What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that creates a faulty signal from the immune system causing the rapid buildup of skin cells. Cells normally shed and renew every four weeks, but with psoriasis this process is compacted to a few days. This results in excess scaling on the skin’s surface and is often accompanied with inflammation and redness around the affected area. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed and can lead to a secondary infection.
Psoriasis symptoms differ from person to person and depend on the type of psoriasis. There are around a dozen different variations of psoriasis, with some people only experiencing small flaky areas on the scalp or elbow, whilst for others, it covers the majority of the body.
The most common symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin
- Silver-white scales
- Dry skin that can crack and bleed
- Soreness, itching and burning around patches
- Thick, pitted nails
- Painful, swollen joints
What causes / triggers Psoriasis?
Psoriasis symptoms may flare up – lasting from days to weeks, and can even disappear completely. The cause of psoriasis is unknown, although there may be a genetic link. There is no cure, rather, ways to manage the condition. As with most autoimmune diseases, lifestyle factors play an important role in the severity of psoriasis. Understanding what these triggers are, can be extremely helpful in managing this condition.
There are five main triggers or causes of psoriasis:
- ‘Koebner Phenomenon’ – trauma to the skin from an operation, bite, cut or abrasion
- Systemic infections – tonsilitis, shingles and some viral and bacterial infections
- Medication – certain drugs such as steroids, lithium, anti-malaria medication, anti-inflammatories, some blood pressure medications (beta blockers) and antibiotics
- Stress and anxiety
- Lifestyle – diet, alcohol and chemical exposure.
Tips to help manage Psoriasis naturally
Common treatment includes prescription and over the counter medication, however these can lead to unwanted side effects.
Here are some natural alternatives to help manage the symptoms of Psoriasis:
- pH balance – The skin’s protective layer (the acid mantle), has a pH of 5.5 (slightly acidic), compared to our internal body which should be 7.35- 7.45 (7 is neutral). The acid mantle keeps moisture IN and the bad guys OUT (germs, pollution, toxins, and bacteria). pH neutral products allow the integrity of the acid mantle to remain intact. If your skin becomes too alkaline it becomes dry, sensitive, inflamed and can be a potential psoriasis trigger.
- Magnesium baths – Add magnesium salts to a warm (not hot) bath for a relaxing soak as it can help encourage removal of excess dry skin and help with itchiness. You can also add a couple of drops of our Olive Skin Serum for a hydration boost. Always apply a nourishing moisturiser or body oil after the bath!
- Oats – contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties due to a compound called ‘avenanthramides’ which soothe and calm itchy, irritated skin. Look for products containing natural oats or make an oats preparation yourself
- Turmeric – curcumin is the active compound in turmeric responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects. Try it as a supplement, beverage or add the spice directly to your roast, veggies and rice.
Recommended 3-step skincare routine for Psoriasis
- Olive Cleansing Bar – a gentle and nourishing pH neutral ‘soap-free’ cleansing bar for the whole body. Contains hydrating olive and coconut oils. If cleansing the face – we recommend the Olive Soothing Cleanser.
- Treat with Phytoseptic Natural Anti-Fungal Skin Cream to help treat cracked skin and avoid secondary infections, or simply use Olive Skin Serum to replenish hydrating lipids.
- Finally, use Olivene Repair Balm – nourishing barrier balm to help repair dry and cracked areas and protect from external elements.