After dealing with psoriasis for almost 20 years with no relief, I was almost willing to try anything to rid myself of the irritating disease. I experimented with supplements, or using certain bath oils, all with no relief. I remember trying to go gluten free, which only lasted about 3 weeks, and was honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve done. It felt as though I was missing a big part of my diet. But I have to admit, I probably didn’t do as much research as I should have before I attempted the new lifestyle.
The tricky thing about treating psoriasis is that it affects everyone differently. What works for one group of people may not work for the next.
Yet one of the biggest debates between psoriasis sufferers is comparing natural treatment for psoriasis and medications (topicals, biologics, oral, phototherapy, IV). Which one is best? What are the options? Let’s review the pros and cons of both.
Time and convenience is a big factor when it comes to treatment. How much time you’ll end up spending depends on the treatment you decide to use. My 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 real changes. Additionally, the persistence it takes to use certain treatments has always been my downfall. The most disappointing thing is to be dedicated to something that takes 3-5 months to work, only to see that it doesn’t work for you.
With that being said, using natural treatments to get rid of psoriasis is the safest method if you find it does work for you. If so, then it’s worth the sacrifice. In addition to the possibility of clearer skin, a healthier diet will always be the way to go regardless if it helps your disease or not.
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 found I would only remain clear with continuous use of the treatment. I also could only bad avoid side effects if I stopped using for just a short period of time.
In using biologics, I’ve had positive and negative experiences. In one case, the treatment cleared my back while the rest of my body remained covered. In contrast, my current medication only took a few months to clear my skin completely, and only requires me to receive a shot every 3 months.
In this case, what doesn’t cost you time, will cost you money.
So what does that mean exactly? Well, the medicines that work the fastest and are most convenient, are usually the most expensive. Some examples include biologics or oral medications. Just the other day, I was talking to a fellow psoriasis friend who mentioned his treatment costs him $50,000 a year! Now, he luckily has insurance, which greatly reduces the price, but not everyone is as fortunate.
Although natural treatments can be time consuming and a daunting day to day task, it will be way cheaper than using the new and more effective treatments for psoriasis. In my experience, prescription topicals are typically the cheapest traditional form of treatment, but these too can get costly. Just the other day I requested a prescription for dark spots, and the cost for a small tube of this medicine was $575 dollars.
This is where your lifestyle becomes very important in decision making. Which are you willing to sacrifice: time, convenience, or cost? Unfortunately, you can’t have all three when treating psoriasis.
Natural treatments don’t start off as convenient, because it usually requires a lifestyle change that you aren’t used to. For example, if you decide to go gluten free, this means you must do so in all aspects of life, including when you go out to eat. Fortunately, gluten-free dining is becoming a trend at restaurants, but you still may have limited options.
For traditional treatments, you’ll find that convenience varies. I dislike using ANYTHING that requires me to use it 2-3 times a day, which most topical treatments do. I do, however, use a daily over-the-counter lotion. At times I even find that hard to adhere to, so using a medicine 2-3 times a day is not for me. But that being said, topical treatments are way less expensive if you’re considering these as your main line of defense.
Personally, biologics are best for me. These come in shots every 1-3 months (depending on the option). If biologics work for you, it can clear at least 75 percent of your psoriasis or more. However, it is important that you are mindful of possible severe side effects that are only associated with biologics, and not with topicals or oral medications.
So which type of treatment will it be? Natural or traditional medicines? Now that you’ve got a good idea of what to expect with each medication, talk with your doctor to find the medication perfect for you.
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.