Share This Article
We all know that long-term use of cortisone (steroids) can lead to osteoporosis, Cushing’s syndrome, obesity, diabetes, etc. But many people still treat their psoriasis by applying steroid ointments. Steroids ointments may bring some relief within the first weeks of treatment, but this is only on the surface. Using steroids for psoriasis treatments worsens the condition and leads to side effects like stretch marks, acne (pimples), thinning of the skin, and more. This article discusses why you should never use steroid creams or ointment for treating psoriasis.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin disorder affecting 2-3% of all adults in India. The word ‘psoriasis’ is derived from Greek, meaning ‘itching condition.’ Psoriasis causes redness and irritation on different parts of the body. The most common areas where psoriasis occurs include knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. Stiffness felt in the joints is an important feature.
Psoriasis can affect people of any age, including children, but it appears more frequently in adults aged between 15-40 years. Generally, this skin disorder is not an inherited problem; however, if your parents or sibling has psoriasis, you are at high risk of developing this disease (if other factors like stress, etc., are present). Most often, psoriasis appears without any known reason (idiopathic) or due to an injury. There is no scientific evidence that psoriasis is contagious (that you can spread this disease to other people or that they can catch it from you).
Symptoms and Signs of psoriasis
Psoriasis causes redness, swelling, and irritation over the affected areas. The skin develops sores (often called plaques) raised above the surrounding skin level (this condition is called Psoriatic plaque).
These lesions may be very itchy, but scratching instead will worsen the condition by breaking down newly formed scales and making the lesion bleed. These lesions also often have a silvery-white appearance because of a protein called ‘psoriasin.’ You must consult a doctor if your Psoriasis affects your everyday life, such as interfering with your ability to walk or work.
Various types of psoriasis:
There are various types of psoriasis: plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, etc. The most common type of psoriasis is called plaque psoriasis. The sores usually develop on the skin of the elbows, knees, lower spine, or scalp.
How does steroid treatment work for psoriasis?
Steroid medicines (such as Prednisone) are used to treat psoriasis by lowering the immune system’s response, which is responsible for causing redness and irritation over the affected areas. Steroids can also help reduce inflammation that occurs due to this condition.
Why are steroids given as psoriasis treatment?
Doctors often prescribe steroids as a psoriasis treatment because they are fast-acting and relieve the symptoms within a week. In addition to this, you can also apply steroid ointments directly to the skin lesions (whereas for internal use of steroids, you need to take them with food).
Does usage of steroids cause dependency?
Yes, long-term usage of steroids does lead to skin changes that are similar to psoriasis. These changes include redness, thinning of the skin, stretch marks, etc., which are common side effects of steroid treatment.
What are the complications caused by prolonged steroid use?
Prolonged use of steroids leads to many other problems like acne (pimples), thinning of the skin, increased risk for infections, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis (bone fragility), Cushing’s syndrome, obesity, etc., The most important complication is ‘Cushing’s Syndrome’ wherein you develop symptoms like high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. This condition can also increase your risk of getting cardiovascular diseases in the future.
Why is there a need to avoid the use of steroids in psoriasis?
If you have been taking steroids for a long time, it is recommended to choose other options for your treatment. In addition, if your symptoms are not improving even after one month of using steroid creams or ointments, then it is wise to visit a dermatologist. If you give up using steroids too early without consulting a doctor, then the chances of relapse increase.
Is it safe to use steroids for psoriasis?
Though steroids seem like an effective way to control psoriasis, there are various reasons why you should avoid using these medications. These problems include:
1) Steroids have no role in treating the underlying cause of psoriasis. An infection or injury does not cause psoriasis, so steroids will never cure it
2) It’s difficult to stop using steroids once you start. Similarly, depending on the strength of steroid medicine used for treatment, your blood sugars might go up significantly (called ‘Hyperglycemia’), and you may even gain weight
3) Steroids can cause stretch marks and thinning skin
4) When used over a more extended period, these medicines can cause other health problems like osteoporosis (weakening of bones), hypertension (high blood pressure), physical and mental fatigue, and much more
5) The harmful effects of steroid tablets are prolonged, so if taken for a long time, they may also increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, obesity, etc.
6) There are newer and better treatments available for psoriasis (as prescribed by your doctor); so you should not depend on steroids
7) Steroids can also cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, etc., which will reduce the intake of medicines required to treat psoriasis itself!
What should be done if I don’t wish to take steroids?
You can go for alternative treatment options, such as
PUVA therapy is the combination of Psoralen (a drug that helps light-sensitive skin) and ultraviolet radiation (UVA rays), which are given along with oral medications like methoxsalen. This treatment is also called ‘photochemotherapy.’
Biologics: Biologics are newer forms of medicines, which can help control psoriasis better than steroids. Though they may take time to show effect, you will be able to see your symptoms almost disappearing within days after starting on this medication regimen.
Phototherapy: Phototherapy involves exposing your body parts affected by psoriasis to sunlight or artificial lights. Ultraviolet B rays can help slow down the growth of cells that cause psoriasis on your skin surface, but you need to use sunscreens to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
Narrowband UVB phototherapy: This phototherapy is the most preferred treatment option for psoriasis as it requires short visits.
As seen, there are many reasons why you should avoid using steroids to treat your psoriasis. Instead of taking steroids, use PUVA therapy or narrowband UVB phototherapy to control your condition better. No matter what treatment you choose, make sure you start this therapy only after discussing it with your dermatologist.
Is it safe to use Natural medications for psoriasis?
It is always advisable to try natural remedies for psoriasis. Too many steroids can lead to skin problems like eczema and psoriasis, so it is best to avoid them. Though there are many medications available in the market, which contain herbal extracts (tried and tested by our ancestors) to treat psoriasis, make sure that you take only those medicines prescribed by your doctor. This will help protect you from side effects, as well as ensure quick healing of symptoms.
Don’t forget to take the advice of an expert before starting on any medication or treatment program. Here are some natural treatments you can consider for psoriasis:
- Gotu kola: Gotu kola has been traditionally used to treat psoriasis. Its extracts can be applied directly to the affected areas to relieve your discomfort.
- Stinging nettles: This is another herb that has proven benefits for treating psoriasis. It contains certain plant compounds, which are believed to help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Some oils, such as olive oil, fish oil, and flaxseed oil, contain Omega-3 fatty acids. They are well known for reducing inflammation caused by psoriasis.
- Turmeric spice: Curcumin present in turmeric can help lift your mood and reduce stress. This compound also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
- Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera gel has antioxidant properties that can heal psoriasis faster. It also contains anti-inflammatory agents, which help reduce swelling and skin discomfort.
- Oatmeal bath: Soaking in water mixed with powdered oatmeal can help reduce skin irritation and itching. It also prevents your skin from dryness caused by psoriasis.
- Neem oil: Neem is used extensively for its medicinal properties. The active ingredient present in neem, known as azadirachtin, is responsible for most of this herb’s benefits.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and soothing effects of coconut oil on inflammation.
- Flaxseed oil: Flaxseed oil or linseed oil can be applied to your skin to relieve symptoms of psoriasis. It is because flaxseed contains Omega -3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation.
Other ways to control psoriasis are:
- Eating healthy for controlling psoriasis
- It is essential to take a balanced diet for the proper functioning of your body. A well-balanced diet helps you maintain optimal weight levels, provides the required amount of nutrients needed for the different organs in your body, reduces chances for infections, etc. You should eat foods high in Omega – 3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel) for reducing inflammation caused by psoriasis. Also, include fruits and vegetables in your regular diet.
- Doing physical exercises daily is essential to stay fit and healthy. It helps to burn calories, reduces stress levels, and makes you feel good about yourself. Physical activity is significant for controlling the inflammation caused by psoriasis, as it helps to reduce the chances of infections.
- Manage your stress
- Studies show that stress could cause psoriasis flare-ups. So make sure you avoid stressful situations as far as possible. Also, learn some relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation that could help control your stress levels.
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
- Smoking or drinking too much alcohol puts an extra burden on the heart and liver functions, responsible for eliminating harmful toxins from our bodies. Excessive smoking can also trigger psoriatic arthritis in some people. This is because nicotine present in cigarettes results in swelling of blood vessels, which provides the required nourishment to the affected areas. Avoid all this by staying away from smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.
Homeopathic medicine for psoriasis:
Homeopathic medicines have more benefits than steroids and other drugs. These medicines contain natural ingredients that help improve immunity and reduce psoriatic flares on their own without any side effects.
You must consult the best homeopathic doctor who understands your condition well, performs a complete physical examination to understand your problem in detail before prescribing medicine for your treatment.
It is better to avoid harmful steroid-based ointments or injections as most of these are not prescribed by an experienced dermatologist, which may lead to post-injection effects.
The most effective way of avoiding all these is to use Homeopathy for treating Psoriasis. Visit our clinic with medical reports if possible. We have successfully treated many cases of Psoriasis with remitting results. Use homeopathic medicines under the guidance of an expert homeopathy doctor.
Some of the most common homeopathic medicines used for psoriasis treatment are:
Arsenic album: Arsenic album is a great way to reduce itching and redness caused by psoriasis. The best thing about this remedy is that it also cures the underlying cause of psoriasis, which helps in getting rid of this disease.
Thuja occidentalis: This medicine is prescribed for people having thick and scaly skin patches. Also, it reduces scaling associated with psoriasis.
Sulphur: Sulphur works well in case you have red patches on your body covered with silvery scales. It can also cure thickened patches on your elbows and knees.
Sanicula Aqua: If you have psoriasis with frequent skin infections, then you must use this medicine. It is highly beneficial in case of itchiness and redness caused by psoriasis.
Calcarea carbonic: This is one of the most common remedies for psoriasis. Calcareacarbonica can be used in various forms like ointments, tablets, or homeopathic globules to cure your disease.
Kreosoteum: If you have thick red patches on your body that do not heal even after applying any ointment, try using creosote. The best part about this medicine is that it gets rid of the underlying cause of psoriasis without causing any side effects.
There are many more homeopathic medicines used for psoriasis treatment. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy and take proper homeopathic remedies from the best-experienced homeopathy doctor.
In addition to this, you can also use some essential tips for avoiding psoriasis flare-ups. They are:
- You must avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively as these can trigger psoriatic arthritis. Also, the chemicals present in cigarettes and alcohol harm your body’s immune system, which aggravates psoriasis condition
- Avoid stressful situations as far as possible because stress affects our immune system that causes psoriasis
- Do not remove dry scales from your skin quickly to avoid infections. This may lead to dermatitis
- Wear cotton clothes while sleeping. This will help prevent itching during sleep at night time!
Book an appointment now through OHO Homeopathy for more details!