Psoriasis is More Than Just Itchy.
About 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis and 30% of all living adults have psoriasis worldwide.
What causes psoriasis?
First of all, psoriasis is much more than just red, itchy skin. It is actually linked with your immune system and you can't "catch" psoriasis because it isn't actually an infection. Experts now agree that psoriasis is yet another autoimmune disease that is plaguing adults. Autoimmune diseases are increasing at a concerning rate. These types of diseases occur when your immune system turns against you and attacks your own body.
What causes psoriasis to flare?
Over 80% of people with psoriasis report that emotional stress causes flare-ups. This makes perfect sense, because when you are in times of high stress, your immune system can be overstimulated and start working overtime.
Your immune system isn't an imaginary force hovering around your body. Many of you may be surprised when I say that the majority of your immune cells live in your gut. This is why eating healthy foods and taking care of your gut is undeniably important to your immune system's health.
But what is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an overproduction of your skin cells. Your body constantly makes skin cells to replace the ones that die and fall off each day. But in psoriasis, your body makes way too many skin cells and they start stacking on top of each other. The skin in that area becomes thick and raised because of all the extra skin cells.
These thickened patches of skin appear gray and scaly. The patches can crack, bleed, and produce pimple-like blisters and eruptions.
Psoriasis usually occurs on hands, feet, knees, elbows, and scalp. Although some people do experience outbreaks on their torsos. So, psoriasis patches can show up just about anywhere on your body.
Probably the worst part of psoriasis is the itching, burning, and embarrassing redness and flaky scales. When I was a teen I would get flare-ups of psoriasis or eczema and it was definitely embarrassing. I would get round, raised, red patches on my face. I was so uncomfortable with it that I would try to wear my hair close to my face to cover the red patches.
Psoriasis is not JUST embarrassing, it's a risk for infection.
The way psoriasis looks is definitely the worst part, but a close second is the risk of infection. Psoriasis by itself is not an infection, but because your skin is flaky and inflamed, there is an increased risk of contracting an infection. Just think of it like this: the layers of dead skin cells are a perfect environment for bacteria to jump on and set up shop. The bacteria will be well fed with all the extra skins cells that are hanging onto your skin. The bacteria can multiply and spread onto skin that isn't affected by psoriasis. Then you end up with psoriasis and a secondary skin infection.
Simple solutions for psoriasis
To combat the appearance of psoriasis:
My first suggestion is Emu oil, which is used for all sorts of inflammation. It can be rubbed into sore joints or muscles. It is also used for soothing topical inflammation which makes it useful for the itching and burning of psoriasis. Emu oil increases blood circulation as it knocks down inflammation. Emu oil will help dissolve the dry and flaky areas and decrease the red appearance of psoriasis.
To combat the secondary infections:
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is derived from an Australian plant. It has been used for thousands of years for skin conditions. Over 400 studies have shown that tea tree oil kills bacteria, fungus, and viruses. That makes it a perfect defense for infections due to psoriasis.
These two ingredients address psoriasis from both sides. They will provide relief to irritated skin and diminish itching and burning. They will also ensure that the open blisters do not get infected with bacteria.
What to do next?
If you have psoriasis and want to try Emu oil for your inflamed areas, I recommend using EmuAid for a full 7 day period. Apply it to the affected area 2-3 times per day.
Now after the flare-up has subsided, here is what you can do to prevent further episodes:
1. Manage your stress. I do yoga and short meditations (3-5 minutes) to keep me relaxed and focused.
2. Nourish your gut. People with psoriasis are 7 times more likely to develop Crohn's or Irritable Bowel Disease. Remember that your immune system is in your gut. If you need a plan for healing your gut, review my blog post, "I Love Your Guts." or schedule a consultation with me.
3. Get plenty of sunshine. Studies have proven that psoriasis is improved with sunlight (UV) exposure. There are even UV light machines that are used to treat psoriasis.
Take it seriously. Psoriasis is more than just itchy skin. It is a warning sign that your immune system is not working efficiently. It is important to address both the skin and the gut when dealing with psoriasis.
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