A common skin disorder that affects 2 percent of the population, psoriasis is characterized by thick patches of raised, reddish skin that is covered by what looks like silvery-white scales. In this condition, the body products new skin cells at a much faster rate than normal; however, the old skin cells on the surface are shed at a slower, more normal rate. Because of this, the cells beneath the surface of the skin accumulate and form thick patches, while the “scale” on top are actually unshed dead skin cells. These patches, which typically appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back, often itch and may crack and bleed.
Although psoriasis is not contagious, it generally occurs in members of the same family. Flare-ups are followed by periods of healing, although the condition never disappears. The duration and severity of the cases range – some are so mild that people don’t even realize they have the condition, while others are so severe the patches may cover large areas of the body. The cause of psoriasis is not known, although breakouts can be triggered by stress, infections, overexposure to the sun, and alcohol abuse. Medications, including beta blockers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), are other possible triggers.
Psoriasis is not curable, but it is treatable. Keeping this condition under control requires lifelong therapy. Treatments, which can be recommended by a healthcare professional, will vary depending on the severity of the condition.
Supplements to treat psoriasis
• B-complex vitamins
• Dandelion – If you have gallstones or obstructed bile ducts, consult your doctor before taking.
• EPA/DHA (fish oil)
• Evening primrose oil
• Methylsulfonyl-methane (MSM)
• Milk thistle
• Tea tree oil – Do not ingest or use in ears, eyes, or other mucous membranes.
• Vitamin A and mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D