I'm going to talk about topical psoriasis treatments, even though I found that in my case, until I changed my diet, topical treatments were only minimally effective. Even the pricey stuff prescribed by the dermatologist only took the edge off – but it did do that, and that bought me some time to make the changes that really addressed the underlying problems. Early on I experimented with a variety of over the counter psoriasis creams, homemade herbal creams and essential oil creams, and different creams I could buy online. Now I take a soothing bath one or more times a week, and spot treat with just a couple of things that work well for me. I'll go through the options by category.
Doctor Recommended Topical Psoriasis Treatments
The list of recommended skin care products given to me by the dermatologist looked like a shopping list made up by Proctor and Gamble. While I do think it's a good idea to eliminate toxic skin care and personal hygiene items, I didn't believe that this was my problem. I use very few products, and what I do use is non-comedogenic and non-toxic. If this is not the case for you, you may want to change your skin care routine.
The main doctor recommended topical psoriasis treatments include:
- vitamin D3 derivatives
- coal tar extracts
- retinoids (vitamin A analogs)
- petroleum jelly
- phototherapy (light therapy)
Some of these are available over the counter (just hunt around at your local pharmacy for “psoriasis creams”), some of these are prescription only. Some of these can't be used in combination because one inactivates the other. Read labels, check with your doctor.
Phototherapy is typically administered for stubborn cases or cases that cover a large area of the body. Psoriasis is treated with either UV-B (Ultraviolet B) or PUVA therapy. As a therapy, these treatments are administered by a physician (although home UV units are available), but many people find their psoriasis improves with more exposure to plain old sunlight.
One of the treatments that I have used and continue to use occasionally is petroleum jelly. While not a preferred option, it's one of the few things that coated the cracking without causing more pain when my skin was really bad. This was a particular problem on my elbows. When I asked at the doctor's office why they recommended it, the assistant said, “Because no one reacts to it.” Fair enough, and true in my case.
Herbal and Essential Oil Creams for Topical Psoriasis Treatments
I was hoping that my hard lotion bars would work for my psoriasis, but they didn't. I suspect that there may have been residual honey in my minimally processed beeswax that fed the yeast, but I'm honestly not sure. Whatever the case, applying the hard lotion on my active outbreaks made them worse, not better, leading to oozing and itching.
Friends of mine sent an assortment of herbal salves and ointments, and I tried some of my own, including plantain, comfrey, neem, dandelion and jewelweed. No luck for me, but perhaps your results will be better.
I tried my friend Gaye's essential oil Miracle Cream with roller ball psoriasis add on that she uses for her husband. It made me constipated. Sorry if that's TMI. I have to be very careful with my use of EOs.
Coconut Oil and Tamanu Oil for Topical Psoriasis Treatment
The two oils that I have been able to use successfully for psoriasis treatment are coconut oil and tamanu oil. Both of these oils have anti-fungal properties, so they are a good fit not just for soothing the cracked, dry skin of plaque psoriasis, but for treating the underlying candida overgrowth.
Warm Baths as a Topical Psoriasis Treatment
My weekly soak has been a source of great comfort. I also soak after BodyTalk sessions. I've read a number of stories of people who vacation by the ocean and found that the salt water cleared their psoriasis. When soaking, use warm water, not scalding hot, which can dry and irritate the skin. Several sites suggest 15 minutes, I tend to soak a little longer. If I'm going to go to take the time to fill the tub with warm water, I'm going to make sure I make full use of it.
In addition to warm water, you may also find it helpful to add Epsom salts and/or Dead Sea salts to your bathwater (I add both). Oatmeal is a well known skin soother. You can buy finely ground preparations, such as Aveeno bath treatment, finely ground your own, or just put some oatmeal in an old sock and squeeze the milky oat liquid into the bathwater. Some people add a small amount of oil to the water, but if you choose to do this, don't use so much that you clog your pipes, and be careful not to slip getting out of the tub.
You can also brew an herbal tea using chamomile, plantain or oat tops, and add the tea to your bathwater. Use about 1/4 cup dried herb in 4 quarts of boiling water. Let steep for at least 15 minutes, strain and add to bathwater.
Those are the bulk of topical treatments that I've tried for my psoriasis. There are a ton of treatments out there, and I have by no means tried them all, so if you have a particular product that you have found works well for you, I'd love to hear about it.
Other posts in the series:
- Alternative Psoriasis Treatments – BodyTalk and EFT
- My Anti-Candida, Anti-Psoriasis Diet – 9 Steps Towards Healing
- Candida – Missing Link to Psoriasis and Other Chronic Illness
- Psoriasis Causes – Mainstream and Alternative Viewpoints
- Toxic Skin – My Mother’s Nightmare
- Psoriasis – The Year My Face Exploded