Our skin is really a mirror to our inner health, and when something isn’t quite right our body lets us know. Many symptoms can arise, often something to do with our skin, and often complicated! Even when we are taking good care of ourselves, annoyingly the condition seems to persist.
Dermal conditions like Eczema, Rosacea and Psoriasis are complex, manifest themselves in different ways, and professionals still don’t have a cure. Its all much more intricate that it seems.
What’s more the Covid 19 pandemic appears to have exacerbated these types of conditions for many, creating a sort of pandemic of skin conditions. Be it because of an individual’s line of work and sensitivities to materials used in personal protective equipment (PPE) worn day in and day out, or other cases being made worse by loss of vitality and health due to Covid itself, or depression and the difficulty getting out and about doing exercise, outdoor activities, and reduced exposure to sunlight.
There are many types of Psoriasis that can affect people in varying degrees of severity, though here I will focus on Plaque psoriasis, which is the most common type of psoriasis.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that about 80% of people with the condition have plaque psoriasis. It causes red, inflamed patches that cover areas of the skin. These patches are often covered with whitish-silver scales or plaques. These plaques are commonly found on the elbows, knees, and scalp. As you can see in the IMAGES HERE
Symptoms differ from person to person and depend on the type of psoriasis, which is why its important to begin by diagnosis by a professional dermatologist.
Its a non-infectious yet inflammatory, autoimmune disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. It occurs when skin cells accumulate, due to excessive cell division in the basal layer of the skin, thus resulting in increased epidermal proliferation, resulting in a rapid build-up of skin cells to the top layer of the skin that are not aged enough to die and slough off as they normally would. Patches that build up appear dry, red and are sometimes itchy or painful. In some cases, pus-filled blisters appear.
Although anyone can be affected by psoriasis, it mostly occurs in adults, particularly those with a family history of psoriasis. Environment and immunological factors also play key roles.
Affected areas of psoriasis can be as small as a few flakes on the scalp or elbow or be as extensive as covering the whole extension of body parts, the back, hands, and nails are often affected in more severe cases.
HERBALISM, AYURVEDA & SKIN DISEASES
Pharmaceutical medicines have their place in treatment regimens such as topical steroids, they may clear lesions but have a high relapse rate and are subject to side-effects. So many people find preventative measures and complimenting their treatments help greatly.
Within herbalists’ perspective the condition may be successfully controlled with diet, lifestyle choices and obtained relief from discomfort with topical applications of creams, herbs and remedies.
As per most schools of thought, uneven and unhealthy food habits, consumption of chemical laden foodstuffs. Other catalysts that cause psoriasis includes stress, alcohol, and tobacco consumption. So, the belief that since skin diseases localized or all over the body are associated with impure blood, purification of the blood is the main treatment. Beginning with the food, air, products we consume to the thoughts we have.
Sunshine is a free but effective treatment as Vitamin D improves immune function. If your lifestyle, location, or season doesn’t allow a small daily dose of sunlight, one may take vitamin D supplement, from 2000 to 4000IUs of vitamin D per day
Within Ayurveda, the imbalance of the doshas Vata and Kapha are causes of psoriasis. These are the two basic energies that uphold the balance of our body equilibrium. There is plenty of information online if you are interested in finding out more on the subject. Ayurveda also adheres to the belief that Psoriasis is cause mainly by genetic predisposition, sun deprivation.
Within Ayurveda, Psoriasis can be treated through Panchakarma therapies, treatments for the detoxification of the body, and elimination of harmful toxins from the body fluids, which many find relief of symptoms. Consult a professional practitioner for more information.
I often refer to herbalist Thomas Bartram who says that cases are often low in blood Bromine and recommends agents such as Evening Primrose, Aloe Vera, and Dandelion.
Below I share some lifestyle and diet tips which are generally agreed between different disciplines of therapists and herbalists. Below that I share a few different DIY herbal treatments you can make and use at home to hopefully get some relief and see an improvement in pain, discomfort, and symptoms.
LIFESTYLE AND DIET TIPS
First, always seek professional advice to determine which type of Psoriasis you may have and get informed about if you may have any allergies or intolerances to potential triggers in your lifestyle/environment
- Maintain safe distance from the possible triggers, allergens that cause or aggravate skin diseases
- Practice yoga regularly. Yoga helps us relax and lessen stress levels, as well as a great way to keep in shape.
- Avoid pricking, peeling, or scratching your skin.
- Do not scrub your skin, pat your skin dry after washing.
- Use cotton clothes and breathable materials
- Avoid artificial detergents, soaps, fragrances etc.
- Keep the area hydrated and use a thick nutritious moisturiser or body butter on the affected areas.
- Diet high in healthy fats, oily fish, and olive oil.
- Focus on feeding your gut microbiome, A healthy internal flora is fundamental for not only our general health but is a key factor on the functioning of our immune system and linked to autoimmune diseases. Probiotics such as fermented foods, natural yogurts in addition to a diet high in prebiotics, fresh vegetables, and dietary fibre.
HOME MADE RECIPES
Below I list a few DIY recipes with ingredients that are easy to source and can be used in any combination can help you to keep the skin healthy, cleansed and hydrated. Relief from pain and a more rapid healing of lesions.
- Add to a jar of apple cider vinegar diluted to 80% with water the any or all of the following herbs:
- Leave overnight and use to wash the area
- Apply to mix to a cotton disk and lay over the area for an hour or so.
Dead sea salt, oatmeal and herbal bath
- Using dead sea salts have been used for centuries, alone or in combination with the following herbs.
- Add Oatmeal to a sock or muslin bag and let dissolve into your bath water
- Chamomile and Yarrow made into a concoction and added to bathwater.
- Make sure water is warm, not too hot.
Honey and Turmeric
Helps to aid healing of lesions
- Add a teaspoon of Turmeric to enough honey to create a paste and apply over the affected area.
- Be careful as Turmeric stains anything it touches. Expose the area to sunlight after washing off the treatment.
Fresh Aloe Vera
- You may use the fresh plant applied over the area to relieve itches and help heal lesions.
- If you have a natural Aloe gel then apply over the affeceted area in the same way.
Castor oil pack
- Soak a cotton pad or cloth in pure unrefined Castor oil until fully saturated.
- Lay over the effected area and cover with another cloth as the oil is sticky and can be messy.
- When I castor oil pack I use a strip of plastic film to cover, or a plaster if the area is small enough.
- Leave this in place for at least 3 hours and if possible overnight.
In general bathing regularly with mineral rich salts and anti-inflammatory herbs. Balms and body butters with Castor oil, Avocado oil, Shea butter and herbal infusions that are known traditional treatments that can help healing and keep skin conditioned and hydrated.
On my regular shop updates in the apothecary section I also offer all sorts of specific oils, creams and body lotion indicated for dermatitis and sensitive atopic skin conditions.
If you need anything specific, I am more than happy to help, contact me by email or join my Telegram group or Instagram page for regular articles and shop updates.
These perennial products can be always found in my store:
Pachamama Bath salts - A powerful blend of the mineral-rich Dead Sea and Epsom salts to detoxify and relax aches and pains while you bathe in the fragrant herbal blend of therapeutic, anti-inflammatory botanicals. With Rose, Arnica, Lavender, Santolina, Chamomile and Frankincense resin.
Miracle balm A small concentrated balm with Castor oil, Calendula, Lavender, Chamomile infused oil and Propolis. This is for treating rashes, eruptions, as well as infected blisters, bites, and spots.
Maya body butter – A rich and intensely moisturising whipped body butter, packed with vitamins and essential fatty acids to nourish and regenerate even the driest of skins. Natural alternative to treat extremely dry skin conditions such as cracked skin, eczema and dermatitis.