What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a hereditary skin condition that mostly affects the elbows, knees, back and scalp. Scalp psoriasis is the most common of all forms with roughly 50% of cases occurring on the scalp.
What are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is characterised by red patches on the skin that are often covered by silvery scales. Some symptoms that are unique to scalp psoriasis include dandruff-like flaking, itchy scalp and temporary hair loss. Hair loss is not caused by the psoriasis itself, but rather from a combination of scratching the area and the use of harsh treatments.
What are the Causes of Psoriasis?
It is not known what causes psoriasis; however it is thought that it may be the result of an immune system disorder in which a white blood cell that protects against infection is over-produced. This can trigger inflammation and excessive skin cell reproduction. Many patients also report a specific event (generally a stressful event) that preceded the first reaction, which may have acted as a trigger for the psoriasis.
Traditional Treatments for Psoriasis
One of the most common psoriasis treatment is ultraviolet light treatment (PUVA therapy) combined with the drug calcipotriol. Steroid creams and medications are also popular psoriasis cures.
Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Psoriasis
If you suffer from psoriasis you should consume foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan. These include barley, chocolate, cocoa, eggs, pasta, nuts, bread, cheese, fish, flour and meat. Some patients have reported that certain vitamins have helped to keep their skin clear. Vitamin D, Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Glucosamine are three such vitamins which have been most widely reported to have benefits. Aromatherapy (using the oils chamomile, tea tree, rose or lavender) can help to reduce stress which can sometimes trigger psoriasis. Acupuncture and massage have also been found to be useful in reducing pain experienced by many psoriasis sufferers.