Psoriasis on the skin can be painful, and from my own personal experience, a combination of cold, dry, windy weather causes a constant stinging pain deep within the layers of my skin.
By the time we have psoriasis, our immune response is already compromised and therefore, we need to be cautious about what we apply to our skin to relieve the pain, which I can best describe as feeling like crushed aluminium foil. There are many dermatologically recommended creams and ointments, however it is well documented that adverse side effects of their use contradicts the benefits, or worse still, adverse side effects have not yet been explored. The Global Report on Psoriasis authored by the World Health Organization in November 2016 explains that clinical dermatologists do not yet have an understanding of how to treat psoriasis without causing adverse side effects.
To combat the pain of dry, stretched and cracked psoriasis, we psoriatics require a soothing, moisturising and protective emollient, or lotion. We prefer this emollient layer to be made up of naturally occurring compounds that have either little or no side effects, can be easily accessed and do not cost much. Let me introduce you to ceramides.
Why you will love Ceramides
Ceramides are intercellular lipids (lipid molecules composed of fatty acids and sphingosine). Ceramides play an important role in regulating the water-holding capacity of your skin while at the same time providing a protective layer.
The four layers of the epidermis contain Ceramides, and they play an important role by creating a barrier which reduces infection and helps to retain the skin’s moisture. Studies have shown that a proper amount of Ceramides in the internal epidermal layer is necessary to maintain healthy skin. Research has shown that ceramides are decreased in the psoriatic epidermis and this may either contribute to the cause of psoriasis, or be the result of psoriasis-driven hyperproliferation of keratinocytes. In my personal psoriasis experience, a lack of ceramide function has caused an increase in the size and amount of psoriasis lesions and a definite increase in pain.
Ceramides have been used since the early 1990’s by major cosmetic companies for treating aging problems such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. These were often in the form of expensive topical creams and potions. Because of its moisture retaining properties, Ceramides were eventually included in cosmetic products such as foundations and lipsticks to increase outer moisture and to provide a benefit to the skin while protecting it from damaging elements.
For the psoriatic
Naturally occurring Ceramides are present in the plant world, with the main sources being wheat, rice, soy, and spinach.
Wheat germ oil is my personal favourite Ceramide-rich emollient because the anti-inflammatory activities of Ceramides and linoleic acid are strengthened by the vitamin E present in wheat germ oil. Wheat germ oil has been successful in reducing the spread of my psoriasis and pain, especially in harsh environmental conditions. This oil has been my only skin product during long periods at sea, hiking in snow and while being exposed to the sun for long periods.
What you can do now
We can easily and affordably access Ceramides by applying wheat germ oil onto our skin. By boosting the Ceramide levels in our skin, wheat germ oil can reduce the harmful effects of our external environment on psoriasis, relieve pain and as a well-deserved added bonus, supports anti-ageing as well.
Long live wheat germ oil!
Healthy skin wishes
Traub M, Keri Marshall K. Psoriasis – Pathophysiology, Conventional, and Alternative Approaches to Treatment. Alt Med Review 2007; 12( 4): 319-327
Bizot-Foulon V. Inhibition of human neutrophil enastase by wheat ceramides. Int. J Cosmet. Sci. 1995; 17: 255-64
Idsson B. Vitamins and the Skin. Cosmetic & Toiletries, 1993; 108 (12): 79-94