All About Psoriasis, Part 2

In Part 2 of 2 on our in-depth look at psoraisis, we’ll tackle a variety of treatments, diet choices, living with psoraisis, and more. If you missed out on Part 1, check it out!

Treatment options for psoriasis

Psoriasis has no cure. Treatments aim to reduce inflammation and scales, slow the growth of skin cells, and remove plaques. Psoriasis treatments fall into three categories:

Topical treatments

Creams and ointments applied directly to the skin can be helpful for reducing mild to moderate psoriasis.

Topical psoriasis treatments include:

  • topical corticosteroids
  • topical retinoids
  • anthralin
  • vitamin D analogues
  • salicylic acid
  • moisturizer

Systemic medications

People with moderate to severe psoriasis, and those who haven’t responded well to other treatment types, may need to use oral or injected medications. Many of these medications have severe side effects. Doctors usually prescribe them for short periods of time.

These medications include:

  • methotrexate
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
  • biologics
  • retinoids
  • Light therapy

This psoriasis treatment uses ultraviolet (UV) or natural light. Sunlight kills the overactive white blood cells that are attacking healthy skin cells and causing the rapid cell growth. Both UVA and UVB light may be helpful in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate psoriasis.

Most people with moderate to severe psoriasis will benefit from a combination of treatments. This type of therapy uses more than one of the treatment types to reduce symptoms. Some people may use the same treatment their entire lives. Others may need to change treatments occasionally if their skin stops responding to what they’re using.

Medication for psoriasis

If you have moderate to severe psoriasis — or if psoriasis stops responding to other treatments — your doctor may consider an oral or injected medication.

The most common oral and injected medications used to treat psoriasis include:

Biologics

This class of medications alters your immune system and prevents interactions between your immune system and inflammatory pathways. These medications are injected or given through intravenous (IV) infusion.

Retinoids

Retinoids reduce skin cell production. Once you stop using them, symptoms of psoriasis will likely return. Side effects include hair loss and lip inflammation.

People who are pregnant or may become pregnant within the next three years shouldn’t take retinoids because of the risk of possible birth defects.

Cyclosporine

Cyclosporine (Sandimmune) prevents the immune system’s response. This can ease symptoms of psoriasis. It also means you have a weakened immune system, so you may become sick more easily. Side effects include kidney problems and high blood pressure.

Methotrexate

Like cyclosporine, methotrexate suppresses the immune system. It may cause fewer side effects when used in low doses. It can cause serious side effects in the long term. Serious side effects include liver damage and reduced production of red and white blood cells.

Learn more about the oral medications used to treat psoriasis.

Diet recommendations for people with psoriasis

Food can’t cure or even treat psoriasis, but eating better might reduce your symptoms. These five lifestyle changes may help ease symptoms of psoriasis and reduce flare-ups:

Lose weight

If you’re overweight, losing weight may reduce the condition’s severity. Losing weight may also make treatments more effective. It’s unclear how weight interacts with psoriasis, so even if your symptoms remain unchanged, losing weight is still good for your overall health.

Eat a heart-healthy diet

Reduce your intake of saturated fats. These are found in animal products like meats and dairy. Increase your intake of lean proteins that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, and shrimp. Plant sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flax seeds, and soybeans.

Avoid trigger foods

Psoriasis causes inflammation. Certain foods cause inflammation too. Avoiding those foods might improve symptoms. These foods include:

  • red meat
  • refined sugar
  • processed foods
  • dairy products

Drink less alcohol

Alcohol consumption can increase your risks of a flare-up. Cut back or quit entirely. If you have a problem with your alcohol use, your doctor can help you form a treatment plan.

Consider taking vitamins

Some doctors prefer a vitamin-rich diet to vitamins in pill form. However, even the healthiest eater may need help getting adequate nutrients. Ask your doctor if you should be taking any vitamins as a supplement to your diet.

Living with psoriasis

Life with psoriasis can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can reduce flare-ups and live a healthy, fulfilling life. These three areas will help you cope in the short- and long-term:

Diet

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet can go a long way toward helping ease and reduce symptoms of psoriasis. This includes eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, and plants. You should also limit foods that may increase your inflammation. These foods include refined sugars, dairy products, and processed foods.

There is anecdotal evidence that eating nightshade fruits and vegetables can trigger psoriasis symptoms. Nightshade fruits and vegetables include tomatoes as well as white potatoes, eggplants, and pepper-derived foods like paprika and cayenne pepper (but not black pepper, which comes from a different plant altogether).

Stress

Stress is a well-established trigger for psoriasis. Learning to manage and cope with stress may help you reduce flare-ups and ease symptoms. Try the following to reduce your stress:

  • meditation
  • journaling
  • breathing
  • yoga
  • Emotional health

    People with psoriasis are more likely to experience depression and self-esteem issues. You may feel less confident when new spots appear. Talking with family members about how psoriasis affects you may be difficult. The constant cycle of the condition may be frustrating too.

    All of these emotional issues are valid. It’s important you find a resource for handling them. This may include speaking with a professional mental health expert or joining a group for people with psoriasis.

    471 Comments
    • Luz Laminoza
      Posted at 12:38h, 23 December

      Thank you

    • Luz Laminoza
      Posted at 17:32h, 04 December

      Interesting

    • Luz Laminoza
      Posted at 19:05h, 19 November

      Thanks

    • Hazel Spence
      Posted at 01:34h, 07 November

      Thanks for this information, i do eat some of these food recommended.

    • Major Reed
      Posted at 21:25h, 28 October

      Ugly stuuf

    • Robert T Lucas
      Posted at 12:33h, 19 October

      Thank you

    • Shivani
      Posted at 02:32h, 17 October

      Great info

    • Olivia lee
      Posted at 21:32h, 15 October

      Great information!!

    • Chandra Martinez
      Posted at 22:57h, 30 September

      Good to know.

    • MBruce
      Posted at 18:01h, 30 September

      Thanks

    • Alex
      Posted at 03:56h, 29 September

      Thanks for the info good read

    • Vicky Shobe
      Posted at 23:50h, 27 September

      Thank you for the information

    • Anisha Welch
      Posted at 02:22h, 26 September

      Good read!

    • Robin Alt
      Posted at 18:22h, 24 September

      Good article

    • sharon schwarzkopf
      Posted at 17:04h, 24 September

      Very helpful

    • Luz Laminoza
      Posted at 15:54h, 24 September

      Ok

    • Daphne Jackson
      Posted at 23:43h, 23 September

      Good info

    • Roger moore
      Posted at 21:25h, 23 September

      Great information thanks alot

    • Roger moore
      Posted at 21:24h, 23 September

      Great reading

    • Debra Main
      Posted at 17:22h, 23 September

      Good information

    • All About Psoriasis, Part 1 - The Proactive Health Management Plan
      Posted at 18:00h, 20 September

      […] we’ll tackle the basics: what it is, what causes it, how psoraisis is diagnosed, and more. In Part 2, we’ll talk about treatment […]

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