What is inverse psoriasis?

Inverse psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that commonly appears as a shiny red rash in skin folds, such as the armpits, the genitals, and underneath the breasts. Inverse psoriasis doesn’t have scales because of the moist environment where it appears. People with inverse psoriasis may experience discomfort because the rash appears in sensitive, tender areas.

If you have inverse psoriasis, you may also have another type of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes red patches on the skin that often develop raised, silvery scales. Other types of psoriasis include:

  • guttate psoriasis
  • pustular psoriasis
  • erythrodermic psoriasis

What causes psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that attacks healthy skin cells. Some people believe genetics plays a role in getting psoriasis. Environmental and other triggers can cause psoriasis to flare up. Some triggers include:

  • illnesses
  • stress
  • skin injuries
  • smoking
  • certain medications

Obesity, sweat, and friction of the skin can make inverse psoriasis outbreaks worse.

You may discover you have psoriasis after seeing your doctor for a rash or lesion that will not clear on its own. You and your doctor can discuss options for this lifelong condition and determine the best course of management for your psoriasis.

Treating inverse psoriasis

Psoriasis is an incurable condition. You can manage it many different ways. You should avoid triggers that may worsen your symptoms. You should also seek treatment options. These include topical products, light therapy, and medications. Your doctor can help determine the best treatment plan for you.

Many prescription treatments are available for treating the symptoms of inverse psoriasis. Some first-line treatments are:

  • topical steroids
  • coal tar
  • vitamin D, or calcipotriene (Sorilux, Calcitrene, Dovonex)
  • anthralin

Skin folds can breed yeast and other infections. If this occurs, your doctor will need to examine you to determine the proper treatment. Fungal infections may require additional medications.

Read more: Psoriasis treatment »

For persistent and more severe inverse psoriasis, your doctor may also prescribe light therapy or other medications.

5 Natural treatments for inverse psoriasis

You may want to consider natural treatments to complement prescribed medications or to reduce the chance of a psoriasis flare-up. There are many natural options you can try that can help your psoriasis symptoms. Scientists haven’t proven that all of these treatments work.

It’s important to speak with your doctor before trying any new treatments, including natural treatments. They may react with medications or other treatments you’re using.

1. Healthy lifestyle habits

One way to manage psoriasis is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Obesity and a poor diet can worsen the condition. A study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that losing weight could help improve psoriasis. Losing weight can also make psoriasis treatments more effective.

Simple ways to be healthier include:

  • incorporating whole foods into your diet, such as fruits and vegetables
  • eating lean meats and other healthy proteins
  • reducing your intake of sugar and other processed foods

You should also exercise to lose or maintain a healthy weight.

2. Herbal therapies

Some people believe that certain herbal therapies can treat psoriasis. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found evidence that Mahonia aquifolium may be an effective psoriasis treatment. M. aquifolium is a species of grape found in Oregon. A 10 percent concentration of the plant may help mild to moderate psoriasis. You should only use it topically unless you’re using it an alternative way under the direction of your doctor.

There’s also some evidence that aloe vera, neem, and sweet whey extracts may help psoriasis.

There are other herbal therapies that may work. You can try apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil to treat scalp psoriasis. Ingesting 1.5 to 3 grams (g) of turmeric per day may reduce psoriasis symptoms.

3. Nutritional supplements

Evidence suggests that nutritional supplements can help psoriasis symptoms. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate nutritional supplements. Brands of supplements can vary widely. If you experience any side effects from using nutritional supplements, stop using them.

The following supplements may help treat psoriasis symptoms:

You should only take fish oil supplements in small doses. Taking more than 3 g per day can impact blood clotting, thin your blood, and lower blood pressure. Side effects include an unpleasant aftertaste, heartburn, and nausea.

Vitamin D is in many foods, such as salmon, vitamin-D fortified drinks like milk and orange juice, and eggs. You can also get vitamin D from sunlight, though you should only get exposure to sunlight for 10 minutes at a time.

4. Mind-body interventions

Stress is a recognized trigger for psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions. There are several methods you can use to incorporate mind-body practices into your daily life:

  • Practice aromatherapy. Use certain oils, such as chamomile, rose, and lavender, in a diffuser or a bath to reduce stress.
  • Meditate by yourself or in a group setting for just a few minutes per day or longer.
  • Practice mindfulness to reduce stress and increase your tolerance for physical and emotional pain caused by psoriasis.

5. Destination treatments

Evidence suggests that bathing in natural springs and being exposed to sunshine can alleviate psoriasis symptoms. This is known as balneotherapy or balneophototherapy. The Dead Sea in the Mediterranean is known for its healing qualities because it has a high percentage of salt in its water and its elevation below sea level provides optimal sunlight.

There are some hot springs and mineral springs in the United States where you can get this treatment.

The takeaway

One of these treatments may help your inverse psoriasis. Talk to your doctor before beginning any natural treatments. Discontinue any treatment that causes irritation, pain, or an allergic reaction.