This week is a good week. I have a huge amount of relief. I’ve gone from this:
My Psoriasis has covered my feet, legs, thighs, buttocks, private parts, stomach, back, forearms, armpits, shoulders and scalp. There are very few places that it was not on.. I am at month 4 of a very concerted effort to achieve remission, and while I am still some way off my goal of remission, I am seeing huge results and huge changes and a level of relief that is simply wonderful.
So what’s happened?… what’s the secret?… is there a secret?… or maybe there is no secret… was it me all along, triggering my Psoriasis over and over again?…..
Was it me?… my decisions….?
What I know is that I have documented all the steps I have taken. And they are all written in the blogs from the last four months and possibly they contain the secret sauce…….but here’s the thing, its not that secret and if I’m right, I think anyone with enough will and determination can overcome this plight and get relief and who knows maybe full remission too.
I have not adhered strictly to the actions I have spoken about, I have not used them as the letter of the law, I have used them to guide me…. I have definitely worked to moderate the triggers and taken both lifestyle and dietary changes that are positive and are showing benefit. So here is the definitive list of what I am doing:
Taking back control….(phase 1)
This happened in August, through September and early October….
I committed to an intensive regime of moisturising and use of OTC treatment creams, with the basic goal of getting some relief, reducing the itching, pain and plaque production. 30 minutes a day, divided into 10 minute moisturising sessions, morning , afternoon and evening and more if I needed it.
The sessions helped to turn the hardened plaques into softer skin, the sessions helped to soften and then remove the plaques (it aided in shedding).
I found that as the Plaques came away, the moisturising really helped to start to make the skin more supple and while the plaques would return in 3 or 4 days, they would not return with the same intensity and would come away much easier, once the cycle of moisturising was adhered to.
Then I started to introduce treatment creams and they helped to reduce plaque formation and helped to soften the hardened skin. To be honest, I think I stumbled into that space, simply by buying 20 or more creams and I kept trialing them until I found ones that actually delivered relief.
I looked back at my Amazon account and I bought over 20 different creams, oils and treatments, and they ranged in price from 5 euro to 50 euro.
I found out very quickly that many creams are too “artificial” with too many ‘Parabins, perfumes, laurel sulphates” etc…. basically my skin said no to plenty of them and yes to others……. so its not that hard to figure out… either there is a benefit or there isn’t…. its that simple….
The ones that worked for me were:
Grahams Psoriasis Cream
Boots own brand Dermacare Psoriasis
And to a lesser extent Dermalex Psoriasis ( it helped to reduce raised patches) but it was a nightmare to use- as it stung something rotten.
Double base (Diomed) Dry Skin moisturiser was the moisturiser that provided the best relief and I am using this as my go to now.
First the cracked and bleeding patches softened ( which took about three weeks of constant moisturising) and I mean three or four time a day or more on the really bad patches.
Then using OTC treatments I got to the point in the September picture and started on Topical Steroids Dovobet . I applied a lot of it, once a day and emptied the full bottle in a week. I was prescribed 8 bottles and have used 5 so far, I have not had to use as much as I did in the first week as I started to get results almost immediately.
Please note I never got this result before and I have used topical steroids plenty of times… so what was different this time..
- The regime of moisturising to the point that plaque formation was reduced prior to starting the topical steroids.
- Use of the OTC treatments in combination with moisturising for weeks prior to starting the topical steroids.
- Daily moisturising sessions while also doing the steroids. So my guess is that it’s the moisturising that’s allowing the steriods to work.
- My doctor thinks that the steroids did not work in the past as they could not get past the plaques, which were effectively barriers, stopping the steroids from making contact with the skin. It kinda makes sense, if your skin is covered in plaque, how is the treatment going to work.
- A determination that no matter what bumps in the road I was not going to give up. I stopped and started several times and had life throwing up some curveballs with Dads Alzheimer’s getting bad. But after each event, I just picked up from where I left off.
- A lot of dietary changes. ( Phase 2)
Phase 2…. Happened from the start…..
So when I say phase 2 I mean that I took two parallel strategies. Skin moisturising and treatments was phase 1. Dietary modifications and lifestyle changes was phase 2.
My foundation of the dietary changes were based off the chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls book Eat better Forever. The first one hundred pages are some of the best written lifestyle dietary advice I’ve ever read. And I have been working on applying my own adaptation of what he said worked for him to maintain a healthy gut and healthy diet.
- A turmeric supplement, in capsules taken each morning.
- An Omega3 supplement, plant based capsule, taken each morning.
- Washed down with 300ml Kombucha. A store bought version with no sugars.
- Coffee is now black, no milk no sugar. That took a while but now I’m enjoying different coffees and the morning coffee is a manual pour over, so it’s a ritual and it’s enjoyed.
- Red meat (beef, lamb and pork) consumption has all but vanished.. it’s now a treat that is occasional once or twice a month.
- Limiting all processed foods and actively avoiding artificial additives.
- Avoiding refined sugar where possible, and generally avoiding refined flours, starches and any other machine proceeded ingredients.
- Eating some fruit but trying to avoid too much fructose consumption. Avoiding grapes and oranges. Focusing more on apples, bananas, berries and nuts.
- Increased consumption of organic vegetables, and a general bulking up meals with more vegetables…
- Focusing on whole foods where possible.
- Eating more fish. Wild caught as a preference over farmed.
- Organic poultry and eggs.
- No milk, some cheese and butter.
- Drinking 2 litres of mineral water (not tap)
- A weekly low food day. ( an intermittent fast)
The key to this list is that I am actively considering all the dietary triggers that are associated with Psoriasis. I don’t know yet which ones trigger more or less for me, so its about reducing inflammation.
The Tumeric and Omega 3 and Kombucha all have anti-inflammatory and gut heath properties, therefore thats the first food of the day.
Then the next steps are avoiding foods that are triggers, such as sugary foods, red meat and pork, processed food, takeout food, pizza. bread, anything with added sugar and artificial sweeteners and additives in general.
Replacing all that bad stuff, with lots of organic veg, eggs, fish, poultry and using a bit of butter and cheese as I cook them.
The most important point here is that these are the things I’m working on. So they are not hard rules.. Chocolate does make a weekly appearance (mainly at the weekend)… if I cannot get organic poultry – free range will do. If I cannot get an organic cauliflower, that’s ok too. But if I can get the organic variety then thats the preference. If I fancy something from the bad foods list, I can have it…. but it has to be an occasional thing…. a treat…. not a daily thing….
Alcohol is still allowed but not every day. Did 10 days with none, then some at the weekend then another 10 days with none and that seems to be working too.
So in short it’s about really practicing moderation and it’s not easy. The trade off however is immeasurable. I feel great, my Psoriasis is retreating, pain and irritation is a 1/10 or maybe a 2 or 3 if I have eaten too much of a trigger food. And when that happens I use that to re-enforce the logic of avoiding those foods.
Everything in moderation, including moderationOscar Wilde
So when your Psoriasis is killing you, don’t let it take over don’t let it win. Realise that your in a Feedback Loop where, the worse it gets, the more depressed we feel and we start to treat ourselves with all the nice stuff. We make the poor health decisions and choose the easy options.
Fight, don’t let it win… break the Feedback loop, make that dietary change, up your moisturising game, know that it will take months….. remember I blogged a few months ago about not being able to sit for longer than 30 minutes due to the pain and irritation. They were dark days….but now as we move into the winter, when my Psoriasis should be getting worse, its actually the best it’s been in 20 years and I have written this blog spelling out exactly how I got here, with photographic proof, which is exactly what I set out to do on day one with the website.
I am not in remission yet, I don’t know if it will get worse again, I don’t have the ability to predict that outcome but I now have tools that I know can and do work.
Fight back with whatever tools you can find. If these words can help, then I’m glad I wrote them. Psoriasis health online. 21st November 2021