Living with psoriasis can be difficult to deal with, as not only are the symptoms incredibly frustrating, but to make matters worse there is currently no known cure. Understandably, this leaves many people feeling hopeless and stuck with no solution to their irritation. If this sounds like you then keep reading, as we delve into the best treatments for psoriasis including revolutionary options such as red light therapy.
If you are familiar with red light therapy, you will know how beneficial this technology is for treating sports injuries, providing pain relief and improving mobility. But very few people are aware that red light therapy provides many benefits for the skin! One common skin condition it can assist in treating is psoriasis. If you are one of over 1 million people in Britain unfortunate enough to be suffering from this, then you will know how frustrating it can be living with psoriasis. Although there are various treatments out there, results can vary occasionally leaving you feeling hopeless, with treatments that claim to be an all-in-one solution failing to relieve your irritation. That’s where red light therapy comes in. This technology is an effective alternative treatment for psoriasis that relieves uncomfortable symptoms, helping you feel like yourself again.
What Is Psoriasis?
Before we take a look at treatments, first we must ask what is psoriasis? Categorised as a chronic skin condition, psoriasis presents itself by causing flaky patches of skin leading to scales. Although this condition usually appears on the elbows, knees and scalp, it can affect any part of the body and is fairly common, presenting itself in 1 in 50 people in the UK. Those who suffer from psoriasis have an increased production of skin cells, which leads to the dry flakey patches. Typically skin cell turnover occurs every 3 to 4 weeks, however this happens much more frequently for those who suffer with psoriasis – between 3 to 7 days. Because psoriasis has no cure,those who suffer often turn to a combination of treatments to seek any form of relief, ranging from medication to home remedies. Luckily, there are many proven ways to help to manage the uncomfortable symptoms more effectively, which we further touch on in this blog.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Although the cause of this chronic skin condition is unknown, it is thought that there are certain health and lifestyle factors that can make this skin disease much more likely to occur. Genetics, the immune system, and certain medications, can all result in individuals being more at risk. Those who have an overactive immune system have been linked to developing psoriasis, this is because the immune system starts mistakenly attacking healthy cells leading to inflammation and swelling, resulting in skin becoming irritated. Certain medications can also come with side effects, resulting in psoriasis symptoms. Specifically heart and mental health drugs, as these regularly have a negative effect on the immune system which leads to inflammation in the skin. All of these can lead to individuals developing psoriasis or worsening existing psoriasis symptoms.
The main cause of psoriasis isn’t definite, and anyone can develop psoriasis, however one third of cases start in childhood. This is likely because those who have a family history of this skin condition may be more at risk. As psoriasis runs in families, having one or both parents with this skin disease increases your chances of developing it. Lifestyle habits such as unhealthy eating and smoking can both increase the likelihood of psoriasis and may make its symptoms more severe.
Arguably the worst part of living with this condition is experiencing the irritation and discomfort that comes with psoriasis symptoms. Although the specific symptoms vary from person to person, all are extremely uncomfortable to deal with. The intensity and time frame of these symptoms can depend on many things, as well as whether or not you’re experiencing a flare up. Common psoriasis symptoms are:
- Scaling spots
- Dry skin
- Cracked skin
Psoriasis symptoms tend to flare up and subside for different periods of time, knowing how to manage these symptoms is key when learning to live with this condition.
What Causes Psoriasis Flare Ups?
People with psoriasis usually notice periods where their symptoms aren’t as bad, as well as periods where their symptoms get worse. The worst of these is called flare ups. This can often make it unpredictable for those with this condition until they learn to manage their triggers. But what causes psoriasis flare ups? This can be a result of coming into contact with a certain trigger which sets off a variety of psoriasis symptoms, whether that be an irritant, allergen or something else. Although psoriasis triggers will vary for different people, there are some common triggers that most people with psoriasis will have, and need to learn to manage.
Experiencing an increase in stress can trigger a psoriasis flare up. This is because when we are stressed, our bodies release the hormone cortisol which can disrupt the immune system’s balance. For those with psoriasis, this stress induced imbalance can lead to an overactive immune response, causing the skin cells to grow at an accelerated rate causing the symptoms to present themselves.
- Specific medications
While not everybody who takes certain medications will develop psoriasis; taking specific drugs can trigger a flare up for those who are predisposed to this condition. Specifically medications that treat high blood pressure, heart conditions or mental health problems can accelerate this skin disease. This is because these drugs are known to disrupt the immune system or cause inflammation,often resulting in psoriasis symptoms.
Injuries to the skin can also lead to psoriasis flare ups. Experiencing physical trauma such as: cuts, burns or even tattoos can sometimes lead to the development of psoriatic lesions in once previously unaffected skin. This is believed to be because the injury disrupts the skin barrier function which activates immune responses that lead to the overproduction of skin cells. As a result, this can cause the red, scaly patches of skin associated with this skin condition.
Similar to injuries to the skin, experiencing an infection can also trigger a psoriasis flare up. As the body’s immune response to the infection can mistakenly activate immune cells that are linked to psoriasis development, causing overproduction of skin cells and inflammation.
While not everybody with psoriasis experiences a flare up when the weather changes, some people do find that shifts in the climate can affect their condition. Cold, dry weather is often accompanied by a decreased humidity level, causing the skin to become dry which can potentially irritate psoriasis symptoms. On the flip side, during the winter months, reduced exposure to sunlight can be beneficial for managing psoriasis because of the reduced UV light. This is because excessive sun exposure in hot and humid weather can sometimes trigger a flare up in some individuals.
How Long Do Psoriasis Flare Ups Last?
As we might have mentioned, psoriasis flare ups vary from person to person. While some people experience mild to short flare ups that only last a few days, others can have prolonged episodes that persist for several months or even longer. This could either be due to factors mentioned previously such as genetics and triggers. Either way, managing psoriasis and finding the right treatment for you can help you live with this skin condition and improve your overall well being.
When exploring different psoriasis treatments, you may also want to delve into how managing psoriasis with different lifestyle changes can lead to improvements in your symptoms. While there is no definite cure for this skin condition, finding ways that make managing psoriasis easier can lead to an improvement in your overall quality of life.
This will likely be specific to yourself and your own triggers, however varying changes to your lifestyle such as quitting smoking, eating more healthily and even altering the clothing that you wear can all have a drastic impact on your condition.
There are various different paths to go down when seeking psoriasis treatments, in order to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms and make this condition more manageable. Whether you’re looking for medicine, holistic treatments or more innovative technology such as red light therapy, choosing one that’s best suited for you or a combination of treatments can help you see improvements in your condition. Alternatively, you may have already tried traditional treatments and want to see what other methods are out there, if that is the case then keep reading as we explore different options so you can find the best psoriasis treatment.
- Medicine For Psoriasis
One of the most common treatments is medication prescribed by a doctor, this can either be in the form of a topical cream/ointment or an oral tablet. Although this form of treatment may be effective in some cases, these traditional treatments don’t target the underlying cause of this skin condition making the results different for everyone. This can be aggravating for those with the condition, leading them to search for alternative treatment options.
When it comes to psoriasis treatments, although medication is the most common route, there are some side effects you need to be aware of. Corticosteroids are considered to be an effective form of treatment, as these drugs are powerful at relieving inflammation and therefore one of the most common solutions. However, these aren’t advised to be used over a long period of time because of their side effects such as: stomach ulcers, cataracts, as well as skin and bone thinning. They are also seen as a short term solution as after so long these drugs stop working all together. That’s why it may be wise to look for more of the long term psoriasis treatments like red light therapy.
- Treatment For Psoriasis On Scalp
People with this skin condition often experience scalp psoriasis, which is where the symptoms are specifically targeted on the scalp area. Those who have this often feel embarrassed as their condition isn’t easily concealed like other parts of their body. Treatments for psoriasis on the scalp are also different as it can be difficult to apply creams to this area as it’s obstructed by the hair on your head.
Symptoms of scalp psoriasis include: dandruff, scales, dry patches on the scalp, itching and even hair loss. If you are suffering from this then it’s important to try and manage this skin condition to ease irritation and help bring your confidence back. Luckily, there are specific shampoos that act as treatment for psoriasis on the scalp that can assist in reducing symptoms as well as help manage your symptoms. These medicated shampoos often contain coal tar which help slow skin growth, reducing inflammation and flaking. When using these shampoos it is crucial that you apply them directly to the scalp and not just the hair, allowing it to properly target the problematic area. You can also find coal tar in other products such as: creams, gels,ointments and soaps that can also provide these benefits when using them on the affected area.
- Holistic psoriasis treatment
One route you may choose to go down is holistic psoriasis treatments. This is where you try to heal your body naturally, if you do choose to go down this path, we would typically recommend using it in conjunction with other methods to maximise its effectiveness. One way to do this is by trying to boost your immune system naturally, whether that through your diet or supplements. As mentioned previously, the immune system plays a significant role in psoriasis, therefore it is thought that by regulating the immune system this can help with managing psoriasis symptoms, helping those to better live with this skin condition.
In 2018 there was a study that suggested that following a mediterranean diet can slow down the progression of psoriasis. This is because the diet requires you to consume foods that naturally reduce inflammation in the body, which can help reduce psoriasis flare ups. The diet involves consuming high amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, bread, fish and nuts, and avoiding or consuming low amounts of meat, dairy products, eggs and alcohol. By following this diet you may see an improvement in your psoriasis whether you choose to solely rely on holistic psoriasis treatments, or you use this alongside medication.
- Red Light Therapy For Psoriasis
Red light therapy for psoriasis is a treatment you should definitely try if you have this skin disease as it is a great alternative to traditional medications. Unlike other forms of treatment that work by targeting the symptoms and only helping manage this skin condition, red light therapy works by targeting the underlying cause making it a more effective solution. As one of the main benefits of this technology is reducing inflammation in patients, this can help people with psoriasis as inflammation causes a lot of the skin irritation resulting in dry, irritated patches on the skin. By reducing inflammation you can decrease the frequency of psoriasis flare ups, making it more manageable. What sets red light therapy for psoriasis apart from other methods of treatments is unlike other medication that is only supposed to be used as a short term relief, red light therapy works better at treating your skin from within and having more of a long term effect.
Red light therapy reduces inflammation by allowing infrared light to penetrate the skin and stimulates cellular activity, which helps to speed the healing process and prevent chronic symptoms related to psoriasis. When cells are exposed to the specific wavelengths of red or near-infrared light, the energy is absorbed by the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell. This process provides energy to the cells, helping them become more energised and efficient, providing you with a combination of benefits such as enhanced blood flow, and efficient oxygen delivery to tissues. The heightened cellular energy and increased circulation results in accelerated healing, reduced inflammation and increased collagen production. Making red light therapy one of the best psoriasis treatments (especially when used to support other treatment solutions) as these benefits can contribute to a reduction in psoriasis flare ups, helping to better manage your psoriasis more effectively.
Try Red Light Therapy At Active Care Chiropractic
Now that you’ve heard about the amazing benefits of red light therapy for psoriasis, it’s time to decide where to receive this innovative treatment. Active Care Chiropractic, have years of experience in using this technology to treat our patients’. From treating sports injuries, and reducing chronic pain to treating skin conditions, we are experts in using photobiomodulation to help our patients on their journey to recovery. We are proud owners of the state of the art NovoTHOR machine, this red light therapy device has the ability to treat the entire body with just a little bit of light! By using this device, you can target the whole body as opposed to just specific areas, helping you gain the most benefits out of this technology. We also have THOR’s handheld red light therapy device allowing us to also provide focussed treatment to specific areas of the body if this sounds more like what you require.
If you are interested in trying red light therapy to help treat your psoriasis then contact us today and start your journey to recovery with Active Care!