… Continued …
It’s not fully understood why and how alcohol affects psoriasis flares, but drinking in moderation is a must for anyone. For your best bet, avoid drinking to prevent flare-ups. Try iced tea or other nonalcoholic thirst-quencher!
There are certain medications that may provoke psoriasis flares after long-term use. These include ACE inhibitors, lithium, NSAIDs, beta-blockers, and steroids. If you in-doubt to any medicine you’re taking, see your doctor (especially if your medicine is irritating the skin).
How about extreme weather and hormone fluctuation?
Extreme, dry weather (winter’s cold) can provoke flare-ups. Such weather will cause skin dryness more likely. Many patients find their psoriasis tend to flare up in the winter and go into remission in humid days of summer. Keeping your skin moist is the key. If necessary, use a humidifier!
It seems hormones might also have an effect. Although the disease can affect people of all ages, it tends to peak between the ages of puberty and menopause. Interestingly, it usually improves during pregnancy.
Are oral /injected medications necessary?
If treatments outlined above are not helpful enough to cope with, oral or even injected medications are available.
This option is also called as ‘systemic’ treatment. It is more powerful, but also more likely to cause severe side effects. Therefore some oral /injected medications for psoriasis are not aimed for long-term use and might be alternated with other types of treatment.
It is powerful enough to reduce the excess production of skin cells caused by psoriasis and improve inflammation. In low doses, side effects are usually not serious (generally well-tolerated), these may include appetite loss, stomach discomforts, or fatigue.
This group of medicines may be prescribed for severe cases of psoriasis. But it’s not recommended during pregnancy since it increases the risk of birth defects. Hair loss and lip inflammation are quite common when people use Retinoids.
This miracle pill is quite promising. In clinical trials, many patients find a significant improvement of their psoriasis a few months after taking the pills. And the good news, it has NICE approval. Also at a low dose, it could be used for long periods (prescription is necessary), depending on your situation. Some possible side effects include stomach upset, headaches, or weight loss.
It works as well as methotrexate, but it’s usually prescribed only for very short-term use. It’s a kind of immunosuppressant medicine. Possible side effects include hypertension, kidney problems, and increased risk of cancer. That’s why it’s prescribed extra carefully!
If necessary, stronger medicines may be required. These include biologics with injection (e.g. Infliximab, Etanercept, and Golimumab), Hydroxyurea, and Thioguanine.
Herbs, supplements and alternative treatments
A number of alternative treatment options (including herbs and supplements) for psoriasis are available. But do they really work?
Unfortunately, none ‘in science’ have definitively been proved effective. However, some are thought generally safe and may be helpful enough to relieve mild signs and symptoms of psoriasis (e.g. scaling and itching).
Oil derived from fish (especially fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids) may help improve psoriasis inflammation. Moderate consumption (3 grams of fish oil or less a day) is well tolerated for most people, you may find it helpful.
Aloe extract cream (in regular use) will help prevent skin dryness, itching, or reduce psoriasis scaling & redness. To see improvements on the skin, you usually need to apply it regularly for a month or more!
Topical Oregon grape
Oregon grape extract is a good idea for one of your psoriasis home remedies. It may be effective enough to help improve mild-moderate symptoms of psoriasis. A few human studies show it works as well as conventional topical creams for psoriasis. Also, there is almost no side effect! So you should give it a try!