If you suffer from mild or severe chronic psoriasis, you will be glad to know that there are several treatments that can alleviate or cure many of the symptoms. These include dandruff, itchy, dry, flaking, peeling, crusting skin patches or even arthritis associated with the condition.
What to Know
Psoriasis is caused by an overreaction of your immune system to stress, infection or irritants. The condition can be mild or severe and is usually chronic. If you have psoriasis, try not to scratch the area affected, and keep the area as moist as possible during dry conditions.
Although it is not contagious and will not spread by contact, it can be exacerbated by dry weather conditions and scratching. Psoriasis can occur on your scalp, genitals, extremities or face, and may become severe enough to cause arthritis in the joints near the affected skin. If you have been suffering from the condition for more than a few weeks, see a dermatologist for medication and advice.
Ask your doctor about prescribing phototherapy, or ultraviolet (UV) light treatments, Usually performed in the doctor's office under close supervision, UV therapy involves exposing the psoriasis-affected areas of your skin to ultraviolet light over the course of several visits. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, exposure to ultraviolet light will slow the growth of your affected skin cells over time. You may experience a worsening of your psoriasis symptoms during the beginning stages of your treatments, but the psoriasis-affected skin cells will eventually dissipate.
Tar Treatments for Scalp Psoriasis
Use an over-the-counter tar product to treat mild scalp psoriasis. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of tar-based creams and applications containing .5 to 5 per cent coal tar concentrations for use in treating mild psoriasis of the scalp.
Higher concentrations of tar products may cause cancer and should be avoided for long-term use. When utilising tar products for psoriasis, be sure to apply a moisturising cream and sun block before applying the tar product, as the coal-based tar will make your skin more sensitive to UV rays and could cause sunburn or further irritation of your skin.
Follow directions on the package carefully, and never apply more than the suggested amount. Your skin may become irritated by the product, so test a small amount on your skin before applying the tar cream over a large area.
Ask your physician about prescribing salicylic acid cream for your psoriasis. The keratolytic (peeling agent) will loosen dead and affected skin cells and will encourage new skin growth. Use the cream sparingly, as it can irritate healthy skin in surrounding areas and may cause a worsening of skin problems or can weaken hair follicle shafts if overused. This could cause hair loss, so salicylic acid may not be appropriate for use on your scalp.
You may find quick relief from your psoriasis by using over-the-counter treatments that contain aloe vera, jojoba, capsaicin, zinc pyrithion or Castederm. Speak to your physician about using OTC creams.
Bath Solutions and Moisturizers
Pour Epson Salts, oilated oatmeal, Dead Sea salts or other oils into your bathwater and soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes. After you dry the psoriasis-affected area thoroughly with a towel, apply a heavy moisturiser directly to the skin to lubricate and soothe the area.
If your psoriasis is moderate to severe and has not responded to over-the-counter and home remedies, ask your doctor about prescribing a topical steroid solution, or corticosteroid cream. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and use the cream only on the areas of your body that are affected by psoriasis.