All About Psoriasis and 5 Natural Ways to Soothe Flare-Ups


“I was born with psoriasis,” says one sufferer online. “I’m now 16, and I feel like crap, to be honest. I can’t deal with this anymore. I hate looking at my skin.”

“I hate to go to the stores, work, or even to the park with my kids,” says another, “for fear that I will see those looks that people give me. This disease is disgusting. I literally sweep up piles of my skin off the floor and brush off my furniture from it constantly. I keep my body covered up by wearing pants and sweaters, long sleeve shirts. I hate it, especially during the summer, when I feel like I’m suffocating and want to rip my clothes off.”

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population, which can even increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. More than 80 percent of patients surveyed reported their disease to be a moderate or large problem in their everyday lives.

Here’s more about this difficult disease, and some tips for how to control the flare-ups.

Psoriasis flare-ups can be painful and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available.

What is Psoriasis?

A genetic disease that causes red, scaly lesions on the skin, psoriasis is not contagious. Scientists believe it’s caused by a malfunctioning immune system. Somehow, the immune system is mistakenly triggered to speed up the growth cycle of skin cells, which creates the red, unsightly patches as the cells accumulate too quickly on the surface—and the body can’t get rid of them fast enough. In fact, while healthy skin typically takes about a month to refresh with new skin cells, skin with psoriasis can go through this process in just a few days.

What Are the Symptoms of Psoriasis?

Psoriasis produces a number of symptoms in addition to the scaly patches on the surface of the skin. Typically, these show up on the elbows, knees, legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and the soles of the feet. In some people, symptoms can even crop up on the fingernails and toenails and inside the mouth.

  • Redness and inflammation
  • Thick, red skin with silvery scales
  • Patches that itch or feel sore
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Thickened, pitted, or ridged nails
  • Small scaling spots
  • Dandruff-like scaling
  • Swollen and stiff joints

Most types of psoriasis come and go cycles, with patients experiencing “flare-ups” during which the symptoms will appear for a few weeks or months, then subside for a time, sometimes going into complete remission.

Potential Triggers

Since psoriasis is a form of immune malfunction, certain things in life can trigger the malfunction, causing a flare-up. Common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Sunburn
  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Bug bites
  • Infections
  • Smoking
  • Cold weather
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Some medications, including beta blockers and antimalarial drugs

Those who are more at risk for the disease include those who have close family members with psoriaisis, and those with frequent viral and bacterial infections, as well as those who are obese or who smoke.

Potential Treatments

If you start to show signs of psoriasis, check with your doctor first. Treatments include topical corticosteroids that slow cell turnover, synthetic forms of vitamin D that slows the growth of skin cells, and medications that help normalize skin cell activity. Other medications help slough off dead skin cells to reduce scaling, itching, and inflammation.

Some people have also experienced benefits with light therapy, which uses natural or artificial ultraviolet light to slow skin cell turnover. There are a number of different types of light therapy, so if one doesn’t work for you, talk to your dermatologist about other types. Many psoriasis sufferers also experience fewer flare ups with regular, short periods of sun exposure. A 2009 study found that after 15 days or regular sun exposure, participants with psoriasis experienced about a 73 percent decline in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores.

In addition to trying doctor-recommended treatments, consider these natural options for taming psoriasis flare-ups:

  1. Wash regularly. Taking daily baths helps remove scales and calm inflamed skin. Add some oatmeal and Epsom salts to moisturize and soothe irritated skin.
  2. Avoid your triggers. Try keeping a journal for several months, and note when your psoriasis flares up. Were you stressed at the time? Did it happen after you had a few drinks? Try to make connections to find out what may be triggering the skin eruptions. You may find that when you’re feeling relaxed and happy—when everything in your life feels balanced—that your flare-ups fade. When things become out of balance­—you fail to get enough sleep, or go several days without regular exercise, or become stressed out by something—your body is more likely to react. Strive for a balance in all your days.
  3. Take a fish oil supplement. Some studies indicate that daily supplementation with fish oil can help reduce inflammation associated with psoriasis. Try 3 grams a day.
  4. Apple cider vinegar. If you have scalp psoriasis, try applying organic apple cider vinegar to the scalp several times a week. You may want to dilute it with water (1-to-1 ratio).
  5. Sea salt. Adding these to your bath can help ease itching.

Do you have other tips for soothing psoriasis flare-ups? Please let us know.


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Reader Interactions


  1. Ellie says

    I have been detoxing and eating clean taking every supplement out there. Tried uv therapy. Tried Aloe, tea tree, lavender, Cold Tar, Salt baths, Oatmeal Baths, Jojoba oil. I am a prisoner in my skin. Nothing seems to alleviate the CRAZY itching. I bleed from the dryness so I am constantly putting jojoba oil. Cant work, cant sleep, cant play or cuddle my little daughter or husband. I shiver at the thought of being touched. My eating restrictions are insane, the list grows bigger and bigger each day cause it seems like everything flares me up. Almonds, tomatoes, sugar, dairy, grains, peppers, ALL cut out from my diet. Life is real painful and its wearing me out. Life was sooo great before this. I had nothing stressing me out. The only stressful thing in my like now is THIS!

    • Ross Taynton says

      hi there i know excatly what you mean when you say its very painful and stressful to with it not being able to touch anyone or people you love! please take my advice and go down to the shops and buy some “Vaseline essential moisture cocoa radiant lotion” it only costs about £3/4 depending on where you go but really its worth trying seen as its very little money and im telling you know it really does make life that little bit easier.

    • Zetta Magliarditi says

      Hi…please read up on L-glutamine for healing gut. Buy the powdered form and take 40-60 grams to start for 5 days and try to wean back to 10 grams per day.

  2. Ross Taynton says

    I am a 23 year old male who has suffered psoriasis since the age of 13, with just little bits in my har and nails but now i have it everywhere on my body, very dry, itchy and very very painful to live with, especally when your skin starts splitting. I started off using steriod creams and all from the doctors which helped clear the skin build up and the redness!…. but when it came back, it came back bigger and harder, i now only use VASELINE COCOA BUTTER cream (comes in a brown bottle with a dark brown top) alongside they do a aloe vera and a oat stray one but both of these actually make my psoriasis alot worse and doesnt really help moisture but i swear by using the cocoa butter i dont know what it is but after using this m skin softens completly in around 2/3 days but still the redness….. even though, i think mixing this with vitamin C D tablets and a healthy balanced diet helps keep psoriasis under control. It doesnt get rid of it but i can tell you it certainly helps out alot

  3. Janice says

    Hi! I suffer with psoriasis on my hands and feet. A huge trigger for me is (non-natural) preservatives. If you eat organic or foods without preservatives you may find it helps tremendously!

  4. Jan Watson says

    I used to suffer from psoriasis for about 15 years so I have tried every single cream & ointment there is. Unfortunately almost every cream had little effect at all but thankfully I was actually able to completely cure my psoriasis after my cousin told me how she cured hers. I only had to do 2 things,:

    1. Use a humidifier in your house. This will add moisture to the air and to your skin without you knowing.

    2. Follow every step in the free video & guide seen at

    Try those two steps and hopefully you will get as much luck with getting rid of psoriasis as i did. Just remember psoriasis does not have to be a permanent problem, creams may slightly ease symptoms occasionally (as does fish oil capsules) but you really need to tackle the root cause.

  5. schumerNYC says

    I have psoriasis on my scalp and elbows. After many, many years of using Betnovate and similar prescription products that just weren’t working, I bought some Lady Soma Argan Oil to try. After a two weeks of weeks of using twice a day, I had control of my condition. I now apply it to every morning – my psoriasis will never go away, but at least I no longer have horrible “dandruff” on my shoulders and my elbows just look a bit red.

  6. barb says

    I have not had a psoriasis outbreak in over a year, and this is how I did it: (1) warm bath, and (2) an organic lotion.

    (1) Warm Bath
    Take 15 minutes to soak in the warm water. You might find comfort if you add oil, finely ground oatmeal, Epsom salt, or Dead Sea salt to your bath, but keep the water and soap mild. Hot temperatures and harsh soaps can be hard on skin that’s already sensitive.

    (2) Use the Made from Earth Valencia Orange Lotion. I apply this all over my body after I dry from the bath, and I especially pay attention to where the psoriasis was.

    I dont get outbreaks anymore. If I feel an outbreak coming on, in the morning I will apply the Made from Earth Valencia Lotion, and at night I will take the warm bath, followed by applying the lotion again. Good luck !

  7. Pauline says

    I’m thinking about doing a DIY coconut scrub to get all the dead skin off then mixing coconut with my shampoo to wash it out.

  8. Maya says

    I’ve had psoriasis from the age of 14….now I’m 43. Tried every cream, medicine….with time body stops responding well, not to mention the long term harmful affects of any such conventional medication. At the age of 30 I developed Osteoporosis. …which was an outcome of medications taken over the year.
    So one day I decided if medicines aren’t really helping, rather harming my system, I need to find an alternative. That’s when I decided to stop all medications completely. I just made few lifestyle and dietary changes….
    1. I became a vegetarian & a very healthy one at that. I ensure I eat home cooked fresh meals….nothing out of a can/bottle….so no preservation/colourants/sauces. A good helping of seasonal fruits/vegetables. No junk whatsover.
    2. I stopped using soaps & instead use a paste of chickpea gram flour as a body wash. Preferably massage a bit of olive oil as a prebath. Keeps the skin soft
    3. I ensure to workout for an hour daily….mix of aerobics, weights & yoga. Not too sweaty though…try to do it under cooler surroundings, since sweating was one of my triggers
    4. Drinking 7-8 glasses of purified water daily….preferably warm. Started having Indian gooseberry juice daily in the morning to help boost my immune system naturally
    With the above changes I noticed a huge change in the frequency and intensity of psoriasis attacks. Earlier I would get pustular psoriasis triggered from almost anything. …food, weather, stress & would last for months. From the time I’ve made the above changes I haven’t got an attack of “pustular” variety of psoriasis at all. Moreover the only time I do get an attack is when I get fever! No other triggers as of now. And when do get an attack, I simply let it take it’s course. …which is not limited to maximum 2 weeks of complete healing. So now my attacks are limited to once or twice a year at most.
    I know the changes sound bit aggressive. …but considering the benefits it’s been worth it. I know the ordeal I’ve been through & wanted to help anyone going through the same.
    Wish all good health.

    • yousaf says

      i am yousaf i got psoriasis before 4 or 5 years i use alot of medicine but some time good and time i feel very bad and i hate my self now i am 27 and i belong to afghanistan if any one can help me to do well for my health please send me email by [email protected] i will be very glade to you all , one thing here my body some what ok but the head is not going to get good so what should i do.

  9. Estela Beatriz says

    Dermalmd psoriasis serum helps soothe my psoriasis flare-ups. I’m still learning which foods (gluten is one), and in what quantities, cause them. I use dermalmd serum, along with peppermint essential oil, to help soften the skin and control the itch. I prefer not to use steroids I keep “dermalmd” in the fridge so it’s extra-cooling. It soaks in fairly quickly and doesn’t seem to leave oily stains on my clothes. it works just fine.

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