Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin, scalp, and nails. It causes extra skin cells to build up on the surface of the skin that form grey, itchy patches that sometimes crack and bleed. Psoriasis can also develop in the joints (psoriatic arthritis). You may have psoriasis for life, and symptoms can come and go. The size of the skin patches and where they are located vary from person to person and from one outbreak to the next. The condition seems to run in families.

It’s not clear what triggers all episodes, but stress is often a factor. Episodes can occur when the skin gets irritated by the sun, harsh wind, or cold weather. Viruses can also trigger flare-ups. The condition is worse in people who are overweight, smoke tobacco, and drink more than one drink per day for women and two for men. Psoriasis isn’t related to any mental health condition, but people who have it can experience depression.

Psoriasis can be uncomfortable and hard to treat. Medical treatments include prescription medicines that alter immune function, reduce inflammation, and slow skin cell growth. Light therapy is another treatment, which is done under a doctor’s supervision. Topical over-the-counter treatments like salicylic acid, cortisone creams, and moisturizers can also reduce symptoms. But often these options don’t work for every flare-up.

Some people with psoriasis find that using goat’s milk soap makes their skin feel better. Others claim that replacing cow’s milk with goat’s milk in their diets is effective at reducing psoriasis symptoms. If these approaches work for you, there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to try goat’s milk.

Some people with psoriasis think their condition worsens when they drink cow’s milk. They cite the protein casein as a potential contributor to flare-ups. There is no contemporary research supporting this theory. But if cutting out cow’s milk makes your skin clearer, or stops joint pain, give it a try. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D from other nondairy dietary sources like dark green vegetables, salmon, and canned baked beans.

In general, the best diet for keeping a healthy weight and keeping your heart and body in good condition is one that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon, flaxseed, and some tree nuts contribute to heart health and may also improve skin health.

Topical application of omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce skin symptoms. There are many claims that soaps and creams made from goat’s milk help clear psoriasis skin patches. Some of these soaps also contain ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as olive oil.

Finding the right treatment for your psoriasis can be a challenge. Keep a food or treatment diary to help you find solutions. Write down what you eat, what you apply to your skin, and any changes in your skin’s condition. Do what you can to reduce stress, keep alcohol low, cut out tobacco.