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Controlling Psoriasis Flare-Ups

Controlling Psoriasis Flare-Ups

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

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


+ add your own
4:50AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:46AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:53AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Thank you

4:24PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

I have found that hemp cream really helps (I don't think that you can buy it in the US). I buy it in a mixture with shea and cocoa butter; it doesn't cure the condtion but it helps cool it, which stops me scratching it! I now use it twice a day and it stops things from getting out of control and stops me scratching (which has led to infections more than once!).

1:36PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

I've had psoriasis on my hands for a year or so now..found comfrey cream to moisturise has almost cleared it up! been drinking green tea and wheat grass smoothies too which possibly helped..

7:02AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

My late husband had psoriasis on his elbows, knees, and scalp. I heard Paul Harvey praising T-gel for clearing up hot-spots on dogs and we started using it to bathe our Bichon. It worked so well that I suggested trying it on the psoriasis. That worked too and eventually my husband started bathing in T-gel. He never had an attack again.

7:32PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

I have plague psoriasis and am 54 years old..never a problem till went through menopause couple of years nothing stops the itching. My elbows look terrible but have the itching all over...

7:42AM PDT on Sep 17, 2009

Nicole, I recently heard of an experience that when a person STOPPED using Vaseline and her life-long skin condition went away. She thought the Vaseline was making it better.

7:16AM PDT on Sep 17, 2009

I have had Psoriais for 16 years.
I use Vaseline on the patches.
It's a cheap way to soften the skin,and its just as effective as the expensive creams/lotions.

12:27PM PDT on Jul 18, 2009

Topical creams and prescription medications may control it but not effective long term and will never go away.

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