Skin plaque or psoriasis is a difficult problem to live with. Many people go through life always wearing long sleeves or other clothing that will hide the unsightly plaques, always feeling constrained and embarrassed by their condition.
To date, the medical profession has many treatments that are reasonably effective, but as of yet there is no cure.
There are, however, many treatments that can reduce the severity of the disease.
Skin plaques are hard, and the dryer they are the harder they get.
This can cause them to crack and split, which is painful and can cause bleeding and lead to infections.
Skin Plaque Softening Treatments
Treating skin plaques is all about keeping the plaques soft and pliable. This has the added bonus of being a good way to stop them from becoming built up and thick, which is very uncomfortable.
Treating skin plaques is a time-consuming job, because you must repeat the treatments regularly or they will not be effective.
Soaks and scrubs and lotions and ointments are all temporary, short term remedies. If you have skin plaques, you must be prepared to spend some time every day taking care of them.
This dedication pays off, though, in much softer skin with less itching and irritation.
A thorough, effective treatment regime for skin plaques will almost always begin with soaking the affected area in warm water with some type of salts in it.
Dead Sea Salts are a good choice, since the minerals in the salts are thought to be beneficial for the skin.
Epsom Salts is another good choice for softening plaques. An alternative choice for your bath is to use an oat-based bath preparation.
Oats are good for softening skin plaques, so using an oat-based solution can be beneficial. Some people use both sea salts and oats together.
Soaking in a warm bath – not hot – for at least 15 minutes, with the areas of plaque submerged in the water for the whole time, will do a lot to soften skin plaques.
When getting out of the bath, be sure to use a clean dry towel to gently pat the areas of skin plaque dry – do not rub – and gently remove any flakes that have become detached from the plaque.
Do not pull on flakes that are only partially detached. The flake may not be as loose as you believe, so pulling on it could cause bleeding.
As soon as you are out of the bath and dry, apply a good moisturizer all over the body, and to the areas of plaque especially.
Moisturizers for Psoriasis
An oat-based moisturizer can also help to reduce itching throughout the day. Remember that you do not want to use a barrier cream on your skin plaques. You will need to apply other creams or ointments to the area at different times throughout the day. Barrier cream can prevent those applications from soaking in well and being absorbed.
Aloe Vera is a gel that is obtained from the Aloe plant. Applying it to plaque areas can greatly reduce the scaly look of skin plaques. It can also reduce the redness of the area.
If you can, it is a good idea to apply aloe gel or cream three times a day. Aloe Vera capsules do exist, but experts do not recommend them since they can cause or exacerbate some very severe health issues.
There is a cream that contains 10% Mahonia Aquifolium – also known as Oregon Grape – that is often very effective in treating skin plaques. It works better on milder cases, and has less effect on severe cases. It may be worth a try, as it seems to work very well for some people.
Creams containing Capsaicin, which is the chemical in chili peppers that makes them really hot, can greatly reduce the pain of skin plaques.
Research has shown that Capsaicin blocks the nerve endings that transmit pain to the brain. A cream containing capsaicin can give the user a lot of relief quite quickly. The cream may also be effective in reducing the inflammation of the skin, although research on that question is ongoing and there are no definitive answers as of yet.
The cream may cause a burning sensation when you first apply it, but it is usually temporary and seldom severe.
There are various shampoos that are specially formulated for treating skin plaques on the scalp. Doctors often recommend tea tree oil shampoos for this purpose.
It is best to apply a small amount of tea tree oil shampoo on, say, the inside of your wrist, to test yourself for allergy before using tea tree oil shampoo, though, as allergies to the oil are quite common.
It is better to have a small, localized reaction than to use the shampoo and have the allergic reaction all over your body.
Tea tree oil shampoo may be somewhat effective for scalp plaques, but tea tree oil does not appear to be helpful for skin plaques elsewhere on the body. Doctors do not recommend its use for any areas except the scalp.
Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment
Another treatment for skin plaques on the scalp is apple cider vinegar.
You need to use organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or it will not be effective.
You should use a cotton ball dipped in apple cider vinegar to gently pat the vinegar onto the scalp in the affected areas.
Many people recommend diluting the vinegar with an equal amount of water to lessen the sting. Others prefer to use it full strength to get the most benefit from it.
Supplements are sometimes known to reduce the inflammation of the skin plaques. Turmeric is probably the most effective of these.
Turmeric is an herb that has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Many people take turmeric to reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis or other inflammatory diseases. Psoriasis is also an inflammatory disease, so anything that reduces inflammation may help control it.
The medicinal ingredient in turmeric is called Curcumin. It can be found in capsule form in most health food stores.
It can also help to use lots of turmeric on your food, if you enjoy curries.
Fish oil supplements can reduce the inflammation associated with skin plaques. Vitamin D, milk thistle, and evening primrose oil also help to reduce inflammation.
Taking these supplements may help your symptoms, but be sure to check with your doctor before taking any of them.
If you are unsure if a supplement might interfere with the actions of another medication that you are taking, you can check with your pharmacist. They will be able to advise you about any possible interactions or dangers.
Using a humidifier in your home to keep your skin moist may help to keep the skin plaques moist and supple.
Remember that the aim is to keep the skin plaques from drying out. You will experience most of the discomfort associated with psoriasis when the plaques are dry.
You should avoid using any soap – especially those with dyes or perfume in them – directly on the skin plaques. Soaps are extremely drying and will often cause skin plaques to harden and then split or crack.
Washing skin plaques with a very gentle non-drying cleanser will help to prevent them drying out. This will still work to remove all of the accumulated creams and preparations of the day, allowing you to start fresh after cleansing.
Diet and Skin Plaque
Eating a healthy diet can also help with the inflammation of skin plaques.
Try to reduce the amount of processed food in your diet. Replace it with leafy greens, foods containing omega 3 fatty acids, like walnuts, cold water fish, and eggs.
Eating a healthy diet that avoids sugar, refined flours, and other foods that increase inflammation will go a long way towards reducing the irritation of skin plaques.
Water and Skin Plaque
Water is extremely important when you are trying to keep your skin healthy.
Dehydration will really aggravate the itching and soreness of skin plaques. It can also dry them out to the point of cracking and splitting.
A good rule of thumb is to drink 8 full glasses of water a day. Remember that you can count a cup of tea or coffee as one cup of water. There is a myth that says coffee makes you more dehydrated because caffeine is a diuretic. This makes people believe that you will actually lose more fluid than you took in. That is not actually true, so count coffee and any other liquid you ingest during the day.
Water is the best, though, since flavored drinks often contain a lot of sugar. Both sugar and the chemicals in sweetened drinks may increase inflammation.
In general, the natural remedies that are available for treating skin plaques are effective, as long as they are used regularly.
It is when you skip a few days that you may find yourself running into trouble.
It is best to establish a routine and stick to is as best you can. This way, you will not skip treatments or supplements and your skin plaques are never given a chance to dry up and harden.
With careful management, your skin plaques can become much less worrisome to you. They can often almost disappear if you look after them very carefully.