Difficult to manage? Embarrassing? Uncomfortable and restricting? Constant itchiness?
As sufferers of psoriasis, these feelings of skin frustration will be all too familiar and it’s something that we here at Honey Bee Beautiful always want to help with.
So, read on for our easy to follow top ten tips on how manage this condition at home and not let it take over you
Firstly, what exactly is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an auto immune condition whereby the body over produces skin cells so that they pile up on top of each other creating thickened areas or ‘plaques’. The body is unable to shed these skin cells at the speed they are being produced - this then creates the thickened skin areas.
Did you know psoriasis affects 2% of the world’s population? That’s over 125 million people!
The condition commonly affects those under 30 and over 50 and is usually life long, fluctuating between no symptoms, mild indications and more severe outbreaks.
Frustratingly, it is still not clear what causes this condition but it appears to run in families and is connected to the way your immune system works.
Most people’s symptoms start, or are aggravated by, a ‘trigger event’ such as stress, infection, skin trauma or as a result of medications.
Physical Psoriasis - What are the symptoms?
Silvery coloured, scaly, dry and thickened skin with reddish blotches commonly appearing in patches on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body.
These patches can be itchy and/or sore and can lead to cracked, bleeding painful areas.
It is also possible to develop tenderness, pain and swelling in the joints and connective tissue known as psoriatic arthritis.
Psychological Psoriasis – what are the symptoms?
The condition is not only skin deep and can have a significant impact on your quality of life and mental well-being, including a drop in confidence, low self-esteem, embarrassment about your physical looks, anxiety and depression.
It can intrude on your enjoyment of leisure activities, employment and relationships, even determining what you wear.
Top 10 Tips to Get Back Control
1. Moisturise & Wrap It Up
It is essential to keep skin as moisturised as possible and avoid dryness. This can help stop plaques being formed and soothe any existing areas of dry, sore cracked skin.
Look for moisturisers that are fragrance-free and alcohol-free. Fragrances and alcohol can actually dry out your skin. Keep your creams and lotions in the fridge for extra cooling relief on application!
Apply thick 'barrier style' treatment balms , as a natural alternative to 'skin thinning' steroid creams, to trap in moisture and prevent it escaping.
Look for beeswax based balms which allow your skin to breathe rather than 'vaseline' style products which suffocate your skin and are derived from unsustainable petroleum.
Did you know our award winning Garden Bee Universal Balm performs particularly well on dry, thick scaly skin conditions such as cracked feet and hands and skin prone to psoriasis? Even soothing those tricky bits on your ears! Just take a peek here to see how it has helped our psoriasis suffers love the skin they’re in.
Or, how about trying our all natural, multi award winning Nurse Bee Balm? Magically melting into the skin to soothe those particularly itchy patches, our customers tell us it it has performed really well for their itching, soreness and eczema & psoriasis patches – just take a look here!
Top Tip for Balms: for best results use our all natural, sustainable beeswax balms as an overnight treatment for maximum moisturising and skin nourishing benefit. The beeswax will sit on the skin preventing moisture loss and drawing moisture from the air too, whilst the argan oil, raw honey and propolis deeply hydrate and soothe red, sore psoriasis patches.
Top Tip for Scalp Psoriasis: try rubbing in a layer of olive oil after washing to soften and get rid of flakes of skin. Then use a beeswax balm as an overnight treatment. Our customers have had great results using Nurse Bee Universal Balm (or Sensitive Bee if sensitive to essential oils) rubbed onto the affected area of the scalp to soothe and calm itching and irritation. If you are able to tolerate essential oils, why not soothe your scalp with our Shiny Bee Hair & Scalp Oil?
How about going one step further and wrap the treated skin in a layer of cling film? This can help seal in every bit of moisture and aid skin shedding.
2. Soak it
Another great tip for helping shed skin and soothe any pre-existing plaques is to soak in a luke warm bath for 15 minutes with Epsom salts and ground oats to help reduce skin swelling and itching.
For gentle cleansing, try out our ever popular Sensitive Bee Honey Soaps which are free of fragrance and extra gentle for moisturising dry and sensitive skin.
Top tip: always apply your barrier creams and balms after bathing to trap in as much additional moisture as possible.
You could also try our natural shampoo bar to deeply hydrate; working in harmony with your natural oil production, they are designed to be as gentle on your scalp as they are on the planet.
3. Avoid Chemicals
Many soaps and perfumes have dyes, preservatives and other chemicals that may irritate your skin and inflame your psoriasis.
At HBB our Sensitive Bee Range includes soap, shampoo, cream, balm, are are made with 100% natural ingredients and are fragrance free. We avoid using harsh chemicals and toxins, allowing you to enjoy gentle, natural skincare suitable for those with Psoriasis.
We also product a whole facecare range for sensitive skin with a handy travel kit so you can try out the range to see if it suits your skin.
4. Diet Diary
Although there is no direct proven link between what you eat and psoriasis flare ups, there is much anecdotal evidence out there showing an improvement in the condition with changes to diet; including an improvement after alterations such as a reduction in dairy, sugar and alcohol intake.
To determine if diet plays a role in your condition, keep a food diary to see if there is a link between flare ups and what you are eating - carry out some experimenting.
Nutritional supplements or foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may also help with your psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a decrease in inflammation. Some sources of omega-3 include: fish oil supplements, fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, nuts and seeds, soy, vegetable oils.
5. Stress BustWomen seem particularly vulnerable to experiencing psoriasis flares due to stress. When we are stressed, inflammation in the body is increased and those who have autoimmune conditions, such as psoriasis, seem to have immune systems that over respond in these circumstances so, reducing or limiting stress can have a significant impact on reducing flare ups.
Why not try these easy techniques to immediately reduce your stress levels:-
Breathe in through your nose, slowly and deeply from your diaphragm. Hold the breath for a count of 2 and breathe out through your mouth for a count of 5.
Get Moving - women who exercise are less likely to develop psoriasis than women who are less physically active. Movement such as yoga, dancing and walking will boost mood, improve energy, release feel good endorphins, improve sleep and help to decrease pain and anxiety.
Get Help - enlist the help of your GP or a therapist or enroll in a stress management program to learn how to handle stress more effectively. A therapist may use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you change thoughts and behaviors to keep your stress levels down
6. Reduce Alcohol & Quit Smoking
Some studies show a link between heavy drinking and smoking with psoriasis flare ups. Alcohol consumption and nicotine lower your immune function which can interfere with your condition and impact treatment. Add this to your diary and see if there is a link for you.
7. Healthy Weight
There is evidence to support that people who who were overweight or obese experienced a reduction in the severity of their psoriasis with a healthier diet and more exercise.
It’s not always easy to ensure you are getting all the beneficial vitamins from your diet to help your psoriasis is it? Try dietary supplements designed to help ease psoriasis symptoms from the inside.
Fish oil, Vitamin D, Milk Thistle, Aloe Vera and Evening Primrose Oil have all been reported to help ease mild symptoms of psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Turmeric has also been found to help minimise psoriasis flare-ups. It can be taken in pill or supplement form, or simply sprinkled on your food!
9. Let the Light in!
Light Therapy exposes the skin to ultraviolet light which can help slow the growth of skin cells triggered by psoriasis. Contact your healthcare professional to see if this could help you.
Sitting in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes can also help reduce plaques.
Be careful though as too much sun will aggravate your condition so be sure to always use a broad spectrum natural sunscreen.
10. Get Support
The first step to finding a resolution to your symptoms is to speak out and get some support. It can take a leap of faith reaching out but once you have a few good people in your corner it really helps.
Ask you GP whether anyone in the practice has experience of skin conditions and ask for an appointment.
Have a look at the Psoriasis Association UK website for further resources and support.
You may find it helpful to connect with others who have psoriasis. Check with your local hospital for a psoriasis support group, or search online for one in your area.
Healing Help from the Hive
We couldn’t not mention how our busy bees can naturally help ease psoriasis flare ups, could we?
Thanks to the natural power of the hive, we offer soothing balms, lovingly formulated with beeswax, propolis and raw Welsh honey: natural ingredients well known to help ease and treat the symptoms of psoriasis. Just have a look here for more info on our little hero products.
Raw honey, being naturally rich in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties can help offer relief for psoriasis. If your skin is less inflamed then the subsequent symptoms of itchiness and discomfort will decrease.
For an all-natural at-home application, smooth raw honey (you can warm it and mix with olive oil if you wish) onto any sore patches, leave to sit, and then rinse off with warm water.
Did you know? Our Raw Welsh Honey contains bee propolis, amino acids, minerals, vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6,C, antioxidants, magnesium, potassium and calcium (amongst others!), so why not try it straight from the jar, or add to your favourite food and drinks to help heal skin from the inside out?
As a final note, don’t ever be embarrassed about how you look. Acceptance is the first step and if people stare it is due to the fact that they just don’t understand - chip away at the stigma and don’t hide yourself away! Remember, you don’t have to just live with it, it may just take some trial and error to take control over your skin and not let it control you.
If you have any questions or tips on how you deal with your psoriasis skincare we would love to hear from you and help spread awareness - just drop us a comment below.
Cath & the bees
- Wales is set to become the first UK nation to have full access to an injectable medicine which will help people with a severe form psoriasis. See full article HERE.
- Psoriasis Association UK
- HBB Products:-