Shifting gears today…we’re getting into the nitty gritty (Nacho!) of psoriasis and inflammation. Psoriasis has been a pretty big part of my life since I was 16. I am now 30, and I have only ever been prescribed drugs that help manage the symptoms.
I have reached a point of desperation in my journey with this disease, and I’ve grown tired of Western Medicine.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. You should always consult with your doctor before you make changes to any regimen you follow. This is the culmination of my years of research and my experiences with doctors.
*This post contains affiliate links which means that at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click the links purchase an item.
Inflammation and Autoimmune Diseases
Over the past 14 years, I have been learning more about how others are overcoming inflammation in their bodies with a variety of autoimmune conditions using homeopathic remedies. The psoriasis and inflammation relationship has been high on my radar.
Buying into the fact that we are a world drowning in self-inflicted disease is not difficult. When we take a step back and recognize that our lifestyles are demanding and fast-paced, we can see that we expect instant gratification. Ummm….drive-throughs and frozen pizza anyone?
What our bodies really need is for us to slow down and listen to what they are telling us.
Much of the population is walking around with some sort of autoimmune disorder. Some are obvious, like psoriasis, and some are not. Some people are aware of their condition, and like me, they do their best do cope with the symptoms. Many people are unaware that there is a lack of balance that their bodies are trying to communicate.
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. states that there is approximately 1 in every 5 people in the United States that suffers from an autoimmune disease of some kind. That’s 20% of the population!
What is the endgame for those of us with an autoimmune disease?
I’m tired of the symptoms, but even more than that, I’m concerned with where my body is headed. It’s no secret that inflammation manifests itself in a diverse array of symptoms that often lead to worse (and even deadly) conditions, including (but definitely NOT limited to) cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, inflammation in the body seems to be the cause of those nasty plaques that surface on the skin.
I would venture to say that psoriasis is not a skin condition, but rather an overactive inflammatory condition.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural line of defense against bacteria and viruses, as well as a tool for healing itself after an injury. Have you ever broken a bone, scraped your knee, gotten the flu, smashed your finger in the car door or even felt major stress about something? Your body will become inflamed just to take care of you. Read Live Science’s article on the topic here.
When I was 16, I scraped my knee pretty badly running hurdles on the track. Blood everywhere. Pebbles stuck in the wound. Road rash. It was gross, y’all. A short time after that, my psoriatic companion popped up on my lower arm lookin’ like ringworm.
At the time, I didn’t put the stress from the wound on my knee together with the spot on my arm, but it makes sense to me now that psoriasis and inflammation go hand in hand.
Injury to the skin that activates psoriasis is known as the Koebner phenomenon (source). Inflammation rushes in to save the day, and then BAM!
Excuse my face.
At this point, I have been experiencing a particularly difficult flare up that is now including my face, so I can’t hide it anymore. Hence the crossroads I’ve arrived at.
I began to notice the pesky rash on the corner of my mouth back in February, and I chalked it up to psoriasis. What’d I do? I used an uber-strong topical steroid on my face prescribed to me by my dermatologist for the my psoriasis-affected arms and legs. The packaging on the Clobetasol spray clearly states to NOT apply to face, but what the heck? I did it anyway.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. The rash is back. It’s worse. I apply more Clobetasol spray.
I continued this cycle because it worked every time.
Finally, August comes, and it’s time to start back at school. Within the first week back, my face is red, and bumpy, and angry. The steroid isn’t working, and I’m itching like crazy, so I call the dermatologist for an appointment.
I’m told that it is NOT psoriasis on my face, rather, it is contact dermatitis. While this may be the case, I have not been able to find anything that I’m allergic to. It could be anything!
So, with nothing to go on, I’m prescribed with ANOTHER steroid. Guess what?! It worked! Only to clear my skin up, stop the medication, and have another WORSE breakout.
The steroid cycle is a vicious one.
Brace yourself. Lemme take a selfie:
I should have taken a picture outside, but this is the best I’ve got of the rash. This is not the best representation.
My eyes were swollen. All of the red on my face in picture was where it had spread to.
My eyebrows were covered, all around my eyes (including my eyelids), around my mouth, my cheeks, around my nostrils. My face burned and itched.
Around my eyes felt bruised. I even had a couple of days at work when I was told that I looked like I had a black eye.
U-G-L-Y I ain’t got no alibi! Except I do. My body is chronically inflamed!
I’m getting better. Here’s how:
I quit the steroids. I know that there are circumstances when steroids cannot be avoided, but if you can, opt to be free of them.
Steroids have been miracle workers only in the short-term for me. And, obviously, it is not recommended that they be used for long periods of time.
So if you’re like me–ready to break free and heal your body, then read on!
I haven’t worn make-up for two weeks! Talk about insecurity, but I’m getting over it.
And I am ridding my home of toxic products. New shampoo and conditioner, laundry detergent, toothpaste, deodorant, and make-up.
I’ve opted to use All Free and Clear simply because it has worked the best for my family (and I don’t have to make it). My toothpaste is now fluoride-free, which you can get here. And I really like Shea Moisture product that you can purchase here.
I’ve also started using Norwex washcloths, which are absolutely amazing! You just use water and the cloth to wash your face and body, and believe it or not, you will be squeaky clean. If you want to learn more about Norwex, read here.
You can’t quit something and not replace it with something else!
Y’all, I ain’t lyin’, it works! I’ve been off of the steroids for the seven days. I started the oils with completely ravaged skin, and now my face is almost completely clear!
Helichrysum Italicum is a flowering plant originating in the Mediterranean. It has been historically used for it’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as a host of ailments.
Inflammation on my face and inflammation on my arms and legs. Next up, psoriasis.
My bad. I sat on your couch and left skin flakes: the lowdown on flakiness
Sometimes, I think that there will be a little piece of me left everywhere that I visit. I mean this literally. It’s pretty disgusting if you think about it, but not everyone has this super ability to flake where ever they are. Psoriasis peeps unite!
I’m pretty sure that if I lived during biblical times, I would be declared a leper.
The National Psoriasis Foundation defines psoriasis as “immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin.”
This is my well moisturized leg today. Try teaching 5th grade with red patches all over your arms and legs. All the kids wanna know about it. I can be a distraction. But I’ve developed a pretty standard answer for them, and quickly move on.
I like that they ask me. I feel like most people see it, think it’s gross or contagious, and completely avoid the topic because they are uncomfortable thinking that if they ask me I might be uncomfortable answering.
Here’s the answer I will often times give the kids: “Its psoriasis. Do you know Kim Kardashian? Yeah, she’s got it, too.” I love saying that! Ha!!
My skin regenerates at a much quicker rate than the average person, causing my skin to flake off during a flare up. It’s also very itchy, so I scratch, and then there are more flakes of me floating around.
Psoriasis occurs in individuals with gene mutation known as CARD14. Many more people have the gene than have the disease. That’s because there has to be a trigger to activate the gene.
Triggers seem to be individualized, meaning that just because a carrier of the gene experiences one of the common triggers, doesn’t necessarily mean they will actually develop psoriasis. Among the triggers listed on the website, stress and injury are the most intriguing to me.
When we experience stress or injury, inflammation is ready to save the day…or not.
Given what we know about auto-immune diseases, it seems that reduction of inflammation in the body is key for healing. There is something to it, people!
What can I do to help my body heal? Tackling psoriasis and inflammation is hard!
If you are still reading, I’m assuming that you either have psoriasis or you are close with someone who does. You’ve been on the roller coaster ride of topicals and/or something(s) internal. What I’ve learned over the past 14 years is that these drugs treat our symptoms, but healing is not occurring. Not cool.
It’s easy to blame the healthcare system and pharmaceutical companies for our ailments, but what if the power to heal was within our own bodies?
I have been using the oil mixture on the spots affected by psoriasis, too, because I quit the Clobetasol. I haven’t noticed too much progress with just the oils, but my naturopathic doctor has recommended some dietary changes and supplements that I started a few days ago.
When I went to visit with my naturopath, she could NOT believe that I had never taken any omega 3 supplements and that I don’t eat fish very often. She educated me on why these are essential for skin health. I now have a massive bottle of omega. She’s also got me on a probiotic to assist with my gut health.
The plan is to cleanse my gut with an anti-inflammatory diet that I’ve tweaked to include no gluten or dairy. My goal is to significantly reduce my sugar intake and help my inflammatory responses to take a chill pill. They are obviously over excited.
It’s been 14 years, and I’m ready to rid myself of inflammation by removing the toxins within and without. There are internal and external causes for inflammation.
Ughhhh…changing my diet? For real?!
For those of you that love your bag of a dozen chocolate covered sprinkled donut holes for breakfast and midnight mint chocolate chip ice cream dates with the freezer (ahem…me), I feel ya. But it’s time to break up.
Yes it will be hard at first. I literally just cheated on my diet, and I place the blame on my husband who brought a bag of Reeses in the house. He left them on the counter, and I am ashamed.
I’m a work in progress. Progress is being made! Yay me!
You can do it! I believe in you!!!!! Refined sugar is not a friend! It’s in everything processed. If it’s in a can, box, bag, or jar, it most likely has a significant sugar content. Oh, and, fyi, your body turns carbs into sugar, so you’ll want to modify your carb intake as well.
We probably wouldn’t have such a major problem on our hands if we didn’t process so many foods! That’s a whole other story on agriculture in the United States.
Get woke about yo body.
You have to come to the realization that you can cope with this disease for your whole life and try to manage the symptoms (basically just coexist with the disease), or you can actually find and try to kill the root of the issue.
It will be a process, and I very highly recommend that you do some allergy testing to help you along the way.
If you expect quick results, then you should probably just stick with your steroids and new world western medicine. I’m ready to take the time to learn to be nice to my body. What about you?