Among the many natural remedies for psoriasis, you’ll find that one of the best treatments may already be sitting in your windowsill. In a recent study, aloe vera was proven to be more effective than topical steroids in relieving psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common, noncontagious skin condition that affects people of all ages. According to the National Institute of Health, psoriasis affects roughly 2.2% of the U.S. population, or 7.5 million people. Usually, psoriasis symptoms first appear between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, but can develop in patients of any age. Fortunately there many treatment options available and some of the best call upon nature’s pharmacy.
Psoriasis can be usually be recognized by its irritated, red, scaly appearance. In healthy individuals, the skin takes twenty-eight days to complete a cycle of shedding and regeneration. Due to a combination of immunological and possible environmental triggers, skin goes into a state of accelerated regeneration. As the skin cells build up during this process, itching, scaling, inflammation and lesions are formed. Often, affected areas look excessively dry and flaky. Severe cases of psoriasis often result in cracked, bleeding skin which makes everyday life uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing. This type of psoriasis is known as plaque psoriasis and is the most common form of the disease. In other, less common instances, psoriasis may be seen as tiny dot-like lesions, extreme inflammation, or pustular lesions.
Possible Causes Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis is viewed primarily as an autoimmune disorder. The explanation of an autoimmune disorder can be simplified as hyper-responsiveness to a perceived health threat, pathogen, allergen, or conditions of vulnerability. There is no single, universal trigger for psoriasis. From individual to individual, reasons for a flare up may vary from food sensitivities and digestive health to stress. Researchers have found links to vitamin D deficiencies, chronic systemic inflammation and even abnormal responses to pain-associated biochemicals.
The Aloe Solution
Aloe is a succulent plant found in almost every part of the world. The earliest records of its use as an herbal medicine date back to the 16th century BCE, making it one of the oldest and most trusted herbal remedies in the world. Folk medicine and modern research support its efficacy in treating wounds, burns, digestive disorders and a plethora of skin issues.
Of the many varieties of aloe plants, Aloe Vera is the most promising agent in the pursuit of a safe, natural psoriasis remedy. Its soothing properties address both internal and external factors known to contribute to psoriasis flare ups while causing no side effects, unlike steroidal creams. Aloe’s gentle healing properties make it an ideal addition to a comprehensive psoriasis treatment regimen.
Healing skin from the inside out
While the issue of internal health and its affect on dermatological conditions has not been adequately explored, ancient forms of medicine such as ayurveda and traditional Chinese Medicine view digestive health and skin health as intrinsically linked. Ingestion of allergens, medications, or chronic stress can lead to a buildup of toxins. When the digestive system is overwhelmed by these conditions, a flare up of psoriasis may follow as the body attempts to eliminate toxins through the skin. Aloe Vera is a ideal, both soothing skin irritation and facilitating improved digestion.
Psoriasis attacks are more likely to occur when the immune system is overtaxed, as with an illness or infection. In these circumstances, the positive effects of aloe vera offer comfort and support for your body’s natural healing processes. Aloe vera has demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of illnesses as varied as hepatitis, ulcerative colitis, and even cancer. Its extracts seem to have antibacterial and antifungal properties whose helpful aspects are further enhanced by its anti-inflammatory properties. The inner leaf gel of the aloe vera plant inhibits streptococcus bacteria, making it particularly useful when ingested for detoxification and digestive support. Aloe vera, with its myriad applications in reducing inflammation, addressing pathogens, and restoring balanced bowel function, may play a crucial role in the prevention of illnesses that may usher in psoriasis outbreaks. Aloe can be used internally in the following ways:
- Aloe juice. Widely available in health food stores, aloe juice can be consumed as is or mixed into smoothies.
- Aloe pills. Powdered aloe capsules are available in the nutritional supplement section of most health food stores.
Aloe to Combat External Irritants
Most psoriasis sufferers will experiences symptoms in cycles. Depending on their exposure to triggers, psoriasis will often appear and recede, only to reappear when triggered again. By limiting their exposure to externally generated irritants like dry air, insect bites, and other caustic agents, psoriasis attacks can often be reduced. Still, because it is impossible to live completely isolated from all potential triggers, aloe vera provides an excellent line of first defense. Applied topically, its cooling action reduces redness and itching, while strengthening the healing process. When using aloe on the skin, follow these tips to experience its maximum healing benefits:
- Apply fresh aloe leaf gel to sunburned skin. Reducing irritation to the site of burned skin makes a psoriasis attack less likely.
- Use the pure, fresh leaf gel to relieve psoriasis-related itching and redness.
- Combat the dryness that causes psoriasis by using aloe gels, creams or lotions to hydrate skin.
- Look for a high concentration of aloe vera in your formula. Clinical studies that prove aloe vera is more effective than steroids used products in which the concentration of aloe is 70% or greater.
Popular aloe products include:
- Jason Naturals: 98% Aloe Vera Gel. This is one of the finest aloe products on the market. Available as a clear gel, this formula combines a very potent concentration of aloe with the mildly analgesic (pain relieving) and antiseptic properties of tea tree oil.
- Fruit of the Earth: 100% Aloe Vera Gel
- Crabtree & Evelyn: Aloe Vera Hydrating Body Lotion
- The Body Shop: Aloe Protective Serum
Psoriasis is a complex condition with diverse origins for each person whom it affects. Happily, aloe vera is a clinically proven, very accessible remedy. Incorporating aloe in your skin care and psoriasis prevention strategy is sure to result in greater comfort and more beautiful skin.