From November 3rd-9th is Psoriasis Awareness Week, incepted to draw attention to this common immune disorder that is thought to affect between 2-3% of the UK population*. A condition which causes the skin replacement process to speed up, with skin cells that are normally replaced in 21-28 days restored in only a few days. This results in a build up of skin cells or ‘plaques’ on the surface of the dermis that are often itchy, red, flaky, scaly and generally uncomfortable.
Though there is yet to be a definitive cure, we spoke to two of our complementary therapists to enlighten you on some ways to prevent and lessen the symptoms...
A complicated skin condition consisting of a number of pathogenesis that can affect different parts of the body, if you feel as if you’ve tried every avenue of conventional skincare intervention in hope of lessening the symptoms associated with Psoriasis to no avail, it could be time to consider a different approach such as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Below our resident TCM practitioner Laura Jones fills us in on how it could help:
“Whilst western medicine often solely focuses on the severity of the problem, Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses it holistically, specifically targeting and treating the changing and evolving symptoms of a condition such as Psoriasis. This is referred to as ‘patterns of imbalance’.”
This holistic approach considers the ‘whole’ individual, addressing the patient’s lifestyle and dietary habits in addition to the condition itself. As the internal and external environment of the body are constantly changing, when addressing a condition such as Psoriasis it is important to take the ever-changing nature of the body into account. This is to ensure adequate and relevant treatment is being performed in a way that is beneficial to the body and the particular condition at any given time. Read on for Laura's food and supplement recommendations ...
- Sea Buckthorn Oil: Full of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, this restorative oil contains palmitoleic acid (Omega 7) known to significantly lessen inflammation associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as Psoriasis when applied topically. Find it in Kahina Serum, Ambre Pumpkin Seed and Kokum Face Cream, Odacite Combination Skin Booster and Pai Fragonia and Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream.
- Turmeric: Featuring unique properties that can help to relieve swelling and inflammation, turmeric contains an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory active ingredient called curcumin which has been shown to inhibit the enzyme PhK which can be a cause of the overactive skin cell growth associated with Psoriasis. Find it in Dr Alkaitis Nourishing Treatment Oil and the RMS Beauty range.
- Zinc: Containing healing and skin regenerating properties, zinc can be found in a number of plant foods such as pumpkin seeds and spirulina. These are also two of the main ingredients in Terra Nova Zinc Complex, recommended for those looking to up their intake. If you suffer from Psoriasis on the scalp, try the John Masters Organics Zinc and Sage Shampoo with Conditioner.
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids: Known to reduce inflammation and lubricate the skin, the most potent food sources of these essential polyunsaturated fats include oily fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. A good quality supplement such as MOREPA Platinum is also recommended or for vegans try VeganDHA.
From a Naturopathic perspective, our Herbalist, Nutritionist and Skincare Specialist Fay Halkitis has picked her top food, supplement and lifestyle tips for managing and lessening the symptoms associated with Psoriasis...
- Check vitamin D levels: It is very common for psoriasis clients to have low vitamin D levels. Active vitamin D plays an important role in immune support and keratinocyte proliferation. Up your dose with this supplement.
- Support liver function: If the liver is overwhelmed with toxins or function is compromised, as suspected in psoriasis clients, systemic toxic levels could be high. Higher toxin levels could result in a worsening of symptoms. The herb Silybum marianum (St. Mary's Thistle) is invaluable for improving and supporting liver function and reducing inflammation.
- Nurture the mind: With stress being a main trigger, stress management is paramount to improving symptoms. Experiment and find your preferred outlet- it could be journalling, meditation or craft. [Editors note - check out our relaxing breathing ritual here.]
- Topical: Aloe Vera based products are not only well tolerated but can be beneficial in soothing and healing plaques. Chamomile and licorice root are also useful. Try Dr Alkaitis Soothing Gel.
*About Psoriasis; psoriasis-association.org.uk/pages/view/about-psoriasis