Psoriasis is a prolonged inflammation of the skin. This condition is neither infectious (does not spread from one person to another) nor does it affect the general health. It affects both the genders and may start at any age.

Psoriasis is quite common, affecting around two per cent of the population, although people with very mild symptoms may not be aware they have it. Psoriasis can begin at any age but usually starts either around the age of 20 or between 50 and 60.

Causes of Psoriasis

According to modern medical science the causes of psoriasis are unknown, but the following factors can trigger psoriasis:

  • Heredity – If one parent is affected then there is 15% chance for a child to suffer from psoriasis. If both parents are affected then the possibility of a child getting psoriasis is 60%.
  • Throat infections can trigger psoriasis.
  • Trauma to the skin such as cuts, bruises or burns may cause psoriasis.
  • Some medicines or skin irritants initiate psoriasis.
  • Smoking and alcohol are another two factors which can activate psoriasis.
  • Mental stress or psychological trauma may also set off psoriasis.

What does Ayurveda say about Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is caused by vitiation of vata and kapha dosha. The vitiated doshas affect the skin and blood tissues. They also influence the water element of the affected region on the skin. Thus the skin which is influenced by the affected doshas becomes discolored (white or copper coloured), scaly and thin.

Causes of Vitiation of Doshas

  • Consuming opposite foods.
  • Controlling natural urges.
  • Exposure to severe climatic conditions.
  • Consuming food that is too salty, too sour and/or too heavy for digestion.
  • Sleeping during the afternoon.
  • Taking a bath in cold water immediately after physical exertion.
  • Mental stress.

Changes that Occur on the Skin during Psoriasis

It takes 27 days for healthy skin to replace itself with new mature skin cells, but the regions of skin affected by psoriasis replace themselves within 3-4 days with plenty of immature skin cells forming thick psoriatic patches.

According to Ayurveda principles the vitiated vata dries the water element of the skin and also initiates rapid growth of skin tissue. The vitiated kapha dosha causes itching on the affected skin. The blood which is affected by vata and kapha adversely influences healing process.

Self Care for Psoriasis

  • Avoid all factors which trigger psoriasis.
  • Reduce stress levels through meditation and yoga.
  • Do not prick, peel or scratch skin. This may trigger psoriasis.
  • Avoid soap. Instead use gram flour (besan flour), as soap dries the skin.
  • After washing, pat the skin dry, don’t irritate it by rubbing vigorously.
  • Apply moisturising creams liberally on affected areas after bathing.
  • Opt for cotton clothes over synthetic ones.

Ayurvedic Tips for Psoriasis

  • Avoid consuming opposite foods.
  • Do not control natural urges like vomiting, urination, bowel emptying, etc.
  • Do not take a cold water bath immediately after a heavy work out, travelling, a long walk, etc.
  • Take care not to consume foods which cause indigestion.
  • Absolutely do not eat too much salty, sour or acidic foods. Say no to radishes, urad dal, sesame, jaggery (gur), curds, fish and other sour foods.
  • Avoid sleeping in afternoons.
  • Always apply besan flour or a herbal scrub instead of soap.
  • Smear on herbal balm which is infused with vata and kapha balancing herbs.
  • Keep on applying moisturising gels or creams continuously to maintain the moisture levels of skin.

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