Natural Remedies for Psoriasis
Updated: Mar 22
Skip the doom loop of cortisone treatments!
Psoriasis is a long-lasting autoimmune disease characterized by red areas (purple on darker skin) of dry, itchy and scaly skin.
I was a premature infant, struggling with my immune system from day 1. That I was born 6 weeks too earlier, caused me some trouble in life.
Within the first few weeks, I developed grave jaundice. Afterwards, I would just sleep through the following weeks and after 2 months my Dad pulled up one eyelid to see what eye colour I had.
Those early struggles were clearly a lot to deal with, and 27 years remains of those struggles manifested, and are still challenging me on a daily basis.
I have a weakened Immune-system
It's an ongoing challenge to keep my bodyweight up
I am always cold
And had endless trouble with throat infections
Also, my ability to emotionally open up and connect was mitigated
All of these fits with me being a premature infant. I needed more time, more nurturing to finish the physical and emotional development. The circulatory system, musculoskeletal system, lungs, brain, nervous system and protective fat coat were all in development, like the bond to my mom.
Years of trial and error followed, starting (of course) with my dermatologist and a round of cortisone (wonderful lets start the doom loop!). During the first 15 years of my life, nothing seemed to really help me, the only gasp of relief were the summer holidays - sea, sun, no stress. Cortisone has this mean tendency to quickly show surface improvements, which vanish as soon as you stop applying it, and the condition returns much worse.
Why on earth would any doctor suggest such a treatment??
Well, but they do! I felt it's probably on me to turn my attention in a different direction. Numerous years of trial and error followed with all sorts of natural treatments, but nothing would last in the long term. Name it, I tried it!
What was required was a change in thinking, a change in my approach.
There is no one-time application to get over this. I had to accept my condition as part of me, and I had to start treating it like that. It is work in progress, and it will probably always be, and that's alright! Nowadays, I am able to accept my weak immune system as part of me.
I am still trying new things on a regular basis, and since I changed my mindset I even find it exciting to explore new options and see how they work for me.
But let's not get stuck on the treatments, they are just the cherry on top.
The fundamentals are;
The skin acts as a mirror
A mirror that makes us aware when something inside our body is not quite right. It is important to understand that a skin condition is mostly not the issue itself, but only an indication of something more fundamental being out of balance.
Movement, nutrition and mental wellbeing are these fundaments. Without nailing those, you'll probably struggle all your life long, getting frustrated by all the failing treatments.
Let me share what worked for me
More hydration Most people don't drink enough! The common recommendation between 1 1/2 - 2 litres a day is the lower end of the range. I feel good with about 3 - 3 1/2 litres of fluid a day. One thing to consider is that you don't want to flush out all the water-soluble vitamins and good minerals of your system. Therefore, this goes hand in hand with your nutrition. If you stock up the liquid intake, also stock up with some more fruit and veg. *Try starting the day with a big glass of warm water. This helps to re-hydrate after the night and is a nice start into the day for our intestines.
More fruit & veg Most people don't eat enough fruit and veg, therefore essential vitamins and minerals for maintaining good health are missing. The common recommendation of 5 portions a day is barely being met. This is a very good place to start making a change in your nutrition. * Try to add a little fruit bowl for breakfast. This is also a kick-start for your brain, as the body converts fructose into glucose, and glucose is what fuels the brain!
Listen to your belly (the gut is the biggest part of the immune system) There is a good reason why the gut is considered the second brain. Not only is it the main communicator with the brain, about what's going on in the body, but it is also the biggest part of the immune system. The first thing is coffee in the morning? - Your belly doesn't feel great afterwards? - Fair enough! Coffee on an empty stomach is really harsh. * Try drinking a glass of water before, or eating a spoon of yoghurt, or add a little butter/oil to the coffee.
Daily movement Movement doesn't only make us look stronger, but it makes us literally stronger from within. Physical structures become more resilient, organs and bodily chemicals are stimulated to work more efficient, and it also helps to free the mind. Do you struggle to exercise regularly? * Try to incorporate small chunks of movement throughout the day. For example - 15mins Yoga movements in the morning, - 15mins walk after lunch - 15mins bodyweight exercises in the evening, That sounds probably more actionable than 45mins in one, isn't it? And it adds up to 5 hours 15mins a week. If you struggle to move regularly try smaller chunks (~15mins) but consistently.
Time spent in nature Spending time in nature is essential to stay grounded. Big city life can really mess with your mind, it is an unnatural environment. Give yourself a break sometimes! * Whenever you feel disconnected from yourself, an alternative to meditation would be a walk in nature.
Oil instead of Lotion Oil the skin before showering rather than applying lotion afterwards. Here you've got several options, a basic skin oil without any additional properties is always a good choice. Or you can spice up your treatment depending on your constitution, the season or healing properties. Ayurvedic Recommendations; Select a warming and grounding oil during fall and when you have a predominant amount of Vata, sesame oil is perfect for those purposes. During summer and if Pitta or heat is abundant, opt for something cooling, like coconut or sunflower oil. During Kapha, winter into spring, your body needs something invigorating, mustard seed oil is a good choice. Apply the oil and leave it for 20mins before showering off. 20 minutes because it takes just so much time to penetrate the 7 skin layers named in Ayurveda. Additionally, if you have the option to conduct the treatment in a warm or even steamy environment, it will enhance the cleansing and nourishing effect. * If you make use of Coconut Oil, always go for Virgin Coconut Oil! (Virgin and extra virgin are the same, don't be victimized by this marketing trick) want to know more about Coconut Oil?
The shower mistakes Uno; Extremely hot water is a stressor for our body and can reflect in worsening skin conditions, use warm water instead. If you want to put a cherry on top - finish your shower off cold, start with 10 refreshing seconds. If you experience any imbalances, go with a temperature that will help to pacify; choose cool to cold water for pitta, warm water for vata, and the warmest for kapha. Due; Extensive usage of soap is really the worst you can do to your skin, as it removes the natural skin barrier. Limit the use of soap to the places most likely to store dirt and bacteria, like the armpit, feet, and genitals.