Psoriasis is a prolonged inflammation of skin. The causes of psoriasis are still unclear. This condition is neither infectious (Do 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
As said earlier according to modern medical science the causes of psoriasis are unknown .But the following factors can trigger psoriasis.
1. Heredity – If one parent is affected then there is 15% of chances for the child to suffer from psoriasis. If both the parents are affected then the possibility of child getting the psoriasis is 60%.
2. Throat infections trigger psoriasis.
3. Trauma or hurt on skin like cuts, bruises or burns may cause psoriasis.
4. Some medicines or skin irritants initiate psoriasis.
5. Smoking and alcohol are other two factors which activate psoriasis.
6. 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 water element of the affected region on skin. Thus the skin which is influenced by affected doshas becomes discolored (white or copper colored), scaly and thin.
Causes of Vitiation of Doshas
1. Consuming opposite foods.
2. Controlling natural urges.
3. Exposure to severe climatic conditions
4. Consuming food that is too salty, too sour and/or too heavy for digestion.
5. Sleeping during the afternoon.
6. Taking bath in cold water immediately after physical exertion.
7. Mental stress.
Changes That Occur on Skin During Psoriasis
It takes 27 days for skin to replace itself with new mature skin cells. But the regions of skin affected by psoriasis the skin replace itself 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 skin and also initiate 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.
• After bath or wash pat dry the skin. Do not rub the towel vigorously on skin.
• 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 moisturizing creams liberally on affected areas after bath.
• Opt for cotton clothes over synthetic ones.
Ayurvedic Tips for Psoriasis
1. Avoid consuming opposite foods.
2. Do not control natural urges like vomiting, urination, bowel emptying etc.
3. Do not take cold water bath immediately after a heavy work out, traveling, a long walk etc.
4. Take care not to consume foods which cause indigestion.
5. Absolutely do not eat too much of salty, sour or acidic foods.
6. Avoid sleeping in afternoons.
7. Say no to radish, urad dal, sesame, jaggery (gur), curds, fish and other sour foods.
8. Always apply besan flour or herbal scrub instead of soap.
9. Smear herbal balm which is infused with vata and kapha balancing herbs.
10. Keep on applying moisturizing gels or creams continuously to maintain the moisture levels of skin.
Dr. Savitha Suri has been an Ayurvedic Practitioner since 1989. After getting a graduation degree in Ayurveda (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) in 1988 from University of Mysore, India, she started practicing Ayurveda . Her articles about Ayurveda have been published in news papers and websites. Ayurhelp.com