going public with psoriasis

Going public with psoriasis

Having psoriasis and being in public are not always a comfortable combination. Our immediate response is either to hide behind the psoriasis, or hide the psoriasis itself. I propose that you shine brightly from behind the psoriasis so that your skin and all its colourful layers go undetected.

My own experience as a college teacher and corporate workshop presenter has been to create a valuable and enjoyable experience for the audience that I am in front of. Their enjoyment then makes my experience under their gaze pleasant. However, no matter how thick skinned I lead myself to believe I am, my patchwork skin is still obvious and attracts curious stares.

There is a series of steps you can take to draw more attention toward your radiant personality and away from your skin.

Preparing your skin for a public event

One day before being in the public eye, have a magnesium bath soak to soften your skin and reduce inflammation. Towards the end of the bath, use a loofa to very gently loosen and remove excess layers of skin.

Gently dry and apply a ceramide rich oil such as wheat germ oil or rice bran oil. This will retain the moisture in your skin and slow down flaking and cracking.

Prepare your inner health

Take anti-inflammatory supplements such as omega 3 fish oil or curcumin combined with pepper, to reduce the thickness and redness associated with inflammation.

Clothing choices

Clothing can be your friend or foe. Whilst covering your skin lesions may seem like a good idea there are some things you need to avoid. Synthetic clothing, clothing with soluble dye and clothing that has been dry cleaned are known irritants of psoriasis.

Food choices

Leading up to your public exposure, eat foods that are easy to digest and have minimal to no processing, sugars or salts. Foods and beverages that are known to stimulate psoriasis outbreaks should be avoided. These foods include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, red meat, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.

Preparing your mind

Having a positive attitude and confidence are the best form of distraction. This disposition can be achieved with positive affirmations, deep breathing and enough sleep in the lead up.

Just do it

I was recently interviewed for a business magazine article which required full-length photos of me. Unfortunately, this happened shortly after a psoriasis outbreak, which had invaded my lower legs. When I had put these techniques into action I felt prepared physically and mentally to be photographed and exposed in print. Surprisingly, during the photoshoot both the photographer and I didn’t realise that I had psoriasis. Do you?

Smooth skin wishes

psoriasis health and psoriasis mindset

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psoriasis hypertension high blood pressure

Managing high blood pressure associated with psoriasis

There is a link between high blood pressure and psoriasis

Research results showed that the more severe the psoriasis, the higher the blood pressure.

In a population-based study in the United Kingdom that is considered the first of its kind, a team led by Junko Takeshita, MD. PhD, found a significant and increasing likelihood of uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) among patients with more severe psoriasis. This result was independent of other risk factors for poor blood pressure and balanced out the hypertension characteristics of alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular disease.

The hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140mm Hg or higher and a diastolic blood pressure of 90mm Hg or higher based on the blood pressure recorded closest in time to the psoriasis severity. The study used an electronic database of medical records of 1322 patients with psoriasis between the ages of 25 and 64 years and were compared to 11,977 patients without psoriasis – all patients had a diagnosis of hypertension.

What this means to the psoriatic

The study raised the question whether an improvement in hypertension affects the severity of psoriasis. For those of us with psoriasis we can raise our own two conclusions from this research:

  1. Monitor and manage our blood pressure closely
  2. Reduce hypertension through relaxation and slow breathing
How can we use this information to help with psoriasis?

Even a single session of mental relaxation or slow breathing can result in a temporary fall in blood pressure.

Both mental relaxation and slow breathing result in a fall in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and electromyographic activity with increase in peripheral skin temperature and skin conductance.

A study published in Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, (June 2006 Volume 14, Issue 2, 120–126) shows the benefits of slow breathing and mental relaxation. One hundred patients with hypertension either receiving antihypertensive drugs or unmedicated were selected randomly.

  • Their blood pressure parameters were recorded during the resting state and then during mental relaxation. The tested patients performed slow breathing for 10 minutes, followed by a quiet period of 15 minutes.
  • All parameters were recorded again after mental relaxation and slow breathing.

After the changes in the parameters were compared following the mental relaxation and slow breathing, the results give us psoriatics some clear steps about how we can manage psoriasis related hypertension:

  • slow breathing caused a significantly higher fall in heart rate (p<0.05), respiratory rate (p<0.001), systolic blood pressure (p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (p<0.01).
  • mental relaxation increased peripheral skin temperature (p<0.05) and a reduction in electromyographic activity (p<0.05)

The tested patients performed slow breathing for 10 minutes, followed by a quiet period of 15 minutes. We know their hypertension improved and therefore we can expect a similar result for ourselves.

By setting aside increments of 25 minutes throughout the day for ourselves for this slow breathing and quiet period routine, and also monitoring our blood pressure, we can reduce high blood pressure associated with psoriasis and give ourselves so many other benefits. Most importantly, were are so busy making skin that we deserve this time out!

Love and wellness

psoriasis health and psoriasis mindset

 

Disclaimer
Reference

JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(2):161-169. Effects of Psoriasis Severity on Hypertension Control

Complement Ther Med. 2006 Jun;14(2):120-6. Effects of mental relaxation and slow breathing in essential hypertension.

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psoriasis triggers risk of psoriasis flare up reduce risk of psoriasis

7 factors that trigger psoriasis

There is a pleasant synergy between the viewpoint of alternative and natural medicine and the findings of clinical research. Psoriasis has no known cure and when we find this correlation that alternative and orthodox medicine can agree on, we can give it credibility, and also our full attention!

Based on the text of Clinical Dermatology, written by dermatologists for dermatology students, there are seven clinically accepted causes of psoriasis outbreaks, which apply to each of the 6 patterns of psoriasis. These 6 psoriasis patterns are:

Plaque psoriasis – This is the most common type. Lesions range from a few millimetres to many centimetres in diameter, are pink or red with large, centrally adherent, silvery-white, polygonal scales usually on the elbows, knees, lower back and scalp.

Guttate psoriasis – This is usually seen in children and adolescents, often triggered by streptococcal tonsillitis. Numerous small round red macules come up suddenly on the torso and soon become scaly.

Scalp psoriasis – The scalp is often involved. Areas of scaling are lumpy and sometimes more easily felt than seen.

Nail psoriasis – Involvement of the nails is common, with ‘thimble pitting’ and separation of the nail from the nail bed

Flexure psoriasis – Psoriasis is in the folds, particularly under breasts, anogenital area and other folds of skin on the body. Psoriasis is not scaly although red plaques glisten and often fissure in the depth of the fold.

Palms and soles psoriasis – Palmar psoriasis lesions are often poorly demarcated and barely recognised. The fingers may develop painful fissures and at times, lesions are inflamed and studded with 1–2 mm pustules

In each of these psoriasis patterns, these are the common precipitating factors that trigger flare ups, based on the belief of clinical dermatology and alternative medical science:

  1. Trauma
  2. Infection
  3. Hormonal
  4. Sunlight
  5. Drugs
  6. Cigarettes
  7. Emotions

Controlling likelihood and consequence

Of the 7 causes that trigger each pattern of psoriasis, it is empowering to realise that we can take control of the likelihood of the trigger occurring, and thereby plan to minimise the consequence of the trigger if it should occur. When we understand the risks, plan to mitigate them, we wind up with a personal strategy that diminishes the impact these triggers have on our psoriasis. Let’s look at some of these strategies:

Trauma trigger

If the psoriasis is active, lesions can appear in skin damaged by scratches or surgical wounds.

Reduce the likelihood by protecting yourself against physical trauma. This may simply mean that you consider personal protective equipment and clothing.

Reduce the impact by considering taking anti-inflammatory supplements during the healing process. An example is curcumin as a supplement as clinical trials have shown great results in using turmeric to reduce psoriasis activity.

Infection trigger

Tonsillitis caused by streptococci often triggers guttate psoriasis. Bacterial exotoxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph) and certain streptococci can act as superantigens and produce massive T-cell proliferation and cytokine production leading to disorders such as toxic shock syndrome and psoriasis.

Reduce the likelihood by protecting yourself against bacterial infection. You can contract streptococcal infection after contact with infected persons. The bacteria are present in saliva and nasal discharge so sneezing, coughing and shaking hands can spread the bacteria.

Reduce the impact by boosting your immune response using natural supplements and whole foods as medicine. Antibiotics is the common treatment for streptococci infection however, psoriatics need to be mindful of the importance of a healthy gut microbiome. If antibiotics are necessary, then a probiotic supplement would help restore the good gut bacteria.

Sunlight trigger

Improves most psoriatics but 10% become worse.

Reduce the likelihood of photosensitivity by choosing early morning or late afternoon sunlight and reducing your time in the sun.  Photosensitivity can be caused by side effects of certain medications. Photoallergic reactions can also develop as a side effect of some medications and chemicals found in beauty products and sunscreen.

Reduce the impact by covering and protecting your skin to help prevent a reaction. By wearing hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves when outside you can reduce its impact.

Drugs trigger

Antimalarials, beta-blockers, and lithium may worsen psoriasis. Psoriasis may ‘rebound’ after withdrawal of treatment with efalizumab, systemic steroids or potent topical steroids.

Reduce the likelihood by considering all natural health options before using potent topical treatments for psoriasis. While clinical trial test drug potency against psoriasis, tests for system wide side effects are often overlooked. A case in point is the drug efalizumab, used to treat psoriasis, which has been withdrawn from the market because it increases risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare and usually fatal disease of the central nervous system. The primary objective of Psoriasislife Mag is to raise awareness of the dangerous side effects of clinical drugs and creams being used to treat psoriasis, and bring to light natural alternative approaches.

Reduce the impact by nurturing the body with only the best possible nutrients available to you so that if the situation arises when you need drugs, your body is well equipped to assimilate the drug and be better adapt at healing.

Emotion trigger

Emotional upsets seem to cause some exacerbations.

Reduce the likelihood by maintaining healthy relationships, leaving relationships that do not serve a benefit, stocking up on sleep, gathering our support team, and shifting our perspective on what we allow to upset us, in other words, we do not sweat the small stuff. Having compassion for others may help to reduce emotional triggers because we focus less on ourselves and our own feelings, and begin to understand what motivates others.

Reduce the impact by finding a value set that resonates well with you. My personal favourite is The Four Agreements, A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz. I use each agreement to work through a situation, take responsibility for what I can and let go of what I cannot be responsible for. Here is a snapshot:

“The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best”

Don Ruiz, you’re welcome!

 

Keep your finger off the trigger and your skin healthy

regi

Disclaimer

Reference:

Clinical Dermatology, Fourth Edition By Richard P.J.B. Weller, John A.A. Hunter, John A. Savin and Mark V. Dahl

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psoriasis diet and psoriasis nutrition

The glorious 7 and the inglorious 7

When it comes to diet and nutrition for psoriasis, there are winners and losers among the things we put into our bodies

It is a common and misguided belief that when we have a health problem we need to take in some substance in order to heal, and overlook that it is equally important to leave out the offenders that are likely to be causing our psoriasis.  It may be that your entire healing depends on what you stay away from.

The inglorious 7

These are the villains. Based on first-hand accounts of the experiences of psoriasis patients and on the research of Dr John Pagano, there are 7 distinct offenders when dealing with psoriasis. Each can easily (and definitely should be) avoided:

  1. Saturated fats such as red meats and processed meats
  2. Nightshades
  3. Sweets
  4. Smoking
  5. Alcohol
  6. Processed foods
  7. Fried foods

If you respond the way I do, you will be surprised at how your psoriasis improves in a matter of days by avoiding these foods. Study each culprit, record your response in your psoriasis journal and do yourself a favour by avoiding these. 

The glorious 7

These are the good guys that can boost your ability to eliminate psoriasis:

  1. Fresh water and plenty of it. 6 glasses a day or more and preferably with lemon juice
  2. Vegetables, (particularly green leafy vegetables, and preferably raw), and tubers. The ratio of your vegetable intake should be 3 that grow above the ground to one that grows below the ground.
  3. Fresh fruit because these are your body cleaners. (Be aware of your personal requirements if you experience candida, yeast-fungi overgrowth or need to control your blood sugar levels)
  4. Fish, poultry and lamb as animal protein. Vegetarians may combine brown rice and beans to make a complete protein.
  5. Probiotics with active cultures.
  6. Olive oil, garlic and lemon juice (right there is a delicious salad dressing!)
  7. Whole grain breads only, however only small portions

Disciplines and disclaimers

Common sense prevails when it comes to nutrition, and if a particular food causes an undesirable reaction it is to be avoided and recorded in your psoriasis journal – even if it appears on the ‘glorious’ list. Discipline should be maintained in the quantity as well as the quality of the food you consume.

It has long been obvious that these 14 foods play a significant role in healing psoriasis.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine upon whose philosophy modern medicine is founded, has given us this wisdom, “Let your food be your medicine – let your medicine be your food”.

Smooth skin wishes

regi

 

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psoriasis diet

Does what we eat pass the litmus test for psoriasis?

The daily diet of the psoriasis and arthritic psoriasis patients should consist of 80 percent alkaline forming foods and 20 percent acid forming foods.

Modern nutritionists agree that fruits are the primary cleansers of the body, while vegetables are considered to be the builders.

All foods are either alkaline forming, acid forming or neutral. The alkaline formers are the lighter, watery type foods that are more easily digested, such as fruits and vegetables. The acid forming foods are the heavier predominantly protein foods, such as meats and grains, which require greater breakdown for proper digestion and absorption. The neutrals are the dairy products such as milks, yoghurt and kefir.

Alkaline forming foods are the more watery types of fruits and vegetables and their juices. Because these foods are broken down more easily by the body, they are more readily digested.

Although most fruits are alkaline forming within the body, these little guys are some exception:

  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Prunes and plums
  • Blueberries

It is worth noting however that the nutritional benefits of these four extraordinary fruits far outweigh the value we place on whether they are acid forming or alkaline forming.

Fruits are divided into three categories: acid, sub acid and sweet. To avoid confusion however, it is worth remembering that these fruits are not acid forming, in fact most acid fruits are alkaline reacting in the body.

Alkaline formers

These should make up 80% of our psoriasis diet (and habits)

  • Granular lecithin
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm water (this maintains a healthy alkalinity as well as aids in internal cleansing)
  • Fruit juices (be wary of pre-packaged fruit juices that are reconstituted or sweetened)
  • Outdoor exercise and physical activity
  • Daily pooping
  • Positive emotions

Acid formers

These should make up 20% of our psoriasis diet (and habits). The following foods and habits tend to increase acidity in the body and should be avoided as much as possible by psoriatics:

  • Too many acid forming foods at the same meal, such as starches with sweets, proteins and meats, meats or fats with sugars, too many starchy foods
  • Cane sugar and any product made with cane sugar
  • Most types of vinegar with the exception of cider vinegar
  • Processed foods that contain preservatives, artificial flavourings, colourings and additives
  • Alcohol, smoking and drugs
  • Constipation
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • Negative emotions

Nightshades

While we are on topic about food choices for a better psoriasis experience, it is worth reminding you to avoid the nightshade foods. The nightshades represent a family of plants that should be totally avoided regardless of their acid-alkaline reaction. The nightshades are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tobacco
  • Eggplant
  • White potatoes
  • Capsicum and Peppers

Nightshades contain irritants to many psoriasis patients, in particular lectins. Nightshades are high in lectins, a substance produced in all plants as a natural pesticide. Lectins ‘stick’ to the small intestine lining and increase the likelihood and symptoms of leaky gut. Leaky gut occurs when undigested carbohydrates or lectins create permeability and gaps in the lining of the small intestine, allowing undigested food particles to escape into the blood stream.

Relating this to your personal psoriasis experience

Based on the importance of alkaline formers in the psoriasis patient’s diet, you can begin to create some of your own personal and enduring daily habits to ease your psoriasis. This would involve a swing towards 80% alkaline forming foods, and building alkalinising thoughts, exercise and elimination habits into each day. Keep a psoriasis journal of your experiences with the 80/20 diet and lifestyle. There have been occasions when I have lost track of the 80/20 rule and lesions have gradually resurfaced without realising why. With each change we make that leads us back to the 80/20 diet and activities, the psoriasis lesions slowly subside again.

With love

 

regi

This article is based on experience, testing and research of peer reviewed articles. Please read our disclaimer.

 

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Eat oil, sun soak and slap on a lotion for psoriasis relief

There is strong evidence to suggest that psoriasis is an immune-mediated disorder and the role of the immune system as the cause for psoriasis is a major topic of research by pharmaceuticals. While research takes time to conclude and be reviewed, there are safe, natural supplements that have proven successful in case studies.

Immune response and psoriasis

Inflammation is the natural response of your body’s immune system to injuries and harmful things that enter your body. The cells of our immune system immediately travel to the site of irritation and cause inflammation. This includes a widening of local blood vessels that result in an outflow of fluid and immune cells into surrounding tissues.

In normal circumstances, the inflammation disappears after the immune response process has removed the irritation – in other cases such as with psoriasis, the inflammation continues without being able to resolve what it came to do. This then leads to a reaction where an excessive amount of skin is produced. How lovely of our body to try its best to help in such a way – but no thanks!

The immediate need of anyone with psoriasis in the meantime, is to soothe the skin and to reduce or remove the inflammation. In the absence of any solid knowledge of cause or cure for psoriasis, it would be safe for psoriatics to rely on food and food supplements as their form of medicine to improve our quality of life.

Here are some successfully tested foods or food additives that have been recorded as being beneficial to psoriasis.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

One of the most popular anti-inflammatory foods are those high in omega 3 fatty acids such as cold water fish, sardines, tuna. For vegetarians, cold pressed flax oil or raw ground flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 oils.
Surprisingly, most western world adults and children are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acid and the body cannot produce this oil, making this an important food or supplement.

The omega 3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and, at high levels, lower cholesterol. The anti-aggregatory, anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids have been confirmed in medical journals as early as 1998. The conditions that benefit from omega 3 include:
• psoriasis
• inflammation
• coronary heart disease
• hypertension
• arthritis
• other autoimmune disorders, and
• cancer

Vitamin D

If you have psoriasis, it is vital that you maintain your Vitamin D levels, as this is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, such as what psoriasis is considered to be.

The World Health Organisation Report on Psoriasis, along with many other peer reviewed reports, considers Vitamin D to be important for immunomodulatory effects in psoriasis, but unfortunately 80 percent of psoriatics in winter, and 50 percent in the summer, are vitamin-D deficient.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D. There are also small amounts of vitamin D in some foods such as fish and eggs but it is difficult to gain enough vitamin D from diet alone. Most people only get five to 10 per cent of their vitamin D from food.

The health experts at Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel warn that UV radiation from the sun is also the main cause of skin cancer. Taking a balanced approach to sun exposure can help make sure you get enough vitamin D while minimising your skin cancer risk.

For vitamin D to be produced, your skin must not be covered with clothing, however, prolonged sun exposure will not increase vitamin D levels further, but will increase the risk of skin cancer. Solariums should never be used to boost vitamin D, as they emit dangerous levels of UV that increase the risk of skin cancer.

Daily exercise also assists with the body’s production of vitamin D.

Magnesium

Magnesium has an important role in complimenting vitamin D as it converts vitamin D into its active form. Magnesium also activates enzyme activity that helps your body use the vitamin D. In fact, all enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium to work. Magnesium is also important for the proper function of calcium.

While I personally find that the pure powder form of magnesium chloride tastes a lot like licking a vehicle engine, I mix it with coconut oil and apply it directly to my skin where it is intended to do its job. I have found over 6 months that the combination of coconut oil and magnesium powder soothes and smooths the skin.

What works for me

The eat, soak and slap routine is a three-part plan that I have personally found to benefit my psoriasis during times of extreme weather and stress. Upon this I have also added nutritional and lifestyle guidelines that are easily incorporated. This routine is simple and cheap to follow and as with all other things I share from my research and own experimentation, please check with your physician if you are on medication, currently ill or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Natural supplements have the benefit of being absorbed by your body without the complexities experienced by synthetic drugs, however I want to make sure that you only ever benefit from the information provided by Psoriasislife.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids or take a supplement, to reduce the inflammation that causes swelling and redness
  2. Soak up the sun to get your weekly intake of vitamin D, taking special care to monitor your UV exposure to avoid skin cancer
  3. Slap on a lotion of coconut oil and magnesium powder – the lauric acid in coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, smooths the skin and carries the magnesium so that you never need to taste it.

Sources:

WHO Psoriasis Info Sheet 3 February 2016
Alternative Medicine Review Volume 12, Number 4 2007
http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/2564887
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-d
Disclaimer:

I’m itching to hear from you when you try this, and of course, wish you the very best outcome.

regi

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