• Maria-Helena Loik

Psoriasis – Symptoms, Causes, Natural Treatment and Psoriasis Diet

Psoriasis is a common chronic skin condition that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin and occurs in approximately 2 to 2.6% of the US population. Psoriasis speeds up the life cycle of skin cells. It causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin.

Psoriasis can occur in different forms, each with its own symptoms. Although psoriasis is often considered as only a skin condition, it can also cause psoriatic arthritis.

Conventional medical treatment can be useful, but it does not always help or only gives a temporary result because it does not treat the cause of the disease. There are also many natural treatments to control psoriasis, and psoriasis diet is at the top of the list.

Why is psoriasis diet so important? Studies have shown that patients with psoriasis often have a weakened intestinal barrier, or a leaking bowel syndrome.

Therefore, the right diet for psoriasis can be very important. As the slogan of the National Psoriasis Foundation of America says, “Proper nutrition ensures a happy life.” I totally agree with them!

Psoriasis Symptoms

Psoriasis signs and symptoms are different for everyone. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Red patches of skin, usually covered with thick, silvery or white scales.

  • Loose or damaged skin, which may be sensitive, itchy and painful.

  • Dandruff on scalp.

  • Split, pigmented skin that can cause bleeding and bruising.

  • Discoloration of finger and toenails or formation of fungal nail infection.

  • Detachment of the nail plate from the nail bad and pain or bleeding in this area.

  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed.

  • Itching, burning or soreness.

  • Thickened, pitted or ridged nails.

  • Swollen and stiff joints.

  • Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children).

  • Many psoriasis patients also have emotional problems because they are ashamed of their skin and feel hopelessness.

Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas.

The rash that occurs as a result of psoriasis is most common on the:

  • Elbows

  • Legs

  • Scalp

  • Lower back

  • Face

  • Palms of your hand

  • Soles of your feet

But it can also occur elsewhere, such as finger and toenails, genitals, and mucous membranes of the mouth.


The cause of psoriasis isn’t fully understood, but it’s thought to be related to an immune system problem with T cells and other white blood cells, called neutrophils, in your body. In a typical body, white blood cells are deployed to attack and destroy invading bacteria and fight infections. In the case of psoriasis, white blood cells known as T cells mistakenly attack the skin cells.

This mistaken attack causes the skin cell production process to go into overdrive. The sped-up skin cell production causes new skin cells to develop too quickly. They are pushed to the skin’s surface, where they pile up. The process becomes an ongoing cycle in which new skin cells move to the outermost layer of skin too quickly – in days rather than weeks.

Skin cells build up in thick, scaly patches on the skin’s surface, continuing until treatment stops the cycle.

Just what causes T cells to malfunction in people with psoriasis isn’t entirely clear. Researchers believe both genetics and environmental factors play a role and many physicians have identified a number of psoriasis aggravating factors which include. Psoriasis typically starts or worsens because of a trigger that you may be able to identify and avoid.

Factors That May Trigger Psoriasis Include:

  • Poor diet

  • Abnormal small bowel permeability

  • Increase in the number of T cells in the blood, in the dermis and in the epidermis

  • Problems with protein digestion

  • Stress

  • Hormonal changes

  • Heredity

  • Vitamin D deficiency

  • Disorders of liver function

  • Infections, such as strep throat or skin infections

  • Injury to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, a bug bite, or a severe sunburn

  • Smoking

  • Heavy alcohol consumption

  • Certain medications — including lithium, which is prescribed for bipolar disorder, high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers, antimalarial drugs, and iodides

Types of Psoriasis

There are several types of psoriasis. These include:

  • Plaque psoriasis. This psoriasis type causes dry, raised, red skin lesions (plaques) covered with silvery scales. They can occur anywhere on your body (genitals and the soft tissue inside your mouth).

  • Nail psoriasis. It can affect fingernails and toenails, causing pitting, abnormal nail growth and discoloration. Infected nails might loosen and separate from the nail bed (onycholysis).

  • Guttate psoriasis. This type primarily affects young adults and children. It’s marked by small, water-drop-shaped, scaling lesions on your trunk, arms, legs and scalp.

  • Inverse psoriasis. This mainly affects the skin in the armpits, in the groin, under the breasts and around the genitals. Inverse psoriasis causes smooth patches of red, inflamed skin that worsen with friction and sweating. Fungal infections may trigger this type of psoriasis.

  • Pustular psoriasis. This form of psoriasis can occur in widespread patches or in smaller areas on your hands, feet or fingertips. The blisters may come and go frequently.

  • Erythrodermic psoriasis. Erythrodermic psoriasis can cover your entire body with a red, peeling rash that can itch or burn intensely.

  • Psoriatic arthritis. In addition to inflamed, scaly skin, psoriatic arthritis causes swollen, painful joints that are typical of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint.

Psoriasis Treatment

Common Psoriasis Treatment in Conventional Medicine

In conventional medicine, the physician will take into account the severity of the case, the psoriasis type and the size of the psoriasis when prescribing. If one method of treatment is not effective enough, gives side effects or does not work at all, it is often exchanged against another.

All these medicines should be used only under a doctor’s supervision and only limited amounts to avoid side effects as they might be seriously worrying.

Side Effects of Some Psoriasis Medication:

  • Dryness and irritation of the skin

  • Folliculitis, a pimple-like rash affecting the hair follicles

  • Burning, dryness, irritation, and thinning of the skin

  • Increased risk of developing skin cancer

  • Increased risk for birth defects

Topical Treatments for Psoriasis

Those treatments are rubbed directly into the affected skin to bring local relief without the system-wide side effects of medicines taken by mouth or a shot. Topical treatments for psoriasis include:

  • Salicylic acid

  • Steroid-based creams

  • Calcitriol (Vectical) containing topical ointment

  • Coal-tar ointments and shampoos

  • Prescription retinoids