Hey there beautiful people,

It has been a while since I have written a post.  I have been a bit here and there in my life, moving countries and what not. Sadly the last thing that I was able to keep up with was my blog. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of stuff that I need to write about.

I have recently moved from a tropical, humid country back to England…a cold, dry country. Whilst it has been a struggle to adjust, the hardest and most stressful part has been trying to deal with my psoriasis flare up.

What have I been doing you ask?
Well, I have been spending a lot of time inside (not specifically because of my psoriasis – just because I am home for the holidays) without makeup on and constantly treating my psoriasis. I like to not wear makeup as much as possible as I am pretty sure the makeup I use doesn’t help my psoriasis what so ever (I am not very makeup knowledgeable soooooo have used the same stuff since I was about 15!)  but this is something that I will addressing in the new year.
Which brings me onto...

The story of the Vaseline…
Before I tell the story – the fact that I used Vaseline is irrelevant (I think); you can probably just use any petroleum jelly product.

One thing that really stressed me out being back home was that my lips were/are constantly dry and cracked. Not exactly something that I enjoy. I started to put Vaseline on my lips. Then one night when my psoriasis was really bad I just put it over my face. I thought that if it will keep my lips moist and stop them drying out then why wouldn’t it work on my pso!! It was a moment when I had to try something new or I was going to resort to steroid creams, which I hate, because I was just getting to down about how bad my skin was. I didn’t apply it all over my face though, because it is so greasy and I really didn’t want to end up covered in spots as well.

I put the Vaseline on overnight and checked how it looked in the morning. I noticed straight away that the Vaseline tended to get rid of the white flecks on top of the skin and made the patches feel less rough overall.

I have started to use Vaseline more over my body, it doesn’t immediately get rid of the patches but it does seriously help the overall look of them and makes the patches less red and aggressive looking. One thing I have noticed is that without the Vaseline (a few nights I have missed doing it) my skin is worse in the morning – so whilst I think that it isn’t doing anything because the patches aren’t completely going away, it is clear what it is doing when I see what happens when I don’t use it.  

Where have I been using Vaseline?
Currently I am only applying it to my face, scalp line and torso. It is really greasy stuff so getting it out of my hair is an actual nightmare and takes a few rounds of shampoo in the morning to do so. Currently time isn’t an issue for my routine, but when I need to be somewhere in the morning I would probably avoid putting it on my scalp line and on patches actually on my scalp just because it doesn’t look nice if it isn’t washed out properly.

I have a lot of patches on my face and only put the Vaseline, liberally, on those spots (as in, I don’t apply it like a moisturiser and just rub it in everywhere). I also put it around my ears and down my neck where I have some patches.

The visible patches are the ones that I tend to focus on more, everything that I can cover wearing clothes or whatever tends to get left out of the OTT application of creams/ointments/lotions and potions.  However, I have been applying to my torso to see the effect on those areas.

Do note that, if you are going to try using Vaseline – it is extremely greasy and will stain your clothes/bed sheets. Just wear PJ’s you don’t really care about and if you are worried about the bed sheets you can put a towel down. Everything is washable – that is my outlook anyway.

I didn’t intentionally decide to use Vaseline as a psoriasis product, but, I did it in impulse and I am really happy with the results.

Price: 10/10 – It is literally so cheap and you can buy it anywhere!! I think the one I bought was less than £2 for a decent (carry-able) sized tub.

Smell: N/A – There isn’t a smell to be honest.

Texture: 8/10 – I go through phases of liking the texture of Vaseline. It is a really gluey/sticky products but it goes onto the skin so smoothly. I think I don’t like the way that it is a nightmare to get off (i.e. off your hands after you have applied it and don’t want to get grease onto things that you touch) also it is impervious to a quick water removal.

Packaging: 10/10 – I love the Vaseline tub. It looks like and literally everyone at some point in their life has owned or used it….no questions asked.

Time consumption: 6/10 – Whilst it goes on so easily, it is an actual nightmare to get off (for me because of the way that I apply it to my scalp line and to my ears and whatnot), however, you could probably get it off with a warm towel and gently scrubbing if you didn’t apply it to your scalp. Once I have devised a routine to getting it off in the morning, it is a lot less frustrating. It is still annoying though but one of those instances where…the annoyance is worth the results? (If that makes sense at all)

Overall result: 9/10 – I love Vaseline; I used it all the time for my lips so would never not use it. Especially in England where my skin is so dry. My skin feels smoother and the patches of pso are noticeably different. It is enough to use – I can deal with how my pso looks whilst using Vaseline however if you are still striving for it to be completely gone…Vaseline might not be the product to do that. BUT, it is a fabulous product to use whilst looking J

Get a tub and give it a go! You probably have it somewhere in your house already.

Hi my name is Marcie, I suffered from psoriasis for about 10 years starting at the age of 16 and on into my mid-twenties.  It was painful and itchy but worse than that; it caused me social anxiety and unhappiness.  Psoriasis was preventing me from living the life I wanted to live.  It’s something you have to be tough to deal with or you become tough. 

I spent a lot of those years learning about psoriasis; its causes and treatments and also how your diet, lifestyle and exercise can help.  By 2008 my psoriasis was in remission and I was back to living the life I wanted to live.  Instrumental in my recovery was of course diet (paleo, probiotics), getting regular exercise, good sleep and trial and error with topical treatments.

One topical treatment in particular that helped me was Sausage Tree Cream.  Its key ingredient comes from a special plant called the Sausage Tree which is indigenous to Southern Africa.  I learned about the plant during a visit to South Africa, experienced its curative properties and, because it was not available in the US, began importing it for my own use and for my friends and family.

One reason why I hadn’t heard of the Sausage Tree (Kigelia Africana) before is because its native habitat, Southern Africa, has been marred by social strife and trade embargoes.  While Southern Africa is home to 30,000 plant species, many of which likely have medicinal value, very few of them are known to Western civilization.  The Sausage Tree is an exception in that it has recently begun to be clinically researched and shows promise for a variety of skin maladies.

The following is a description of the product:
According to clinical research the ingredients in Sausage Tree Cream work by supporting the natural healing processes of skin including the production of collagen, elastin, and melanin while also moisturizing, calming and soothing skin irritation.  The botanical ingredients stimulate the local immune system and render the skin inhospitable to potentially harmful bacteria and pathogens.  The product is therefore unique in that it addresses a variety of disruptors to healthy skin and skin related problems.

More Info:

Price: 29.99USD, one bottle will last a fairly long time.  With generous application it lasts me 6 months. (International Shipping fees are roughly - or the equivalent of - 10USD)

Ingredients: Sausage Tree, Aloe Vera, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil

Smell – Almost odourless, with a hint of lavender.

Texture - Thick creamy texture.  It spreads easily and absorbs in about 5-10 minutes.

Packaging – Plain white cream-tube holding 75ml and weighing approximately 3 ounces.

Time consumption – Detailed directions can be found here, but otherwise it takes approximately 5-10 minutes to apply and absorb and can be inserted into any skincare routine.

Overall – we’ve been receiving positive feedback and I hope it can help others as well.  Let me know your experience.

I received an email about a new website that had been created related to Psoriasis.
Within that email was the information provided below. It summarises what the concept is behind the website and what their aims are. I have also looked into the site and will talk about it below the quoted text below.
(It says in it “the website will launch tomorrow” – it has already launched)
For the 1.8 million people known to have psoriasis in the UK lack of regular review highlighted by a recent survey could mean that serious comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer are missed.

New survey data show that:

• 1/3 of psoriasis patients haven't had treatment reviewed in at least five years
• 1/2 of psoriasis patients are on a repeat prescription
• Almost 60% of psoriasis patients on a repeat prescription felt at a disadvantage  

Lack of regular review highlighted by survey could mean that serious comorbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer are missed 
• Psoriasis is a common condition affecting 1.8 million people in the UK
• More than just dry skin, psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that affects patients over a number of years, sometimes from childhood
• Psoriasis is associated with an increased chance of developing other serious conditions such as psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers
• The condition can also have a significant physical, psychological and social impact on sufferers, and can limit their work opportunities and income
• The significant burden has just been recognised by a recent World Health Organization resolution on psoriasis which aims to combat the stigma, improve disease information and patient access to care.

The Psoriasis: Think Twice campaign was created to address the significant patient need and is supported by a Working Group of experts in the field of psoriasis care. 

• Psoriasis: Think Twice equips patients with the tools and information they need to talk to their doctor about the physical and psychological impact of their condition
• The Psoriasis: Think Twice website www.PsoriasisThinkTwice.co.uk launches tomorrow and will help patients take ownership of their care

British Skin Foundation has commented:

"Skin disease can have a huge impact on all aspects of a person’s life, including self-confidence, career and personal relationships. One way to try and combat this is to ensure that patients have the best information and resources available to them to optimally manage their condition. Ensuring easily accessible advice and guidance is vital to prevent patients from becoming stuck on treatment cycles of repeat prescriptions where there may be a more effective alternative. This is why we support the Psoriasis: Think Twice campaign."

From me:
When you click on the link it takes you to a very colourful home page with the following tabs “Think twice”, “7 tips”, “Jessica”,  “Exposed: Film”, “Dear Dr.”, Working Group”, “More Info” and “Quotes”.

Think Twice:
Quotes at the beginning that around 1/3 of people with pso, haven’t had it checked by a GP in roughly 5 years or so. It also gives the study in which that information has been collected at the bottom of the page; “Opinion Matters Survey, Patients with Psoriasis Receiving a Repeat Prescription, LEO Pharma data on file, May 2014”. So if you want to check that out for more information, then do!

You can also do a cute little bottle count of how many treatments you currently have or use.

7 Tips:
So this gives you helpful information when you are going to see your GP. To find out more information; click on the “download” button and it just comes up in a handy PDF that you can print.

This is a section dedicated to a story about Jessica, a fellow psoriasis sufferer. She explains her troubles with psoriasis and how it affected her life and education. It is wonderful to see someone share a story with others in hopes that they will realized they are not the only ones who find battling psoriasis such a physical and emotional struggle. She is sharing her story with everyone in hope that others will not have to suffer the way she did. Thanks to you, Jessica.

This part is truly wonderful. It is a film about a woman who documents her struggles with Psoriasis.

Dear Dr.:
This sections overs common questions that GP’s are asked and gives answers to them.

Working Group:
This is a list of people behind the campaign and lists their professions.

More Information:
This section shows you other places that are available for people with psoriasis to go. Very helpful to have and I suggest that you check them out if you haven't heard of them before as they are all different in their own way. 

I like this section; it shows what other people have to say about living with psoriasis. I am a fan of reading other people’s opinions and feelings so it is a nice touch to have on their website.

You should check it out for yourself! J
This is an article by a write at Chemist Direct. It talks about the possibility that there is a link between beer and psoriasis due to its gluten content. At the end of the article I will link to the study where the information was obtained from therefore allowing you to read it yourself. 

Psoriasis Linked to Beer Consumption; Gluten to Blame?

Research has shown that women who drink alcohol more often, particularly regular beer, appear to be at greater risk from the autoimmune skin disease psoriasis.

Psoriasis is skin disorder which affects around 3% of the population in the UK. It’s an immune condition where skin replacement speeds up causing raised ‘plaques’ which can be scaly, flaky and itchy with a darker skin tone. It affects both men and women equally and the severity of the condition differs from person to person. In many cases it can have an impact on sufferer’s lives both physically and mentally so finding ways to improve the condition or stop it from occurring is important to psoriasis sufferers.

Although many doctors will say that diet is not a major factor in psoriasis outbreaks a study by Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University has shown that women who have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per week (particularly beer) appear to be at increased risk of developing the condition.

The study consisted of 83,000 nurses, 1,000 of which had had previous outbreaks of psoriasis. Every two years the women who participated in the study were sent questionnaires about their alcohol consumption. They were questioned about how much they drank, what they drank and if they had been diagnosed with psoriasis. The research found that drinking wine, light beer and liquor did not cause an increase in the risk of developing the condition. However those who drank non light beer and consumed on average 2.3 beers a week had a 72% greater risk of getting psoriasis compared to those who did not drink at all. The risk was also increased further for those who consumed 5 or more non light beers a week.

Abrar A. Qureshi, assistant professor of dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston with relation to the study stated:
"We can say that if a woman would like to consume alcohol and if she has a family history of psoriasis or known psoriasis in the past or some other reason she might be predisposed to psoriasis, the alcohol of choice probably should not be non-light beer"

"When we looked up the components of different alcoholic beverages, one thing that stood out for non-light beer was the amount of protein, gluten in particular," said Qureshi "When we stumbled on this, we realized that there have been reports in the past that ingested gluten was associated not just with psoriasis worsening but other autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease."

Due to the fact that there was no significant increase in psoriasis risk with other types of alcohol suggests that a component in beer, possibly barley, may be responsible for the increased risk of developing the condition.
Beer is one of the very few non distilled alcoholic drinks, and uses a fermentation process usually with a starch source such as barley. Barley contains gluten, a substance that sufferers of autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis can be very sensitive to. The researcher of the study says that the association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of new cases of psoriasis, or of the condition worsening, has been suspected for a long time.

If you think you have a risk of developing psoriasis or already have it staying away from gluten may help your condition and many sufferers of the disorder have seen their skin improve dramatically by following a gluten free diet. The researchers of the study believe that doctors should educate patients on the potential impacts lifestyle can have on the condition whilst encouraging changes which may be beneficial to them managing the disease.

Where can I see this information for myself?

Where can I find more Chemist Direct psoriasis articles? 

Hello all you beauties! 

I have created another chart from the second poll that I had on my page. There were less votes for this one as I think that I had it on the page for less time overall. However, every single vote is important to me regardless of overall numbers. 

I hope that this gives you piece of mind, to know that there are others out there who think and feel exactly the same. 

I know that I am lacking in the confidence department, so don't feel disheartened that you are, most of us are! 

I do want to pay special note to those awesome people out there that voted "I honestly don't care what people think" - I hope to be in your category one day. I hope we all make it there :) 

Let me know if you have any ideas for poll questions. I have put the third one up now, so please go vote! :D

I am very excited for this; this is the data that was collected from the question poll on my page!

I hope these polls will highlight that the feelings associated with psoriasis and to show others outlooks on having the condition.

This is the data from the first poll:

I hope these polls will highlight that the feelings associated with psoriasis and to show others outlooks on having the condition. 

If you have any ideas for new poll questions;anything that you personally want to know or and questions you have, then comment below and I will create one. 

I received a spot on Healthline’s list of the Best Psoriasis Blogs of 2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This makes me so happy.

The list is brilliantly compromised and created with great care. I admire a lot of the other bloggers on the list and would like to share that with you today.

AND I want to share with you the badge that I received due to this great honour.

The list of bloggers:

Just a Girl With Spots: http://justagirlwithspots.com/

Being Me In My Own Skin: http://beingmeinmyownskin.com/

Serious About Psoriasis: http://www.seriousaboutpsoriasis.com/

Read them!
All of us come from different walks of life and have all had our own unique experiences with psoriasis. What we write about is different and how we express ourselves is different. However, we will always have one common goal and that is to make people suffering with psoriasis feel at ease and to try and help them power through. You should give them all a read as they are all wonderful in their own way.

I received an email asking me to spread the word about a very beautiful concept. 

It is called: 2014 Health Hero Awards.

This award aims to highlight those special people who put themselves second and someone else first. As the email stated “the heroes of healthcare”. I think that it is only available to residents in the UK. 

There are so many people out there who go above and beyond to ensure that someone knows they are loved at a time that they need it most. This award goes to show that special someone that their selfless act meant more to you than they probably know.

My Hero:
I fell ill and was hospitalized when I was about 14. I remember my Mother would not leave my side – even when I had to go into the operating room she refused to leave until I was unconscious and even then I was told she kept talking to me. My entire family supported me through the situation but her especially. She cried with me and at times for me. She stayed awake with me. She talked to me and kept me calm. She asked questions for me. She made me comfortable. She was so close to me the entire time I didn’t feel alone or worried. When I was in pain she sorted it out, when I was thirsty she poured me a drink, when I was hungry she fed me. To be honest, I don’t remember being that worried when I was in hospital – at all. I knew that she was there and that she would take care of me. I didn’t need to be worried, my mother was there and she was my rock. She had the strength for both of us and made sure that I was as happy as I could be considering the circumstances. I must mention my sister and father though – they were there for me and cared for me also, throughout (sadly all three of them couldn’t stay in the hospital no matter how hard they tried to!) and afterwards when I need to go into London for check-ups.

I love them unconditionally and will forever be grateful for putting themselves aside and taking care of me when I really needed them. All three of them each in their own unique way made me feel safe. 

Who are they meant to be?
Your special person doesn’t need to be a family member. It could be someone that you kindled a relationship with going through a tough time. Someone who might share a similar story as you so knows your troubles and tribulations. It could be a family doctor who has taken care of your health from when you were born up until now. Maybe even someone who hasn’t taken care of you personally, but has taken care of a relative or friend.

There are so many people out there who strive to make others suffering bearable. They do it completely selflessly and that in itself is honourable.

To nominate your Health Hero then go to www.boots.com/healthheroes OR go into a Boots UK store and pick up a leaflet.

Nominations close on the 20th May 2014. So you need to hustle and get your nominations in.

Now onto the fun stuff! This is a direct comment from the email I received:
What is really exciting is that each of the five Health Hero finalists will receive an all-expenses paid VIP trip to in London, staying at a top hotel, with tickets to Health Hero Awards Gala Dinner. The Health Hero that’s made the biggest difference to someone’s life will be announced at the celebrity gala dinner and they’ll receive a well-deserved family holiday up to the value of £5,000

Please nominate your Hero. Heroes don’t do good to be recognized or given a medal, they do it because of the goodness in their heart and to put a smile on someone else’s face. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make sure they know just how amazing they are AND to tell the entire world that they are absolutely wonderful!! 
This is a beautifully written account by Russell. He took the time out to write about his experiences with psoriasis and has courageously let me share that story with you.

Russell's E-mail:

I tried most of the creams you have written about but nothing really worked for me. Things just got worse.

I did a great deal of research and found three things that have worked well to minimise the effects of Psoriasis. I developed it when I moved to a desert country, whether that was the trigger or not, I'm unsure.

The four things I tried were a healthy diet to detoxify, exposure to sunlight (UV), exercise to de-stress and a good cream regime.

I went on a strict four month detox diet. Within 3 weeks the small hard itchy areas that had started to develop receded back to normal skin conditions. I cut out sugar, processed foods, yeast, all oils (except small amounts of olive oil), cut down on red meat, no coffee, dairy products especially butter, cheese as well as margarine, bleached products like white flour, white rice and pasta. I also cut out anything acidic except for lemon juice. The only sugar intake was through fruits and a few teaspoons of honey for my immune system. I found out that so many food products like baked beans and tinned soup (even the top brands) contained excessive amounts of sugar. I resorted to buying only fresh foods and did not eat out.

I increased my intake of salads, vegetables, green tea, water, brown rice, brown pasta and fish. I also reduced my meal time portions and when I felt hungry I drank water. In most cases when one has a healthy diet and you feel hungry, your body is asking for water. Chips and roast potatoes were par boiled and baked coated with a bit of olive oil and fresh herbs. Bread intake was decreased but I made homemade whole-wheat bread as I could see what went into the recipe.

I would drink juice from a whole lemon with a tea spoon of virgin olive oil (watch out for fakes) to cleanse the liver on a daily basis. I actually started having a lot more energy as a result of the diet. Along with the diet I took a daily dose of Psyllium husk tablets for my colon. I also took an antioxidant tablet but one can get these vitamins through natural foods.

This worked for me but there are different detox diets available out there where it is up to the individual to try what's best for them.

Secondly, I increased my exposure to sunlight which did help somewhat. Nothing had eradicated the problem entirely but life was more bearable.

The third most important part was to exercise regularly to reduce the normal daily stress of life and having to deal with Psoriasis.

But here's what I have found to work well on top of the diet. I use Skin-Cap shampoo which has cleared my scalp entirely. On my body, I use a soft loufa to remove the scales and slightly reduce the size of the area without breaking the skin and then I build the skin up through moisturising creams.

I use Skin-Cap cream 2 times a day on areas that start to show. The really bad areas are covered in the cream quite thickly and then I use a surgical plaster to keep the cream in. I leave it on for 24 hours and then let the skin breathe for half a day and repeat the process. After a week, all of the red irritated parts have almost disappeared. Once the scales are gone, I keep moisturising twice a day to keep it away. This works wonders and my skin goes back to normal.

I still have to moisturise my entire body with a general cream like Bioderma twice a day and when I see a red area developing I use the Skin -Cap cream to stop it spreading. Areas that are persistent get the Skin -Cap daily just to be on the safe side. When a hard itchy area starts to develop I found that preventing it from spreading was a lot easier than trying to reduce it in size.

Contacting Russell.

On top of emailing about his struggles with psoriasis he has given contact details if anyone would wish to communicate with him about anything that he has written. 

From me:

I have never personally met Russell, he just emailed me about his story and I asked him if it was okay to share on my blog for others to read. I really feel that reading someone else's story gives you a sense of calm and clarity that you are not alone and that others out there face the same things you do. 

Thank you Russell, your story was truly appreciated.  
Okay so, I have also received another e-mail from a woman at Optomen which is a TV production company. She would like me to write something about their up and coming show that is focused around psoriasis. They have mentioned that filming is to take place soon so anyone that would with to be a part of the show needs to contact them right away. 

A little bit about Optomen:

It is an “award-winning TV production company” who has made “high-profile programmes for both UK and US channels”. They have produced TV shows such as: Gordon Ramsay's Behind Bars (C4), Great British Menu (BBC) and Mary: Queen of Shops (BBC).

What Optomen had to say:

“Optomen TV are currently making a brand new health show for the Discovery Channel and we are keen to raise awareness of Psoriasis, in order for viewers to gain a clearer understanding of what it’s like to live with this condition. Our show will explore the symptoms associated with Psoriasis and how best to treat/manage it. 

We are reaching out to people with Psoriasis who would be comfortable taking about their condition on television. If anyone is interested, they should email us at 
healthshow@optomen.com with their name, location, contact email address and a brief description about themselves. As we are scheduled to film soon, we advise anyone interested to get in touch asap”

From me:

I am not entirely sure about specifics with this show but they summed it up pretty efficiently; it is a show that will be trying to raise awareness and understanding of psoriasis through people with the condition participating in the show and representing the psoriasis community.

I am a huge advocate for anything that is psoriasis related and hope that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to be a face for us all. It takes a lot of courage to talk about psoriasis and the way that it affects your life, so a big thank you to anyone who is strong enough to do so.

Contacting Optomen:

Email them at healthshow@optomen.com or www.optomen.com/casting  (I am not sure which so probably best to send an e-mail to the address and have a look on the website for other contact details if you don't hear anything in reply) with:
1.     Name
2.     Location
3.     Contact email address
4.     Brief description of yourself (I’m guessing age/type of psoriasis/profession/family details)

Other Optomen contact details: