Medical vs. Natural Psoriasis Treatments
Alisha Bridges | May 17, 2016 Nov 7, 2016
Reviewed by Michael Lehrer, MD on July 16, 2017
After dealing with psoriasis for almost 20 years without relief, I was willing to try almost anything – experimenting with supplements, bath oils, a gluten-free diet, and more. Let’s review the pros and cons of medical and natural psoriasis treatments.
Why is treating psoriasis so tricky?
Psoriasis affects each person differently. What works for one person may not work for the next. There are a number of treatment options – including natural remedies, medications, phototherapy, and IV treatments.
Factors to consider
Time and convenience are big factors when it comes to choosing and sticking with a psoriasis treatment. Personal research suggests that natural treatments take quite a bit of time to work. At best, it can take 3-5 months using a natural remedy consistently before you see any improvement.
How long until treatment works?
- Biologics take 2-3+ months
- Topicals take 2+ weeks
- Foam treatments take 4+ weeks
- Phototherapy takes 3 months
- Oral medications take 8+ weeks
What are you willing to sacrifice?
This is where your lifestyle becomes very important in making decisions about psoriasis treatment. Which are you willing to sacrifice: time, convenience, or cost? Unfortunately, you can’t have all three when treating psoriasis.
Persistence and potential disappointment
It can be disappointing to persist in your psoriasis treatment regimen for 3 to 5 months, only to realize that the therapy doesn’t work for you. However, natural treatments are the safest option and healthy lifestyle changes – a healthier diet, for example – do provide additional benefits.
When it comes to psoriasis medications, the medicines that work the fastest and are the most convenient are usually the most expensive. Some examples include biologics or oral medications. A friend with psoriasis recently mentioned that his treatment costs him $50,000 a year!
Less expensive options
Although natural treatments can be time consuming, and using them can be a daunting day-to-day task, they usually are cheaper than newer and more effective treatments for psoriasis. In my experience, prescription topicals are typically the most inexpensive traditional form of psoriasis treatment.
Although some topicals work quickly, they are not necessarily the best for psoriasis. I’ve used topicals that cleared my psoriasis in 2 weeks, but only remained clear with continuous use of the treatment. I also experienced side effects if I didn’t stop using the medicine for a period of time.
In using biologics, I’ve had positive and negative experiences. In one case, treatment cleared my back but not the rest of my skin. My current psoriasis medication only took a few months to clear my skin completely, and only requires me to receive a shot every 3 months.
What works for me
Personally, biologics – administered every 1-3 months, depending on the medication - are best psoriasis treatment for me. If a biologic works for you, it can clear at least 75 percent of your psoriasis or more, but it’s important to be aware of possible severe side effects.
Which treatment for you?
Now that you have a better idea about the pros and cons of each psoriasis treatment, talk with your doctor to find the best treatment option – medical or natural – for you.