Rhus Toxicodendron: Used for psoriasis that improves with movement and warmth, especially for joint pain associated with psoriatic arthritis.

        5. Sepia: Indicated for psoriasis that appears in isolated patches and may be accompanied by joint pain.

        6. Mezereum: Often used for psoriasis with thick, crusty eruptions that ooze a sticky substance.

        7. Petroleum: Suitable for psoriasis that worsens in the winter and for skin that is dry, cracked, and bleeds.

        8. Kali Arsenicosum: Best for widespread psoriasis with intense itching and scaling.

        9. Kali Sulphuricum: Used for psoriasis with yellowish scales and skin that peels easily.

        10. Lycopodium: Indicated for psoriasis that worsens during the afternoon and evening and for digestive issues accompanying skin symptoms.

        Each of these remedies is chosen based on the specific symptoms and characteristics of the psoriasis in the individual. Homeopathy emphasizes individualized treatment, so the effectiveness of each remedy can vary from person to person.

        How H-Psoriasis Formula works to fight the symptoms of psoriasis

        The H-Psoriasis Formula from Healing Natural Oils contains the following ingredients:

        Active Ingredients:

        1. Calendula officinalis 12C
        2. Iris versicolor 12C

        Inactive Ingredients:

        • Essential Oil Blend (Cedrus atlantica wood shavings, Melaleuca alternifolia leaf-branch, Melaleuca minor leaf)
        • Rosa mosqueta seed oil
        • Simmondsia chinensis seed oil
        • Triticum vulgare kernel oil

        Comparison with Common Homeopathic Ingredients for Psoriasis:

        • Calendula officinalis: Known for its healing properties, Calendula is often used in skin conditions for its soothing and anti-inflammatory effects. It's not a standard remedy for psoriasis in classical homeopathy but is recognized for promoting skin health.
        • Iris versicolor: Not typically listed among the common homeopathic remedies for psoriasis, but it's used in homeopathy for skin conditions with gastrointestinal symptoms.
        • The essential oils included in the formula, such as Cedrus atlantica, Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil), and Melaleuca minor

        How These Ingredients Help with Psoriasis:

        • Calendula officinalis and Iris versicolor are the primary active homeopathic ingredients and are believed to address the underlying causes of psoriasis symptoms like itching and scaling.
        • The essential oils and carrier oils (Rosa mosqueta, Simmondsia chinensis, Triticum vulgare) provide moisturizing properties.

        It's important to note that the effectiveness of these ingredients can vary from person to person. For chronic or severe psoriasis, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.


        Natural Medicines. Oregon grape. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. (Accessed Feb 13, 2021).

        Kermott CA, et al., eds. Psoriasis. In: Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies. 2nd ed. Time; 2017.
        Bolognia JL, et al., eds. Ultraviolet therapy. In: Dermatology. 4th ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. (Accessed Feb 13, 2021).

        Bolognia JL, et al., eds. Systemic immunomodulators. In: Dermatology. 4th ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. (Accessed Feb 13, 2021).

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