At a loss for how to treat plaque psoriasis? Learn simple solutions to address your discomfort so you can get back to enjoying daily life.

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Plaque Psoriasis: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

06/18/20228 min read

When an existing skin condition starts to have new and different symptoms, it can be scary. For autoimmune disorders like plaque psoriasis, the look and feel of what you experience can change day by day, with new triggers causing flare-ups and new treatments taking effect.

In this article, we cover what causes psoriasis and triggers flare-ups, as well as options for treating your condition.

Table Of Contents

Plaque psoriasis on the skin

Is This Plaque Psoriasis?

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and is associated with raised skin patches. These patches may flake off or look like scales.

Plaque psoriasis is a more common skin condition than you might think — sufferers of all ages and lifestyles battle this uncomfortable issue. It can also affect more than just how you feel physically — the appearance of flaky, cracked skin can destroy your confidence.

Plaque psoriasis can happen to anyone who experiences psoriasis flare-ups, but genetics do play a role in who may experience plaque psoriasis; those with relatives who have psoriasis are more likely to develop it.

Psoriasis is usually located on the hands, feet, knees, elbows, and back. But flare-ups can also happen on the scalp, genital area, or the palms and soles of the feet.

If you suspect you have psoriasis, it’s important to speak to a doctor who can help you determine if what you are experiencing is plaque psoriasis.

Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:

  • Flaking
  • Raised bumps
  • Peeling
  • Dryness
  • Redness or Purpleness
  • Fissures
  • Itching

Whether these symptoms are new or your journey with plaque psoriasis has lasted many years, the good news is that there are treatments available. Besides medical interventions, simple changes in diet and skin care can help relieve discomfort and promote clearer-looking skin over time.

We’ll discuss treatment options a bit later in this article. For now, let’s take a look at what causes psoriasis and triggers flare-ups.

Man scratching skin on his hands

Plaque Psoriasis Causes And Triggers

Psoriasis is caused by an autoimmune disease that makes the skin cells reproduce too quickly, but many factors can contribute to plaque psoriasis flare-ups. The reason for a flare-up is not always easily identified and can vary by person.

Common triggers include:

  • Medications
  • Stress
  • Skin injuries
  • Dry or cold weather
  • Illness and autoimmune disorders

Flare-ups usually last from a few weeks to a few months and are followed by a period when the skin clears. These flare-ups can happen at any time, and it’s impossible to predict exactly how long they will last.

Remission (times when your skin clears of psoriasis completely) is possible and typically lasts from one to 12 months. Remission can occur as a result of treatments or on its own when environmental triggers are removed or your immune system stops attacking your skin.

It’s important to note that if psoriasis is met with an infection in the skin, it can worsen your symptoms and lengthen the time of your flare-up. Be sure to see a doctor if your skin is showing signs of infection, such as oozing or crusting.

Some progressions of psoriasis are serious medical emergencies and require immediate professional care. For example, systemic psoriasis, while rare, can be dangerous. These types of psoriasis are often accompanied by fever, low body temperature, swelling, and heart failure.

Seek immediate medical help if you notice any of these symptoms.

Lower back with psoriasis

4 Different Options For Treating Plaque Psoriasis

If you are in search of non-invasive and alternate remedies to ease your symptoms, there are many things you can try. Let’s take a look.

1) Lifestyle Changes

If you haven’t already assessed your diet, you may want to track what you’re eating and drinking when a flare-up happens. In general, eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, which can help your skin heal sooner.

For example, ingesting natural anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, such as turmeric and garlic, or fish oils can help general symptoms.

Foods that can cause inflammation include red meat, highly processed foods, high-sugar foods, coffee, and alcohol. Avoiding these foods can make a difference in the severity of your plaque psoriasis.

The next step in treating your psoriasis is to avoid as many triggers as possible. You can only control so much of your surroundings, so prioritize what you can control, such as minimizing the stressors in your life.

Good sleep, hydration, healthy eating habits, and spending time socializing are essential to your overall health as well as the health of your skin

2) Topical Treatments

Beyond diet and lifestyle changes, other remedies can help relieve your symptoms. A bath with Epsom salt, bath oils, or rolled oats can soothe and soften the skin. Try a 15-minute soak, but don’t expose your skin to hot water for too long as it can dry your skin out more.

To lock in moisture after bathing, gently dry your skin. Then, use a moisturizer for sensitive skin to soothe any irritation and prevent further flares. This is an important step since dryness can trigger psoriasis symptoms.

For an extra boost of hydration, leave your skin slightly damp before applying moisturizer. This creates an even more protective layer on your skin.

You can also try an apple cider vinegar scalp rinse to relieve burning and itching on your scalp. Mix two to four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 16 ounces of water, pour the mixture over your scalp after shampooing and conditioning, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse.

Other natural options can make a difference in your plaque psoriasis symptoms, too. Learn more about natural remedies for psoriasis here.

3) Moisturizing Products

In addition to simple lifestyle changes, try using skincare products that were created to treat psoriasis symptoms.

Bodewell Psoriasis Calming Cream, for example, is uniquely formulated with natural botanical ingredients and clinically proven salicylic acid to help relieve itchiness, irritation, redness, flaking, and scaling. It works over time to reduce psoriasis flare-ups and improve skin appearance.

For your scalp, try Psoriasis Scalp Relief Treatment to reduce flaking and relieve itching without adding oiliness to your hair.

4) UV Therapy

As effective as topical treatments and natural remedies can prove to be, there are cases of plaque psoriasis that need something extra to really reduce the symptoms. A great option for those with stubborn psoriasis is using nature’s medicine: sunlight.

UV light therapy, or phototherapy, can slow a flare-up and aid in the healing of plaque psoriasis. This is because the UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun slow down the reproduction of skin cells.

The easiest method is to just spend more time outside under the sun. Natural light can also help reduce your stress and tension, so it’s a win-win. But if you don’t live in a sunny climate, find a clinic that offers phototherapy and talk to a dermatologist about getting professional treatments.

Make sure that you spend an amount of time in the sun that’s appropriate for your skin. If you have darker skin, you may need more time in the sun to see results. If you have lighter skin, too much time in the sun can cause sunburn, which may lead to further flare-ups.

Note: Watch how long you spend outside, and always cover up or wear sunscreen on areas without psoriasis plaques.

Dispygmentation, or scarring from a psoriasis flare-up, is also something to consider. The good news is that treating psoriasis promptly can help minimize dispygmentation, which is not always permanent.

Many cases of psoriasis benefit from UV light therapy, medications, or injections. Ask a doctor about available treatment options for your specific case.

Woman happy with clear skin

Trying New Solutions

Psoriasis flare-ups can be stressful, especially when they progress to plaque psoriasis. Try out one of our suggested solutions to ease your symptoms and help treat your skin, or find the right combination that works for you.

Remember not to overwhelm your skin with too many changes at once, as that can lead to irritation and make it hard to see what’s working and what’s not. Try one new solution at a time and observe the results it has on your skin before you add another.

Although you might feel like nothing you’ve tried yet works, remember you are not alone in this journey. Healthcare professionals are working hard to constantly upgrade and create treatments that will help you live a more comfortable, confident life in your skin.

Plaque psoriasis doesn’t need to define you. Try a new solution today. Better skin days are on the horizon!

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