Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Columbia, MO
| | My Psoriasis Routine (YMMV)
First let me tell you that I'm not a doctor, nor am I in any way associated with the medical profession. I'm just a patient. A patient with psoriasis, so patient indeed. I've had it for some 13 years. I'm not a severe case like some people I've heard of. I've been called moderate when I was flaring up and mild when things were good. There is a question of whether I have psoriatic arthritis but I've not been officially diagnosed yet. I have my P on my scalp worst and then my trunk.
I've tried many different steroid medications and I had some pretty interesting side effects. Photosensitivity is not much fun and I was very sensitive. My face would burn if I just walked to my mailbox and back. Not fun. All in all, I don't use steroid creams and scalp solutions much any more because I found that after a while they simply would not work for me. I still have valid prescriptions so that in case I do flare up out of control (like after strep throat), I can use something that I know will work.
From what I could tell, dovonex isn't a steroid but a vitamin D derivative. I had a bad reaction to it (rash on top of psoriasis, and then psoriasis on top of healing rash) so I stopped using it. I haven't tried since and I doubt that I will try.
This was a new one for me. I started in January of this year. Basically it's a cabinet that you go into, close the door, put on some goggles and bask in the blue glow. I go 2 times a week and it's helped me prevent more flare ups. Once I don't get any more new spots, I can deal with the ones that I already have.
I use a salicylic acid shampoo and a coal tar shampoo every other day and a regular shampoo in between. I've found that you need the salicylic acid to remove the scales and then the coal tar to make them calmer. So, in the shower I usually wash with regular shampoo first (to wash the dirt off), then salicylic acid shampoo (leave on as long as possible), then tar shampoo (leave on as long as possible), then conditioner. This has worked well enough for me that I don't need any other medication for my head. Every once in a while, I do a hot oil pack (olive oil and a little bit of honey) and keep in on my head as long as possible, but I think that's just for the girl in me (the need to be pampered).
I usually use some type of a cream to keep them moist. This is kind of gross I know, but if I let them dry all the way they start to crack and bleed and who wants to deal with that? So, at first I used regular petroleum jelly (Vaseline). I found that it worked well. I've also tried A&D (baby bottom stuff, not the zinc kind, works great), assorted lotions and creams. Now I use a homemade cream made from bees wax, olive oil and olive leaf tea and a little bit of honey. I've not been attacked by bees yet, but it sure smells good to me. I have made the cream with lavander essential oil and other essential oils for the different smell. =)
I'm a picky eater as it is since I've got some issues with my GI tract so I don't eat many different kinds of foods. I basically live on servings of lean protein (chicken, turkey, low fat cheese, tofu, seitan) and as many fruits and veggies as I can eat. I don't eat many grains as they upset my stomach. I have found that if I eat pasta, I flare up. So, I stay away from that most of the time too. It's important to get enough fiber (20 to 30 grams a day) for effective ellimination. So I take a fiber supplement daily. I've bought into the whole leaky gut theory of psoriasis, even if the explanations don't always make sense. All I know is, if I get constipated (like going on a trip and having to eat food others have picked for me) I start to flare up. So, I try to help things along.
Coffee (not caffeine) can aggravate P. Sometimes I can drink coffee all day long and have no problems, but I've also had days when I smell the coffee and I feel my head start to itch. So, I kind of judge it depending on the day. I'm not caffeine dependant, which makes it a whole lot easier to refuse a cup of coffee. I drink black tea occasionally (I enjoy a really good cup of Earl Grey) and I've not found a connection. Herbal teas is what I drink most of the time, chamomille being my favorite. Also, I try to drink at least 2 liters of good water a day. I have a filter and I fill a soda bottle that I've washed out and take it to work. Just try to make sure I drink the whole thing. Of course I spend a lot of time in the bathroom, but I've found that if I drink enough water, my hands don't hurt so much.
I take a flax seed oil / cod liver oil supplement daily along with a multivitamin, fiber, siberian ginseng extract and some others that I can't seem to remember at the time. Ever since I started supplementing, I've noticed a different feel to all of my skin and nails as well as my hair. I really think that our soil is mineral deficient, thus making our produce nutritionally bland. So, I supplement.
Other weird stuff:
I have a nail brush that I use to get the scales off my trunk in the shower. I have one of those bamboo back scratchers - over a shirt it's much easier on my skin than bare nails.
So, that's my routine and it's served me well. Psoriasis is a condition, not a disease and I'm determined to live with it as friends. I pamper my skin and I hope that it will decide to be calm. I try to keep my body happy, and work on my brain a bit with tai chi so that we can all be at peace with one another.
Thanks for listening and I hope that this gives some of you with psoriasis ideas,
[This message has been edited by quietly_serene (edited 10-10-2003).]