Psoriasis: Treatment Options
Psoriasis: Treatment Options
Half of the people with psoriasis are unsatisfied with the treatment they're receiving, according to a new study (JAMA Dermatology).
Psoriasis affects about seven million adults in the U.S. It is characterized by recurring patches of scaly, itchy skin, and is usually treated with topical creams, light therapy and oral medications.
Up to 20 percent of psoriasis patients eventually develop a form of arthritis related to the condition called psoriatic arthritis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The dissatisfaction with treatment is especially concerning in psoriasis because this chronic condition can lead to an increased risk of other health problems.
According to the study, between nine and 30 percent of the almost 1,900 people with severe psoriasis were not receiving treatment, with higher percentages for mild and moderate psoriasis.
Just over half of psoriasis patients and 45 percent of those with psoriatic arthritis reported being dissatisfied with their treatment. Most people who stopped taking newer injectable and intravenous drugs reportedly did so due to side effects or because the medication wasn't working.
Among patients who discontinued these new biologic medications in 2008, for example, 25 percent reported it had not worked, 17 percent reported a negative side effect and five percent said their insurance would not pay or they could not afford the medication.
Researchers agree that better treatments are needed.
According to one Dr. April Armstrong, a dermatologist at the University of California, Davis, and lead author of the study, “For people with severe psoriasis, inadequate treatment can be serious because the condition is tied to physical and psychosocial problems. Severe psoriasis is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular deaths," she said. "Many patients are ashamed of this skin disease and do not wish to go to a barber, a public swimming pool, or be involved in intimate relationships. . . Psoriasis patients are also at increased risk of depression and suicide.”
Not all treatments for psoriasis, especially mild forms, need to be expensive and difficult. Natural anti-inflammatory and immune modulating measures can be helpful. This can take the form of dietary modifications (reduced omega-6 oils and increased omega-3 oils, checking for food allergies, etc), supplements rich in omega-3 oils and GLA rich oils) and topical products.
As far as supplements, the use of omega-3 and GLA oils is highly recommended. These oils function as precursors to beneficial prostaglandins with powerful anti-inflammatory actions. EPA-DHA fish oil products is one appropriate category, and GLA from borage oil or black currant oil is another. Combinations of the two are available as well. These supplements should be taken in high doses, starting at a minimum of 2-3 softgel capsules at least twice a day. For those who eat dairy and/or meat, the dose should be even higher.
These same supplements can be used topically as well. Take a pin and prick a hole in the softgel capsule. Squeeze some of the oil directly onto the skin where it is rough and itchy.
There is another topical product, or group of products, that you should consider. They are under the name “Xyndet.”
The Xyndet products are composed of minerals and silt mined from the Dead Sea, in Israel. The products are completely free of gragrances, coloring agents and animal products. There is a “Sensitive Skin Formula Cleansing Bar,” a “Hair & Body Shampoo,” and a skin “Balm” or lotion.
The Dead Sea silt has a mild abrasive effect, causing “mini peeling” while the rich oils smooth dry and scaly skin. The Dead Sea minerals exert what I would describe as an astringent action. I do not have psoriasis, but I do have eczema, and the Balm has a noticeable soothing, anti-itch action. For psoriasis, the Balm and the Hair & Body Wash are especially effective.
Xyndet Balm is a very fine structured oil in water emulsion. It transfers moisture as well as oils into the skin. It goes through hard and scaly skin. In extreme case of hard and scaly skin they recommend to applying a thicker layer of Xyndet Balm on the skin and wrap it with a plastic wrap for a maximum 2 hours. It is then absorbed into the skin. The balm will not leave any greasy residues, provided the skin was not treated prior with any other product.
To maximize the effectiveness of Xyndet Balm for itchy skin, it should be kept in a cool place. Xyndet Balm transports moisture and oils into the skin. The combination of Dead Sea salt and Dead Sea silt has a balancing effect on the skin.
The Hair and Body Wash, as well as the Cleansing Bar, are perfect complements to the Balm. They have a skin neutral pH value of 5.7. What are the differences between Xyndet and regular soaps? Soaps are based on fatty acids, mostly animal fat. Xyndet does not contain fatty acids and no animal products. Fatty alcohols foam up nicely at any water harshness. Xyndet Sensitive Skin Formula Cleansing Bar removes surface residues of make up and helps open up pores for deeper cleaning.