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 and mind body affirmations

Psoriasis and Crisis

There is an unfortunate yet distinct correlation between the state of our psoriasis and the state of our emotional wellness.  Both trigger one another and we are sometimes unsure which happened first!

You may experience this first hand. Does your psoriasis become raised, red and itchy several days following an emotional ‘crisis’ such as anxiety, fear, anger or sadness? This is the link between psoriasis and crisis.

What we consider to be a crisis may be simply a hurdle to another person. We have complete control of the way we perceive a situation and this means we can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by it, or not. Ironically people who have become resilient through their life experiences are less likely to become overwhelmed, and the worldview is that psoriasis sufferers are a resilient and strong bunch.

We can control our response to negative emotions much better than we can control our psoriasis so it makes sense to improve the way we manage crisis, so that we can improve our psoriasis.

Improving how we deal with crisis

Build your emotional armour at the start of each day

Begin your waking moments with gratitude. Regardless of your circumstances, you can be grateful simply because you have the gift of a new day, the ability to think and the hope of making things better. Sometimes the more we look, the more we see, and when we look through the lens of gratitude, our blessings become more obvious.

Create affirmations to use in case of emergency

Just like we have a first aid kit for the body, a bundle of personalised positive affirmations acts as a first aid kit for the emotions. These need to be prepared ahead of time and when you have a positive mindset such as after your morning gratitude. Writing your own personal affirmations will suit your situation and desired outcome, and speak directly to your subconscious. In case you experience writers-block, I have shared my affirmations to get you started.

Affirmation for a psoriasis break out

I am grateful that my body has the ability to heal itself and that I have control of my mind and emotions which will help in my healing. When I nurture my body with healthy foods and water, remove processed food and harmful products from my life and think positive thoughts, my body will begin to heal. This healing is inevitable.

Affirmation for conflict with another person

I am grateful for the strength I have within me and for the loving relationship that I have with myself. I take pride in being in control of my actions so that I always act with integrity. I know that sometimes people are on my life journey to give me lessons, build my resilience and make me stronger. I am grateful for them. I do not take anything personally except for my unconditional self-love.

Affirmation for fear of change

I accept that the only constant in life is change.  I am grateful that I am resilient and able to embrace change, finding ways to make the most of the change so that it is a benefit for me and those I care for.

Affirmation for fear of loss

I am grateful for the blessings that have been a part of my life journey. The memory of the joy they have given me will stay with me for as long as I choose. When my life loses something for which I am grateful, it creates a space where I can welcome new blessings that will soon fill the void.

The value of using affirmations

Since antiquity it has been a belief that negative emotional states can have an adverse impact on the body’s ability to function in a healthy way. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. The science of PNI links medical disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, immunology, physiology, genetics, molecular biology and psychiatry. This science provides evidence that the brain and body communicate with each other in a multidirectional flow of information that consists of hormones, neurotransmitters/neuropeptides, and cytokines.

Combining mind-body techniques such as positive affirmations, together with healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on health maintenance and disease prevention (1).

In gratitude

psoriasis health and psoriasis mindset

 

 

 

 

  1. VITETTA, L., ANTON, B., CORTIZO, F. and SALI, A. (2005), Mind-Body Medicine: Stress and Its Impact on Overall Health and Longevity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1057: 492–505. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2005.tb06153.x

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The importance of hope when you experience psoriasis

Sometime the hope of healing is all we have left after exhausting our efforts to control and understand psoriasis. Focussing our attention on the good news stories can help us set our own personal goals of healing and give an insight into what has worked for others with psoriasis.

This type of hope and positive outlook is essential because lack of hope puts us at risk of feeling depressed. Our personal encounters with anxiety and fear of breakouts are something that almost all psoriasis patients feel from time to time, but this should not happen all of the time.

Here is your hope for today

Studies based on repeated observations of 5600 psoriasis patients over a long period of time suggest that spontaneous remission may occur in about one-third of patients with psoriasis (Farber, 1974).

To deliver this happy news to you in another way, one third of the 5600 observed people with psoriasis have had an unexpected improvement or cure from psoriasis. The term ‘spontaneous remission’ should not be misunderstood as instant healing, but rather a slowing down or reversal of the progression of psoriasis that cannot be attributed to Western mainstream pharmaceutical medicine.

Improving your chances of spontaneous remission?

We can do a lot more than leave our healing to luck. It is well documented in medical journals and case studies that our chances of slowing down or reversing the progression of psoriasis improve when we ensure a healthy diet, take supplements, do regular appropriate levels of physical activity and management of other risk factors including obesity. Each of these are important elements of care.

Anti-inflammatory diet

Psoriasis, essentially an inflammatory disorder, should benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. An anti-inflammatory diet consists basically of an emphasis on good fats such as those found in cold water fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Including whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits in our diet and avoiding bad fats such as saturated animal fats, trans fats, fried and processed foods, and poor quality oils. Just as importantly is the removal of refined carbohydrates from our diet. In addition, an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet can contribute to an inflammatory response (Adam, Beringer, Kless et al 2003).

Vitamin D

It has been established that patients with disseminated psoriasis have significantly decreased serum levels of the biologically active form of vitamin D, 1-alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1-α,25(OH)2D3;

calcitriol) compared to control tests of people of the same age and sex and also compared to patients with moderate psoriasis (Staberg, Oxholm, Klemp, Christiansen, 1987).

Lifestyle

Remove or significantly reduce cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption as these are associated with the severity of psoriasis (Chodorowska, Kwiatek, 2004).

Obesity

There is evidence from various scientific sources that obesity increases the risk of psoriasis onset and severity. On the flip side, exercise and physical outdoor activity has been shown to reduce the severity of psoriasis.

Stress

Two dermatologists providing phototherapy to their psoriasis patients compared the results of two patient groups – those who listened to guided meditation during their therapy, and those who did not. The patients who were given the chance to meditate during their phototherapy session cleared four time faster than the patients who received phototherapy only (Kabat-Zinn, Wheeler, Light, et al, 1998).

Hope

When we have a feeling of expectation and desire to control psoriasis and understand what needs to happen, then what you hope for can become your reality and you will begin your journey to smooth skin.

psoriasis health and psoriasis mindset
 

Reference

Farber EM, Nall ML. The natural history of psoriasis in 5600 patients. Dermatologica 1974;148:1-18.

Adam O, Beringer C, Kless T, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of a low arachidonic acid diet
and fish oil in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatol Int 2003;23:27-36

Staberg B, Oxholm A, Klemp P, Christiansen C. Abnormal vitamin D metabolism in patients with
psoriasis. Acta Derm Venereol 1987;67:65-68.  (Staberg, Oxholm, Klemp, Christiansen, 1987)

Chodorowska G, Kwiatek J. Psoriasis and cigarette smoking. Ann Univ Mariae Curie Sklodowska [Med]2004;59:535-538.

Kabat-Zinn J, Wheeler E, Light T, et al. Inflence of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction intervention on rates of skin clearing in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis undergoing phototherapy (UVB) and photochemotherapy (PUVA). Psychosom Medicine 1998;60:625-632.

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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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t-shirt-green-hyperproliferation

We have a lot of keratinocytes

Is it just me or is my hyperproliferation of keratinocytes bothering you too?

The precise cause of psoriasis is still unknown however two causes are suspected:

  1. a genetic predisposition, or
  2. environmental triggers.

There are two key abnormalities in a psoriatic plaque:

  1. Hyperproliferation of keratinocytes, and
  2. An inflammatory cell infiltrate in which neutrophils and T lymphocytes predominate.

Both of these abnormalities can induce the other leading to a vicious cycle of keratinocyte proliferation and inflammatory reaction. Similar to the ‘chicken and egg’ debate, it is unknown which is first.

This basic concept may help you explain your condition to curious minds. If you’d like to get a little cheeky, it is also worth pointing out that keratin costs around $20 for a tiny 30 millilitres bottle and so at $660 per litre, psoriatic skin is more valuable than most people’s!

By understanding that environmental triggers may cause your psoriasis, I hope that you will be motivated to find a way to heal by changing the things we can. Our articles will explore known environmental trigger for psoriasis.

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Some words of encouragement

We can all do with some encouragement, so here is mine to you.

Make a plan, stay with it for at least 6 weeks to see a result.

Keep a journal of the ups and the flare ups and associate it with foods and stresses.

You WILL get relief when you find the right strategy and the discipline to do it.

Please use PsoriasisLife Mag to your advantage and communicate with me if you feel that you need support.

Clear skin wishes,

psoriasis health and psoriasis mindset

 

 

 

PS: In case you wanted proof of my encouragement message, these are my very own white spots of victory this week after smashing up the psoriasis on my torso.

pale-spots

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What happened to my skin

What happened to my skin?

You happened. You control your food, emotions and thoughts and therefore you control your cure.

Foods in your psoriasis healing regime need to be alkaline, as opposed to acidic. This principle is at the core of The Gerson Therapy, a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, plant-based diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements. Gerson’s leading philosophy is that disease cannot exist in a body that is in an alkaline state.

A person’s blood should always be slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.3 to 7.5 in chemical reaction, to maintain optimum health and immunity. In basic terms, battery acid has a pH of 1 and at the other end of the spectrum, sodium hydroxide has a pH of 14, with 7.3 somewhere on the alkaline side of centre. A psoratic’s daily diet should consist of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods. Although the alkaline principle is strongly supported by Dr John Pagano DC and Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, they advocate foods that do not irritate the gut or trigger auto immune response and suggest we also avoid un-sprouted grains, red meat, pasteurised dairy, sugar and all processed foods and foods from the nightshade family.

Emotions and feelings initiate a thought; our judgement then decides whether to materialise that thought. If the thought is approved by the judgement, the imagination is put into motion by visualising that thought as already being achieved. The will then holds that visualisation until it manifests as a reality in your life. These are the words of Thomas Troward, who wrote seven books on the topic of the power of thought and who describes this process as the train of causation. This is important to psoratics in that they can help the healing process by fixing their thoughts and beliefs on the idea that their skin is already healed. The judgement component of the train of causation is one part of the mental machinery that some psoratics need to really explore, for example does your judgement really want your psoriasis to be cured, and do you feel that you deserve to be cured and do not need those extra layers of protection?

We have the power within ourselves to decide on the emotions that we choose in response to the events around us. Two of the most damaging and also toxic human emotions are hate and fear.

Hate is accompanied by resentment and anger. These ugly emotions trigger acidic reactions in or body and most likely cause damage to relationships and hurt to others, mostly to ourselves. We may even allow people to live rent-free in our head, something they may be totally unaware of or unaffected by. Adopt a different viewpoint, practice compassion and forgiveness.

Fear is an irrational emotion of hatred – an intense form of dislike and is often aggravated by not knowing or having control of that which we fear. Fear is damaging and can be overcome with learning to understand, building contingencies and capabilities, remaining calm and avoiding situations that place us in danger or fear.

The condition of the skin affects the emotions, and the emotions affect the skin. There is an interaction between the two that cannot be denied and helping one often helps the other. When a psoratic learns to control emotions, the skin usually improves.

Thoughts have an overwhelming influence on how psoriasis affects you, and indeed whether you are affected by psoriasis. Holisitc healing recognises that we are a unity of spirit, mind and body and that these need to be balanced for our health and well-being. Plato commented in Phaedrus almost 2400 year ago, “For this is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that the physicians separate the soul from the body”. Thoughts emanate and are shaped by our spirit, and whilst both of these are intangible, the effects that a negative and pessimistic outlook have on our psoriasis can be very visible. I have noticed obvious patterns of psoriasis outbreaks between 48 and 72 hours after I have allowed destructive negative emotions to take control.  Are your thoughts constructive or destructive? The nature of your thoughts builds the world around you. The philosopher James Allen, in his work As a Man Thinketh said “As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.” When we realise the power of our thoughts, both conscious and subconscious, we begin a path of constructive, conscious thinking.

Correct thinking and guarding your thoughts from negative outside influences plays a vital role in healing your psoriasis. Positive affirmations are tools that we can use as constant reminders that direct our thinking in the right direction.

Psoriasis emotions thoughts

Self discipline

From my personal experience, it is far easier to lose self-discipline with a food regime than it is to lose self-discipline with your emotions and thought processes. Once you achieve a state where you no longer allow toxic emotions like fear or hate to affect you, they quite easily diminish from your thought processes. It is important to understand that mental toxins in the form of anger, hatred, resentment and fear can turn the body acidic as surely as acid forming foods do.

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Testing our environment for psoriasis triggers

Today I’ll be boarding a 41 foot yacht with two dear friends in Fiji and sailing 2000 kilometres to New Zealand. It is the ultimate test – no land, no pollution, no chemicals and no processed food for 2-3 weeks – long enough to test how environmental factors (and possibly some stresses based on ocean conditions) cause changes in psoriasis.

The core objective of psoriasislife is to test drug free alternatives for their potency in removing psoriasis from your life. As editor and chief psoratic, I have tested each of the recommendations on my own psoriasis for the previous 6 years and have journalled the results before I share them with you. My experiments are based on the research and observations of only reliable medical professionals. However, I am about to embark on an experiment that comes straight from the heart.

To prepare for this trial I have brought myself to a psoriasis free state, except for leaving those pesky spots on both upper thighs for something to work with. The trip will show whether this goes pear shaped (the psoriasis, not my thighs!) or whether I come out clean. I will journal how psoriasis reacts to mental stress and how it improves when pollutants are removed.

I can’t wait to share all about it with you on the flipside!

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