WHAT IS PSORIASIS ?
Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting)
skin disease characterized by scaling and inflammation of the skin.
This occurs when the cells in the outer layer of skin regenerate
faster than normal and pile up on the skin's surface.
This disorder can be found in all
age groups and equally in both sexes. However a lot of people notice
this first between the ages of 15 to 35.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF
Till very recently nobody really
knew what triggered this skin disorder and there were different
views on this issue. But now research indicates that Psoriasis may
most likely be a disorder of the immune system. What we do know
for sure is that Psoriasis is the growth of too many skin cells.
A normal skin cell matures in 28 to 30 days but a psoriatic skin
cell takes only 3 to 6 days.
Some researchers say that Psoriasis
is an inherited disorder. There is usually a family history of some
sort of skin affection even in far off relatives.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS
OF PSORIATIC SKIN ?
The most common and characteristic
features of this disorder are as follows:-
Usually patches of skin thicken,
redden and become covered with silvery scales. These patches are
referred to as plaques.
The patient mostly complaints of
a great desire to itch and then the area tends to burn.
The skin at the joints may be cracked.
Psoriasis most often occurs on the
elbows, knees, scalp, lower back, face, palms and the soles of
It may also affect the fingernails,
toenails, and the soft tissues of the genitals and mouth.
Some people may even suffer from
inflammation of the joints and have symptoms of arthritis. This
is known as Psoriatic Arthritis.
Psoriasis is diagnosed clinically
after the skin has been carefully observed. Sometimes it may be
very difficult to differentiate it from other skin disorders. Here
a diagnosis can be made by examining a small skin sample under the
There are several forms of Psoriasis.
The most common one is Plaque Psoriasis where the lesions have a
reddened base covered by silvery scales. The redness is due to increased
IS PSORIASIS CONTAGIOUS
No, this is not a contagious skin
disorder. It is not something you can "catch" or "pass on". Please
remove this misconception that psoriasis can be acquired by touching
a person suffering from it.
ARE THE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE ?
There is no cure for Psoriasis as
yet, but Homoeopathy helps the body's own immune system to put an
end to this cycle of rapid regeneration and scaling. This is as
close to permanent cure as you can get. There are many other different
kinds of therapies which have proven to be effective for only
a brief period but the disorder always recurs with a vengence.
The treatment most often given
for Psoriasis are as follows:-
TOPICAL TREATMENTS - this category
consists of treatment applied directly to the skin. This includes
sunlight, steroid ointments, medicines made from vitamin D3, coal
tar, or anthralin. All these are effective for a short time but
come with long term side effects and are not recommended.
PHOTOTHERAPY - UV light from the
sun stimulates production of vitamin D by the skin, which is said
to slow the overproduction of skin cells that causes scaling. Based
on this theory artificial sources of UV light are used for the
treatment. This is known as UVB Phototherapy.
There is also a treatment known
as PUVA which combines oral or topical administration of a medicine
known as Psoralen with exposure to ultraviolet A light. This treatment
has many side effects like nausea, headache, fatigue, burning,
itching, irregular skin pigmentation.
AREAS OF PSORIASIS RESEARCH
The most promising areas of research
are in the field of genetics. Researchers continue to search for
genes that contribute to the inheritance and causes of Psoriasis.
They are also working to improve our understanding of what happens
in the body to trigger this disease. Till then Homoeopathy seems
to be the best and only solution to this problem.
WHAT CARE SHOULD A PSORIASIS
PATIENT TAKE ?
People who are suffering from Psoriasis
should be very careful about their diet. They should stay away from
food stuff which tends to dehydrate and dry the skin. Here is a
list of some of the offending agents which should be avoided.
ALCOHOL - this tends to dry the
skin immensely and the disorder gets markedly
worse. All types of alcoholic beverages
are harmful for a Psoriasis patient.
SALT - sodium chloride is another
substance which has a very dehydrating effect on the skin. Foods
which contain a high salt content like papad, pickles, pani-puri,
farsan, packet foods should be avoided.
MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS - it has
been observed that dairy products tend to aggravate the skin in
this disorder. It is safer to stay away from cheese, paneer, curds,
milk as far as possible. A few teaspoons in tea or coffee is generally
NUTS - some people have been found
to be highly allergic to nuts especially peanuts, channa and channa
flour (atta), almonds, pista, cashew. Therefore if you are suffering
from Psoriasis and are even mildly allergic to nuts then it is
best to stay away from them. Otherwise it may trigger off a severe
SOAP - this is another agent which
has a very drying effect on the skin due to all the chemicals present.
The best soap to use is one which is non-perfumed, glycerine based,
which has the least possible chemicals. In the Indian market I
have found Pears and Cinthol (old one) to be mild and non-drying.
Yet it is best to use as little soap as possible on the body.
SHAMPOO - again you must use a shampoo
with less chemicals and is more natural. The scalp is one of the
most common sites for Psoriasis and usually the first place the
lesions appear. The person feels that it is only dandruff but huge
snowflakes keep falling onto the face and clothing.
WATER - this is one of the most
important essential part of the diet. Lots of water and fluids
should be consumed in order to keep the skin cells well hydrated.
Try to consume one glass every hour.
Homoeopathic treatment can de divided
into two distinct types. Both of these are extremely important and
they work in synchronicity with each other. They are as follows:-
To treat psoriasis is to treat the
whole human body and not just the skin condition with its symptoms.
For example if the person has some other disorders then even those
should be taken into account before prescribing a remedy. The other
important details include his past illnesses, habits, personal likes
and dislikes, food allergies or any kind of allergies, mental state
is very important too. Family history should be taken in detail,
it should include history from both sides of the family, maternal
criteria is occupation since this can aggravate the skin condition
especially if the person works with chemicals, soap industry, regular
workshops, automobile workshop, animal leather, slaughter houses
The constitutional remedies that
have proven to be very effective are SULPHUR, THUJA, NATRUM MUR,
BACILLINUM, LYCOPODIUM, PSORINUM, GRAPHITES, RADIUM BROM etc..But
these cannot be given on a daily basis. They have to be given in
a controlled periodical dosage to give long term relief.
What happens on the days when the
constitutional remedies are not given?
Since you cannot allow the patient
to suffer on the other days we have some very effective medicines
to give symptomatic relief which keeps the disease in control.
DAY TO DAY OR SYMPTOMATIC
RELIEF IN PSORIASIS
These medicines help to keep the
symptoms of the disorder under control. Like for example the intense
itching and burning that the patient suffers from. These can be
taken on a daily basis and they work insync with the constitutional
PSORIASIS WITH SEVERE BURNING
In this remedy there is itching with
severe burning. Though there is burning yet the person is relieved
by hot fomentation. The body feels cold all the time and this is
accompanied by constant thirst for water. Skin is very dry, rough
and scaly with small black patches.
Itching is worse at midnight after
2 am. There is great anguish and restlessness with tremendous fear
of skin disease.
This medicine is very useful for
Psoriasis around the scrotum and genitals. Worse by excessive perspiration.
There are tiny eruptions with scales and severe itching and burning
At times after scratching blisters
form which makes the burning pain unbearable. Here cold water gives
PSORIASIS WITH BOILS
At times by scratching
the psoriatic skin breaks open causing secondary infection. Normally
this bacterial in nature thus causing boils or inflammation. Due
to psoriasis the skin is very sensitive and weak with tiny cracks
exposing the inner layers of the skin which gets infected by organisms
in the atmosphere, clothes, water etc.
A 40 year old woman who was suffering
from Psoriasis since the last ten years around the elbow, knees,
feet, back suddenly developed very painful red boils all around
her feet. This made her walking very painful and difficult thus
disrupting her daily schedule. Only putting her feet in hot water
gave her temporary relief. Due to the pus in the boils there was
constant feverish feeling along with the chill. Because of the pain
and suffering she had become extremely irritable, dejected and sad.
She use to cry a lot and react violent to things.
Hepar Sulph was her remedy that cleared
her skin of boils along with the psoriatic patches.