Psoriasis is a reasonably rare immune condition which affects the skin.
It can range from a localised patch of mild irritation to a large area of sore itchy skin. Symptoms can come and go and a typical psoriasis flare up presents as raised, red, with silvery flaky patches, often appearing on knees and elbows. The appearance will differ slightly depending on your skin tone.
In typical skin cell turnover takes about 3-4 weeks. With psoriasis, it’s much quicker, sometimes just a few days, causing cells to pile up on the skin’s surface. According to The Psoriasis Association – “psoriasis-causing changes in the skin begin in the immune system when certain immune cells (T cells) are triggered and become overactive… which leads to them producing inflammatory chemicals, again leading to the rapid growth of skin cells causing psoriatic plaques to form.”
There is currently no cure for the condition and it’s not really understood what triggers the immune system to misbehave. If you have a severe case, your joints are affected or you feel your mental health is being impacted then medicines are available and it’s well worth speaking to your GP for further advice. However, in milder cases self-management is possible and can have good results.
6 Tips For Self-management
Nothing will have an immediate effect on your skin, be wary of anyone telling you otherwise. You need to choose a strategy and give it time to work.
Avoid those vices
It is well documented that smoking and heavy drinking can trigger a flare up and let’s face it, they’re just not very good for your skin full stop. Knock the cigs on the head and stick to sensible drinking, you’ll reap the awards for your general health too.
Stress and mental health problems have strong links to psoriasis. It can be a difficult cycle as the outbreak of psoriasis can in itself cause anything from mild blues to full depression. Exercise is a great for mental health and will help blood flow too. Try to relax, research mindfulness techniques and get plenty of sleep.
Stick to gentle, natural skincare. Plant based oils are wonderful emollients, softening and soothing skin. You will need to be fairly liberal with your application and try to apply a few times a day.
Do not be tempted to use harsh abrasives, they irritate and damage skin. That said gentle exfoliation is a great help and done before applying your creams and oils will help them penetrate the harder patches of psoriasis. Using our muslin cloth is ideal.
Avoid irritants. That can be easier said than done, unless you have a chemistry degree, check out our 7 ingredients to avoid blog post for some advice on key ingredients to watch out for.
Our whole range is ideal for psoriasis but we’d really recommend our superfood balm as a great place to start. It’s multifunctional so you can use it for lots of different purposes. It’s wonderfully emollient and it’s packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients.
As psoriasis is an inflammatory and immune disease, being as healthy as possible is incredibly important. Opinions differ on what works best and the solution may be unique to you. That said, clean eating is always a good plan, avoiding processed food and eating plenty of home cooked, mainly plant based foods is only ever a good thing. Making sure you have plenty of Omega-3 in your diet is important, salmon and sardines are a great source, flaxseeds (or walnuts if you’re not nut allergic) are a good starting point for vegans and vegetarians.
We would never recommend you remove a whole food group from your diet without the advice of a GP, so if you think gluten or dairy may be an issue then make an appointment.
Sunbathing is not a cure
You may read that UV light and Vitamin D can help but please proceed with caution, it doesn’t mean you should be going out in the sun without SPF for extended periods. Getting burned will certainly not help any skin condition. Phototherapy involves exposing your skin to certain types of ultraviolet light under controlled conditions by an expert, if you are interested then seek further advice.