Q: Are there any natural remedies for dealing with low-grade psoriasis all over your body?
A: Psoriasis, a condition that produces various degrees of skin problems, can be physically and emotionally difficult to manage. It can occur in small patches or in a more diffuse pattern as you describe.
The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but the immune system does play a role and there may be an infection component to flare-ups as well.
While immunosuppressant medications can be used to get a flare-up under control, there are some things that people can try to reduce the frequency and severity of exacerbations of the condition.
The most important thing you can do is to keep your skin from becoming overly dry. Dry skin will crack producing openings for bacteria to get under the skin leading to irritation, inflammation and a flare-up.
To prevent dry skin:
• Limit the duration of your shower to less than 5 minutes (hot water dry out the skin).
• Avoid using harsh scrubs on the skin which can lead to micro-tears (tiny openings for bacteria).
• Use a skin moisturizing lotion liberally.
• Make certain that the soaps you are using are not making the condition worse (all-natural soaps tend to be less drying than most commercial soaps).
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.