Dr. Villanueva was recently quoted in an article on Mind Body Green. Read the full article
Eat a Low Inflammation Diet
Since one aspect of psoriasis is inflammation, finding ways to reduce and control inflammation can help to keep the condition manageable. There’s also initial research that suggests psoriasis is a condition that may be characterized by a leaky gut (learn more about the concept of “leaky gut” here). Proudman suggests avoiding processed meats and processed foods high in sugar, salt or fat. “Eating anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables decreases inflammation and oxidative stress,” she says.
Austin-based holistic doctor Elena Villaneuva, D.C., confirms there is a direct connection between diet and inflammation. “There is a major connection between gut health and skin health,” Villaneuva says. “We’ve found that the key to reversing most skin conditions is to start on the inside.” She recommends avoiding gluten, sugar, and dairy altogether—as research has shown a connection between these foods and psoriasis.
Use an apple cider vinegar rinse.
Apple cider vinegar is a do-it-all ingredient, and when used as an apple cider vinegar rinse, it can help lower the pH of the hair, giving you the silky, shiny locks you’ve always wanted. Villaneuva says it’s a great natural at-home remedy to alleviate itching and irritation. “Apply an apple cider vinegar rinse to the scalp and wait for it to dry,” she suggests. Once the vinegar has dried, rinse the solution off of the scalp. However, only use this on mild flare-ups: “You’ll want to avoid using apple cider vinegar if your skin is cracked, bleeding, or there are open wounds.” This is safe to repeat a few times a week to reduce irritation.
Make hair care product swaps.
Villaneuva suggests opting for products that are free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. “These ingredients will dry out the skin, which causes further irritation to the scalp,” she warns. Instead, look for ingredients like coconut oil, tea tree oil, turmeric, avocado oil, castor oil, and charcoal. All of these ingredients help to reduce inflammation and remove impurities to balance out the condition of the scalp.
Villanueva’s go-to for immediate relief is a DIY paste made with oats and water. “If you need immediate relief, you can make a paste with crushed oats and water and apply it directly to the skin,” she says. “This will not stop the progression of psoriasis, but it will help to temporarily relieve the scalp as oats are extremely soothing to the skin.”