Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that occurs when the immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy skin tissue caused by inflammation.  It affects approximately 2 percent of the US population. Related psoriatic arthritis is another chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease which manifests with patches of thick red skin with silvery scales called plaque psoriasis.  It typically occurs on knees, elbows, scalp, lower back, face, palms and soles of the feet. Occasionally, it can also affect the toe and fingernails and inside the mouth.

Normal healthy skin surface cells replace each month, but psoriasis causes a pile up of cells that rise up to the surface too rapidly forming a thick layer, possibly as a reaction to the immune system producing too many T cells.  T cells are a type of white blood cell.

Plaque psoriasis symptoms include:

• patches of  red skin, sometimes covered with a silver or white crust
• loose skin or itchy, sensitive lesions, that can also be painful
• scalp dandruff
• skin cracks, which can break open and bleed or bruise easily
• discolored finger or toenails, or toenail fungus
• detaching or painful nails

Contributing factors that cause psoriasis include:

• poor diet
• leaky gut
• protein digestion issues
• emotional stress
• hormonal changes
• genetics
• vitamin D deficiency
• liver function issues

There are several forms of psoriasis, and it can also lead to inflammation of the joints which can affect approximately 15% of psoriasis sufferers. Studies have shown that it can be closely related to intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome.

Any rash must be properly diagnosed by a dermatologist.  Studies have been extensively carried out on the occurrence of psoriasis. The CDC has concluded that it is a large public health problem, and many people may be suffering from it.  Without proper diagnosis or treatment, it can frequently lead to mental distress or mild to severe depression.  It is significantly associated with obesity and former smokers; however, it can affect anyone, male or female and generally in adulthood.

Sally Warren, PhD Naturopathic Doctor
Metro Integrative Pharmacy

Recommended products to help clear Psoriasis:

Topical treatment is very common for psoriasis by applying a cream or ointment to the sore areas.  It is, however, better to treat the root cause, which is not external but internal, often coming from the intestines and from a digestive issue.

Reducing stress can help, so including a form of de-stressing yoga and meditation into your daily routine has been shown to help.  Taking a stress reduction supplement such as GABA or Vitamin B, Ashwagandha, and Holy Basil, Lemon Balm and Valerian has also shown to help.

Drinking more water and soaking in Epsom salt baths can also help reduce the production of the scales.  Aloe Vera can be applied topically to soften and heal the dry patches of skin and reduce the pain.  Eating foods high in zinc or taking a zinc supplement helps the skin heal. On the inside to heal the digestive system, a good probiotic is very important and a high quality Omega -3 supplement, along with Vitamin D has been clinically proven to help psoriasis. Turmeric has shown to reduce inflammation and help to sooth the pain associated with this disease, it can also help reduce the psoriatic arthritis flare-ups.

Milk thistle helps to promote liver detoxification and reduce cellular overgrowth. Essential oils can help with healing the nail areas.  Studies have confirmed that tea-tree oil can help by reducing inflammation and stimulate the immune system.  Lavender oil has a calming and anti-inflammatory property which helps to soothe the skin while healing and promoting healthy regrowth.

Diet has shown to play a large part in psoriasis.  To confirm a food group that could be contributing to the inflammation and disease, it is advised to practice an elimination diet, to try to identify if the flare-up of the disease is related to something being consumed regularly, like dairy, or gluten.  Cutting each group out for a period of at least a month may give good results, and give lasting results when that food is taken out of the regular diet.


Sally Warren, PhD
Board Certified Traditional Naturopathic Doctor
Metro Integrative Pharmacy


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This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.