How I Clear Up My Psoriasis with Diet and Supplements

 

sideview of woman with naturally curly hairPsoriasis is a dry skin condition that can result in flaking skin on the body and scalp.  I have suffered from the auto immune disease for nearly 10 years now.   In my last post I described my current routine for cleansing my hair and scalp.  In my case, the psoriasis also shows up on my skin in little flaky patches that can leave unsightly scars.  Each year, I do my best to keep the dry patches to a minimum by changing my diet and taking supplements.  I am finally discussing it here on the blog in hopes that my experience may help others.

A closeup of the psoriasis on my scalp. It can be much worse than this and have a flaky appearance.

Initially I sought treatment from a dermatologist who prescribed steroid creams for my skin and scalp.  They only made my condition worse.  After prolonged use, the flaky dry skin, known as psoriasis plaques, spread out over about eighty percent of my body.  It was very embarrassing and disheartening.  I also got headaches every time I used the prescription scalp ointment.  This made me question the drug based treatments and I decided to search for a more natural approach.  I picked up a book at my local library called, The Psoriasis Cure, by Lisa LeVan.  In it, I found information on my condition as well as a long list of vitamins and supplements.  It also suggested that I follow a healthy diet and a regular exercise & sleep routine.  After going the medical route for long enough, I thought it was worth a try.  I followed the routine outlined in the book and was surprised to see signs of my psoriasis clearing up after only three weeks.  This method was very helpful but I made some changes over the years.  Here are some things that work for me.

Healthy Digestion

Since Psoriasis is an auto immune disease I find that a healthy digestive system is the key to my success.  The digestive tract makes up around 70% of the immune system.  When this area of the body is working properly it shows through our hair, skin and nails.  I use probiotics, increased hydration and foods rich in fiber to help in this area.  My current choice for a probiotic boost is a fruit juice called, Good Belly.  Otherwise, yogurt or probiotic capsules work as well.  For fiber I reach for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Whole Body Cleanse

This step is prescribed in the book so initially I purchased a cleanse kit that wound up being too harsh for my system.  Since then, I have used healthy green juices to detox my body.  Drinking juice from green vegetables helps to cleanse the body of toxins while also delivering much needed vitamins.  Green juices work best when consumed on an empty stomach because then the body can quickly absorb all of that green goodness.

Vitamin Supplementation

It turns out I was not getting enough vitamin D and Omega 3’s. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bouts with psoriasis.  Vitamin D is something that the body produces through sun exposure which can be harder to come by during the fall and winter months.  That is why my psoriasis shows up around this time of year because my body is not making enough vitamin D on its own.  Also, people with darker skin or who use sunscreen are potentially not getting enough of this important vitamin.  I take around 4000 IU with food each day and have noticed much improvement in my skin and scalp.  Omega 3 vitamins are anti-inflammatory and promote healthy hair, skin and nails.  I take fish oil capsules to supplement for this.  I also take a vegetable based multi-vitamin for women for all of the other vitamins I need.

Lower Sugar Intake

Psoriasis is inflammation of the skin.  Through my own research I found that sugar is highly inflammatory.   In my case, cutting back on sugar made a difference in my skin.  I’m not just talking sweets though.  Other foods that convert quickly into sugar like wheat based products (i.e. bread, pasta etc.) are also culprits.  Once I went wheat free for six weeks and noticed my skin was much clearer.  That’s a hard one for me though so I try to at least limit my sugar intake by making healthy substitutions (wheat bread instead of white or no bread at all) and eating more clean foods like fruits and vegetables.

Sleep and Exercise

I can’t forget this important part.  Some of what my body is going through is just that I sometimes don’t get enough sleep and exercise.  The more you exercise, the more restful sleep so the two work together. This can also help with stress relief.

Disclaimer:  I am not a physician and do not have a medical background.  The aim of this post is to share my experience.  Please seek advice from your physician before taking any supplements or making changes to your physical health routine and/or diet.

May Onyx Box Review

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Goodies from this month’s Onyx Box

I was recently sent a box full of goodies from www.WeAreOnyx.com.  This site offers a subscription service geared towards fashion forward women of color who are looking to try new hair and beauty products.  In each month’s box, subscribers can expect to find full size items from well known beauty brands.  This month was geared towards nail art and skincare which was right on time for me.

The Colorado winter has been a beast and has left my hands wrecked and in need of some love.  So I was delighted to see that the Onyx Box for May had some new things for me to try when I do my next manicure.

I already tried out the Shea Moisture Shea Butter hand creme which felt divine on the skin.  I was upset though that the scent was a little overpowering for my taste.   That is somewhat of a turnoff when I buy products because it can lead to headaches for me.  The scent is similar to the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie so if you’re fine with that, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  If it wasn’t for this I would probably use it often because my hands sure do need it.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to using the nail polishes and skin wash that came in the package.  Check out the pics below for a sneak peek at what was inside this month’s box!

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I love the pretty packaging and full product sizes
www.curlyincolorado.com onyx box review
Products featured in this month’s Onyx Box

If you’re interested in subscribing for a monthly Onyx Box then head over to www.WeAreOnyx.com to get started.  The monthly subscription fee is $25 USD but is well worth it considering each box includes items that, when combined, can retail for much more than that.  You can look forward to receiving items such as hair, skin and nail products by well known brands.  It’s definitely worth a look see!

Tea Tree Oil for My Scalp and Skin

www.curlyincolorado.com tea tree oil scalp skinI love to play in my hair but lately my focus has turned to my skin and scalp.  My psoriasis is slowly trying to make a comeback, but hopefully my green juices and vitamin D will help me out there. Until it clears up, my scalp is sometimes an itchy mess.  Just oiling my scalp does not cut it because it results in more flakes and itchies, making my condition even worse.  I found this out when I mixed a few drops of the tea tree oil with my grapeseed oil and applied the mixture to my scalp after washing and conditioning.  A few days later my scalp was going crazy again!  So, this weekend, I decided to switch to a mixture of Aloe Vera gel and tea tree oil.  This way, I wasn’t adding any oil to the area.  It’s been a couple of days and I can tell that it’s working.  I just tested a small area but will apply it to my whole head the next time I co-wash.

I also decided to add tea tree oil to my skincare regimen.  I have adult acne and it pretty much has me at my wits end at this point.  Tea tree oil has been known to have some of the same effectiveness as benzoyl peroxide in regards to acne.  I’ve been using witch hazel as a toner but it didn’t seem to clear my skin on its’ own.  This weekend, I purchased a new bottle of witch hazel and added 20 drops tea tree oil to it.  Then, I just applied it with a cotton pad like normal.  Thankfully, the tea tree smell didn’t linger.  I have noticed that my skin is having fewer breakouts so I think it may be working.

www.curlyincolorado.com tea tree oil scalp skin
I added tea tree to my toner to
help with my adult acne

Tea tree essential oil has antiseptic properties, so when it is applied to the scalp or skin, it can help to get rid of any bacteria that may be present.  I’ve also read that it can help with dandruff and other scalp issues so that was my reason for trying it.  It comes in a tiny bottle but a little goes a long way.  I only use a few drops at a time so one bottle lasts a while.

The only thing is, essential oils like this should not be applied directly to the skin.  Tea tree oil should always be added to a carrier oil like olive, grapeseed, castor oils or, in my case, the aloe vera gel.  In some cases it has been known to cause irritation so discontinue use if this happens.  Also, the oil is toxic if taken orally, so topical use only!  It can usually be found at health food stores in the bath and body section.  I get mine locally at Sprouts or Vitamin Cottage but have also seen it at Whole Foods.

Review: Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter

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Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Red Velvet #40
www.curlyincolorado.com revlon colorburst lip butter
I love this classic red tint

I am a fan of makeup but still tend to stay at the drug store level when I make a purchase.   I have a ton of glosses for my lips but recently decided to try the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters.

I had been hearing rave reviews about the line for a while on the web so I figured I would give it a go.  At first glance, the line has a lot of different shades to offer.  I’m always a little leary though because I don’t want to end up with a shade that is too light or ashy for my skin tone.  However, there was quite a range in color, so finding a shade for me was not very hard.

I first went for a pinky color called, Berry Smoothie.  This one is nice for when I want a wash of color and a little moisture for my lips on the go.  However, the shade that truly makes me gaga is the Red Velvet.  The color is pigmented enough to pull my whole look together without much effort but also helps with dryness.  I love red lips but this gives me a nice, understated red that still works for everyday.

www.curlyincolorado.com revlon colorburst lip butter
A swatch of Red Velvet
www.curlyincolorado.com revlon colorburst lip butter
Red Velvet on the lips 

The Lip Butter formula is hydrating to the lips thanks to the added “mango, shea and coconut butters”.  It also imparts a shine which I love.  I tend to reach for either of these shades now when I’m in a hurry because they give me moisture and color in one swipe.

I highly recommend the Red Velvet for any women of color who are looking for a lovely red to add 
to their stash.

Summertime Slim Down — On My Way to a Healthier Me

Green Smoothie
with Kale, Apple, Cucumber and Banana

This year I’ve been learning lots about the importance of eating a diet heavy in fruits and vegetables.  I even found out a thing or two about juicing and how beneficial it can be.  Still, it took my upcoming summer vacation to finally get me motivated to lose some weight.  I’ve been telling myself how great it would feel if I could just lose the 7-10 lbs. that have been keeping me from looking my best.  There are all sorts of reasons why I fell off of the exercise wagon so I’ll save the long story.  Thankfully my diet only needs a few tweeks here and there because my family and I eat pretty healthy.

After watching the movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” earlier this year, I decided to start juicing more.  At first, there was a bit of a learning curve but I’m used to it now and can whip up a glass of juice for breakfast with no extra fuss.  I’m happy to say that it helped with my psoriasis which was crazy out of control for most of the winter.  One of my favorites is a green smoothie with Kale, Cucumber, Apple and Banana.

Now that my skin is looking better, I’ve been trying to exercise more in hopes of losing a little extra cushion around the middle and thighs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful that I’ve been around the same size for years.  It would be nice though to not have to rely so much on help from shaperwear when it’s time to dress up.  Plus, I want to have more energy to help me get through these long summer days with the kids.

As for my hair, I’m hoping that the cardio and strength workouts will lead to a faster metabolism.  This in turn can lead to faster hair growth (maybe).  So for now the Wash n’ Go hairstyle is super easy for me.  Since I use a heavy gel product like Eco Styler, I can just wet my hair in the shower to reactivate my style.  Co-washing is also pretty easy because it removes most of the product without stripping my hair or causing my curls to go into shock.  Sometimes I even use a light oil on my hair either in the shower or right after to seal in the moisture and combat dryness.  The wash n’ go style is so much easier now and great for the summer.