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Light Therapy for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that shows up on the skin as raised patches of scaly skin. It is often chronic and debilitating. Treatment results are highly variable from person to person, and this is the reason why there is a whole spectrum of psoriasis treatments to choose from.

Psoriasis Home Remedy #1: Fish Oil
Eating a couple of servings weekly of salmon, albacore tuna, and other fatty fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, the hallmark of psoriasis. In addition, studies have suggested that patients with psoriasis have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Consuming fatty fishes or taking fish oil supplements can both decrease heart disease risk and improve psoriasis symptoms. Fish oil supplements are available over the counter in capsule form at many food markets and drugstores. Some studies have also found that fish oil can boost the immune system. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, so this natural psoriasis treatment could help improve symptoms.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #2: Diet Modification
Multiple studies have suggested that people who have celiac disease may be at higher risk for psoriasis, in part because gluten can cause inflammation, and psoriasis is an inflammatory disease. That connection may explain why some psoriasis patients report that eating a gluten-free diet — which eliminates wheat, barley, and rye — helps them feel better. “Anecdotally, it works,” Weiss says, “but it has never been proven scientifically.” If a gluten-free diet makes your psoriasis feel better, however, that’s great. “There is certainly no danger in trying it,” Weiss adds.

One of the most popular psoriasis treatment options is phototherapy, also known as light therapy,which uses ultraviolet light in treating skin lesions. It is appropriate for mild or moderate psoriasis that covers vast expanses of skin. Phototherapy is a long-term psoriasis treatment that takes place over the course of a few months; any lapse in light therapy sessions before remission is achieved may be ineffective.

Sessions usually continue until the patient’s skin is completely clear. In order to ensure the success of the entire treatment, only a qualified and professional health care provider is tasked to administer it. Light therapy can be time-consuming and expensive, so it may not be a viable treatment for all psoriasis patients.

PUVA for Psoriasis: Treating Psoriasis with Ultraviolet Light A (UVA)

UVA can be effective in treating psoriasis when utilized in combination with a drug known as psoralen. This treatment option is called PUVA. Psoralen induces photosensitivity in the skin, after which the patient is exposed to UVA rays from lamps.

PUVA is often used for widespread psoriasis. It prevents the synthesis of the DNA and suppresses the immune system to decrease the severity of psoriasis symptoms.

Psoriasis Home Remedy #3: Turmeric
Some people with psoriasis have found relief with turmeric as a natural psoriasis treatment. Turmeric is part of the ginger family; you’ll find it in foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. Other supplements that have been tried for psoriasis home remedies include evening primrose oil, milk thistle, and oregano oil, which are available in various forms, including capsules and teas. Though a few people report some success with turmeric and other supplements because of their anti-inflammatory properties, keep in mind that there are no scientific studies to back up these claims, Weiss cautions.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #4: Water
Here’s an easy natural psoriasis treatment you may not have thought of: Drink water. Drinking plain water helps keep you hydrated, and when you have psoriasis, being well hydrated will keep your skin from getting too dry. Your body is up to 60 percent water, and you need to constantly replenish it. Using a humidifier is another easy psoriasis home remedy that will help keep your skin moist, especially in winter.

PUVA treatments can be expensive and inconvenient. The side effects include nausea an increased risk for skin cancer. Pregnant women and children under the age of 12 are not advised to undergo PUVA.

UVB Light Therapy for Psoriasis: Treating Psoriasis with Ultraviolet Light B (UVB)

This treatment option can be separated into broadband UVB and narrowband UVB.

Broadband ultraviolet light B can be acquired directly from sunlight. Many psoriasis sufferers choose to self-treat their symptoms by tanning in natural sunlight. The results vary in effectiveness from person to person.

Narrowband is considered more effective for psoriasis, and this is the type that hospitals utilize. Medical grade narrowband UVB lamps can also be purchased for home use, but they are extremely expensive and often cost thousands of dollars. Costs for replacement bulbs are also steep.

The risks for UVB exposure include premature aging of the skin and an increased chance of skin cancer with long-term use.

Phototherapy or Alternative Treatments for Psoriasis?

While phototherapy may be effective for a portion of psoriasis sufferers, the cost and time needed for this treatment to achieve results may turn others away. It is up to the patient to make the choice that is right for him. Due to the chronic and unpredictable nature of the disease, psoriasis symptoms may return after light therapy sessions stop.

Also, the side effects and eventual risk of skin cancer may not make it an ideal long-term treatment. In addition, a small portion of psoriasis sufferers’ symptoms may worsen when exposed to UV light-light therapy is not a viable option in this case.

Psoriasis Home Remedy #5: Aloe Vera
Pure aloe gel is rich in anti-inflammatory and healing compounds, and provides a nice cooling sensation for itchy skin. If you have eczema or psoriasis, consider growing your own aloe plant so you can take the gel straight from its natural source. Pure aloe vera gel can also be found at most drug stores and health food stores.
Psoriasis Home Remedy #6: Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, and they help block a chemical in your body called arachidonic acid which causes inflammation. Grind up a few tablespoons of flaxseed and add to smoothies, oatmeal, granola, or salads. You can also use flaxseed oil as a dressing for salads and veggies.
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