Help for psoriasis sufferers

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition characterised by raised patches of red and scaly skin. The scales are often itchy and it is unsightly and annoying as large dry white flakes of skin are continuously visible. This is from an over-production of skin layers.

The most common areas affected are around the hairline, behind the ears, in the joints such as the elbow, wrists, ankles, and knees. Psoriasis is by no means limited to just these areas, hands, arms, feet, and abdomen may also be affected. It is a fairly common condition affecting approximately four per cent of the population. Psoriasis frequently appears out of the blue and for no apparent reason. It can flare up at any age and often does so in adulthood. Once psoriasis appears it has a tendency to recur periodically, especially at times of sudden stress or emotional shock.

However, as with any illness there is usually more than one underlying cause. For psoriasis sufferers digestive problems such as low stomach acid resulting in a problem breaking down proteins and/or fats is a common cause. This would then mean that the body would be deficient in these nutrients. Essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 ) are very important for skin health, as well as vitamins A and E, and the minerals zinc and selenium. All of these nutrients are found in nuts and seeds and their oils as well as carrots and other veg.

The other major factor for psoriasis sufferers is poor liver function, which can be due to bad diet, or other liver stressors like being on long-term medications, especially aspirin, methotrexate, and long-term antibiotics.

The best way to put your body and liver under stress is to eat foods high in hydrogenated and saturated fats like pork and fried foods. Sugar, alcohol, food containing artificial additives like E numbers, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, refined white flour products, cakes, sweets and microwave meals are some of the more problematic foods.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, and non-acidic fruits especially carrots, almonds, brazils, avocado, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. Susan from Au Naturel suggests supplementing with a good quality seed oil such as Viridian’s Black Seed Oil. “It is nutritional Omega 6 as well as having anti-fungal benefits and it is beneficial for a range of skin complaints. It can be applied topically also and contains vitamins A and E. If digestion is a problem, combine with artichoke or black radish juice or a digestive enzyme. Externally, neem oil or a balm such as Oregan Grape Root balm is good for skin nourishing as well as being anti-fungal.

“It would be best to avoid coming into contact with chemicals including those in shampoos and body washes. Use natural washes which do not contain sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate, and propylene glycol. Neem shampoo is ideal for this. Magnesium flakes is greatly soothing as a bath soak and will reduce itching. Finally, applying externally, TheraNeem makes a gentle exfoliating scrub which should be rubbed in a circular motion on patches where the skin is flaking then nourish with neem oil.”

For further information drop into Au Naturel, Payne’s Lane, Irishtown, Athlone, or call 090 6487993.

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