An Author’s Confession: Living with Psoriasis

Reviewed: January 26, 2016
By eHealthIQ
An Author's Confession: Living with Psoriasis

I’ve had psoriasis for more than ten years. It began in my scalp and, of course, I had no idea what the problem was. Like most people, I assumed I had some virulent form of dandruff that the special shampoos couldn’t touch.

I eventually found that there is no substitute for having a really good rheumatologist at your side. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Your body is attacking itself and in that particular war, a rheumatologist is the five-star general you want on your side. A family doctor means well, and a dermatologist can do a lot, but there’s no point settling for less than the best.

What Works for Scalp and Hair

Using harsh shampoos and treatments for dandruff, seborrhea or any other ordinary scalp condition make psoriasis worse, sometimes much worse. Shampoos should be gentle and used no more often than every other day. A scalp with psoriasis is not dirty, it is not greasy, and hairdressers cannot “catch” it.

There is a steroid-based foam that I use on my dry scalp twice each day. One bonus is that by working the foam into my scalp with my bare hands, my nails have greatly improved. Nails are victims of psoriasis, too, a condition called “psoriasis nails,” so I leave the foam on my hands for a while before washing them. Finally, long, healthy nails!

The hair of persons with psoriasis is very likely to fall out and fall out by the handful. It is quite likely that your fallen hair will drift across the floor like the shedding of a shaggy dog. I use one 10,000mcg gel-tab of Biotin every day, and the problem is solved. The hair still sheds, but it regrows just as fast. It’s my secret miracle treatment.

What Works for Skin

All the products I use on my skin are hypoallergenic to help with dry, sensitive skin. I allow no dyes or fragrances in anything that touches me, including laundry soap and dryer sheets.

Second, I have found that by keeping my skin moist and well-conditioned, the plaques go away or do not form in the first place. The very best things I’ve found is cocoa butter products. There are generic skin lotions with cocoa butter and large tubs of cocoa butter for less than $10. I use both products often, and they have helped tremendously. Again, never a need for expensive treatments or products.

Psoriatic Arthritis

Yes, it’s unfair, isn’t it? Believe the golfer, psoriatic arthritis is the worst and one of the most painful of arthritic conditions. I began to be awakened from sleep by pain in my finger joints. Oddly, the pain is worse when the joints are still and moving them eases the pain. Osteoarthritis, for instance, worsens when you move your joints.

Solving the Systemic

There are systemic drugs that work throughout the entire body, both in pill and injectable forms. There may be side effects that are troublesome. I have had some of these and am now on a biologic once again. Again, my rheumatologist is crucial.

I won’t call psoriasis a “journey,” that trite and overused term. It’s just part of my life and not even the most challenging. Just like owning an older car, you have to rotate the tires, replace the muffler and keep on moving down the road to your destination without complaining. No one wants to listen anyway!

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