Medical vs. Natural Psoriasis Treatments

by Alisha Bridges Patient Advocate

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.

IV treatment.
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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.

Woman struggles with making a treatment decision.
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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.

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How long until treatment works?

On average:

  • Biologics take 2-3+ months
  • Topicals take 2+ weeks
  • Foam treatments take 4+ weeks
  • Phototherapy takes 3 months
  • Oral medications take 8+ weeks
Making a choice, arrows going in different directions.
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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.

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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.

Medication and money.
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Cost considerations

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!

Topical ointment.
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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.

Woman rubbing a topical lotion into her skin.
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Topicals

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.

Biologic medication and syringe.
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Biologics

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.

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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.

Doctor helps her patient decide on the best treatment plan.
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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.

Alisha Bridges
Meet Our Writer
Alisha Bridges

Alisha Bridges has dealt with psoriasis since 7 years old after a bad case of chicken pox triggered her disease to spread on over 90% of her body. For years she hid in shame afraid of what people would think of such a visible disease. She has suffered from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks due to psoriasis. Years ago Alisha wrote a letter entitled “My Suicide Letter.” The letter was not about actually killing herself but killing parts of her like low self-esteem, fear, and shame so she could truly live to her fullest potential. This proclamation catapulted her into psoriasis and patient advocacy. Following this letter she created a blog entitled Being Me In My Own Skin where she gives intimate details of what it’s like to live with psoriasis. Alisha is a community ambassador for the National Psoriasis Foundation and has served her community in countless ways to help give a better understanding of what’s it’s like to live with psoriasis. Her life motto is the following: “My purpose is to change the hearts of people by creating empathy and compassion for those the least understood through transparency of self, patient advocacy, and dermatology.” Alisha is also a Social Ambassador for the HealthCentral Skin Health Facebook page.