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SkinLife

It’s not often I write about anything to do with other skin conditions and I have been thinking about this for some time. Something has come up recently though that I want to get out there no matter what your skin condition may be. SkinLife is an event for you whether you have dry skin, Psoriasis, Eczema or Acne. Brought to you by the online  shop HelloSkin, this is a day dedicated to those with skin conditions.

The even takes place in London, a short walk from Liverpool Street station, on Saturday 20th January. There will be experts on hand to give you skin consultations throughout the day as well as industry-leading speakers giving talks and workshops on topics from nutrition to mindfulness.

There are also special promotions being run by Philips and Sorion who are also doing talks on the market leading products.

Tickets rang from £11.13 to £42.75 but you can get discounts on these with the early bird offer where a VIP ticket is £25 instead of the full price £40.00 (plus booking fee). Each ticket includes money to spend on purchases during the day and a goodie bag. The VIP ticket gives you a premium goodie bag and lunch and refreshments, exclusive access to the workshops and talk and a complimentary skin consultation with the HelloSkin advisors.

To purchase tickets you click the link here and don’t forget that the early bird discounts expire on 2nd December. I will be going too so if you'[re a reader and ever wondered what I’m like in real life, this is your chance. Don’t forget, whatever your skin condition this is for you so save the date and we’ll see you there.

SkinLife

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Let’s get something out there straight away. Yes I have a cold, no it’s not man flu. I’ve said this before, if you think man flu is bad try psoriasis flu. Okay so it’s not quite flu but even a cold when you have Psoriasis makes a cold all the more annoying.

About a month ago I went into work with a slightly tickley throat and thought I may have a cold coming on. By 11am I think it was in was on my way home with a banging head, sore watery eyes, ear ache and with little energy. That’s how quick a cold can  attack when your immune system is busy fighting something pretend infection. I don’t mean Psoriasis  is made up, one of the explanations of Psoriasis is that your body thinks your skin is under attack, hence the rush of blood cells to the skin and increased growth rate to repair it. Or as I like to put it “I’m not a hypochondriac, my skin is”. 

So while my body is busy fighting something that isn’t there, something like a mild cold can become a bigger issue if not treated quickly. So that day I totted off home, dosed up and spent nearly three days in bed so by Monday I was fit for work again. 

Added to this my skin flared up so I auvergne been having to up my treatment of that since then as well. Over the last week it has been looking a lot better and I’m getting it back under control and then, like I shouldn’t have expected it, I have a other cold. I felt the signs yesterday and started dosing up straight away and now panic sets in. Will my skin react to this cold? Well so far no, it actually less itchy than it was yesterday.

This kind of goes back to my thoughts that psoriasis never does what you expect it to do. It can react to situations or it may decide it can’t be bothered. The fact it hasn’t flared yet does not stop me worrying that it might just be a delayed reaction though. So the treatment of both the cold and my skin is increased. 

Years ago this was a real pain. I would moan and groan and complain that I have to look after too illnesses at the same time. When a cold leaves me with little energy I don’t want to have to worry about my skin too. 

Now, even though this may seem like a moan, it’s just something I do. I get on with it, “chin up”  as they say. Honestly this isn’t really a moan, more a get it off my chest, much like I wish I could get this cold off my chest.

Hello all. We’re already half way through October and thoughts turn to dark nights snuggling up on the sofa, bonfires, fireworks and all things spooky as Halloween approaches. Now I’m English and Halloween is one of those holidays I haven’t always agreed with. Firstly it’s a made up thing, I don’t like people knocking on my door at the best of times so dressed up as spooks in the dark asking for treats and threatening to do something if I don’t is why I’m usually just out for the night. However,  I do like a party, well I do these days. Obviously there were times when I wouldn’t leave the house for fear of people recoiling at my skin but it’s Halloween and I have the perfect skin for that.

My skin has been improving but with the changeable weather, a busy life and a cold it has recently flared a little. Not too much but it’s back to itchy, flaky and some cracking so I make the perfect undead. So whilst all your friends go hunting for outfits we can all sit here quite content knowing we have a ready made costume and the best thing is, people will think it’s very realistic make up. If you’re worried about reactions to your skin and still not confident about showing it off, Halloween is your perfect opportunity. Mind you, I bet if there’s a competition for best costume we’d get disqualified thinking our “make-up” was done professionally.

This is just a bit of fun and just wanted to show that even with flaky dry skin we can still make something positive out of it and have a laugh. Believe me, I have been one to moan about this condition a lot so when I get a chance to use it to my advantage I will. So get out there, spook your neighbours and have a boogie to the Monster Mash.

Psoriasis, what is it good for? Go on, song “absolutely nothing”, you know you want to. So often I find inspiration from music in dealing and talking about Psoriasis. I’m not always sure where it comes from, I can be sat having a cup of coffee as I am now and just say the word Psoriasis. Then something, often obscure, pops into my head which then leads to a post like this.

I actually think this is a good question. What is Psoriasis good for? I guess most people would say nothing as it is hard to often find a positive thing to say about Psoriasis.

Well luckily for you I am here to tell you what it’s good for. Firstly it gives thousands of people a job. Okay I’m sure we’d rather not have this condition but think of the nursing staff, doctors, scientists, pharma employees and vacuum cleaner makers that would be out of work. Yeah that last one is because we are the reason for powerful vacuum cleaners, forget pet hair, honestly my dyson gets used much more for cleaning up my skin. You may noticed I conveniently ignored the millions and possibly billions spent on treating Psoriasis and time lost in doctor’s appointments and depressions, I am desperately trying to find the positives here.

So what else is it good for? Well for many of us it has shown what we’re made of. Whether you have found this condition takes you to the brink of suicide or maybe not so far, if you’ve made it back to being yourself, to leading as normal a life as you can or totally turning your life around and found life is even better than before then ask yourself this, would you be there without the challenge of living with psoriasis? There are things I have done that if it was not for psoriasis I never would have done. I would not be writing this blog for a start and you wouldn’t be reading it because there would be no “My Skin and I” to read and you’d never have got my random thoughts about Psoriasis and the X-Men. So if  you’re reading this (okay you may wish you weren’t) and if you find it slightly amusing or even informative then that is thanks to Psoriasis.

I know it’s annoying isn’t it, having to thank Psoriasis for anything. Well I do, I have friends because of Psoriasis, I have been into Parliament, I have spoken in front of healthcare professionals, I have written part of a book, had photo shoots, all in the name of Psoriasis. So what is Psoriasis good for? It’s good for making me the person I am today but if it asks me personally then the answer is “absolutely nothing” don’t want it getting all smug. Could you imagine Psoriasis being smug as well?

Stay strong, keep the treatment up and keep walking toward that light at the end of the tunnel everyone.

Anger. Yes it deserves it’s own sentence as it is a word commonly associated with Psoriasis. Anger at the time it can take to get the right treatment, anger at others because you’re tired and stressed from a lack of sleep, anger because of a flare up, anger at yourself for letting it get to you. Then getting angry at others because they ask questions you are tired of answering.  Be honest with yourself,  do you know about every illness without having to ask questions? There are many reasons people get angry with psoriasis, I know as I was one of those people. Did you notice I said “was”? 

Okay this may surprise a lot of people who know me, they have seen over the years how much I hated having this condition, how much it got to me, made me shout, scream and lock myself away. How much I felt the world was against me. No more, Psoriasis, no more.

I am not sure how it clicked in my head, it only happened recently, that I realised that most of the distress I get from Psoriasis is because I was angry. The usual questions of why me? Why can’t it be cured? Why is treatment such a hit and miss affair?

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Whilst having a cup of coffee, sat in my garden on a warm sunny day I looked around at what I had. Bob the cat was rolling around in the grass, the garden was blooming, my herbs were growing well as were my tomatoes and strawberries. You could say I had a little thyme to reflect. I looked at the house we have lived in for two years now and thought, I have this. I have so many things I love, a beautiful wife, Bob the cat, a house full of character and a kitchen made for cooking and entertaining (should probably do a bit more of that).

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All of this has been achieved whilst having psoriasis. So why should I be angry with it? It hasn’t stopped me getting what I want. Okay it may have made me miss a few parties and shut me away a few times but that was just part of the journey. Part of coming to terms with the fact I have this now and there is little I can do about it. Okay I can take meds, look after my skin and diet. I can’t create  cure though and no amount of nagging the scientists and experts out there from me is going to suddenly produce one.

Psoriasis is with me for the long haul. It has decided to be with me so I take solace in the fact I must be such an amazing and charismatic person that it wants to be with me so much. Acceptance is the one thing I said I would never do and I know a few people who will read this with a smile now and a “I told you so”.

So my advice to anyone still struggling is stop being angry. Accept that Psoriasis has chosen you because you are amazing, it just cannot bare to be without you. Treat yourself well, look after your skin and, most importantly, live your life and make the most of every day.

To finish, as he’s been mentioned, here’s a little pic of Bob the Cat, especially as today happens to be International Cat Day.

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I have often said that Psoriasis has a way of surprising you. Now into I think my 14th year with this condition I thought I had seen it all. I have also joked and written posts about being one of the X-Men as Psoriasis is my mutant power and recently, this bit of fiction seems to have a little bit of real life to it.

I’m not sure it comes across too much that I am a keen cook. My Twitter name is @Simonlovesfood, I have cooked with Michelin Star chefs (okay only twice and mostly prepping but still), have cooked in other professional kitchens (okay mostly prepping again, but still), and enjoy cooking for family and friends. So I cook a bit.

Oh, and to go back a bit further, my oven broke. A complete disaster in the My Skin and I household. As I refuse to own a microwave, all I had was a hob and a grill. Then again, the barbecue did come in to use even on the less warm or sunny days. Now, anyone reading is thinking “and how does this back up your belief that Psoriasis is a superpower Simon?” Well I’m getting to that.

So the oven is replaced and finding a real bargain in the sales we were able to purchase a very good oven and the little chef in side me started jumping up and down with excitement. Every night became an adventure, trying new dishes, using my much more efficient oven. Then I thought, the steak stone, I’ll get the steak stone out. If you don’t know what a steak stone is, it is a big flat stone you put in your oven and then place in it’s holder so you can cook at the table.

You need to get the stone up to it’s highest heat so basically whack the oven on full and leave it in there for a good couple of hours. As I was getting said steak stone out of the oven, with a thick cloth rather than the gloves they provide, my hand hit the rack above. Having a heavy slab of stone in your hands and a searing burning sensation is rather annoying. Somehow I managed to get the stone on the table and then treated my hand.

It had burnt so much it instantly blistered (yeah there’s a nice image for you). However it had almost done quite a bit of damage and removed several layers of skin. Now it was the kind of burn that should take weeks to heal unless you get it treated. Me being a man did not get it treated. It soon scabbed over and within a week the scab fell off (more lovely images) to reveal healthy skin. Outstandingly healthy skin in fact.

Apart from a bit of discolouring still in that part of my hand it is hard to notice. I now put this down to my super fast growing skin. Either that or I am Wolverine in his Logan days where he doesn’t heal quite fully or that quickly.  So I have found the plus side of psoriasis, quick healing skin and I am happy to say it is y Psuperpower. I’d rather be Wolverine though.

 

 

It has long been recognised that psoriasis is a complex skin disease that has psychological associations as well as physical ones. It’s thought that stress can play a role in the flare-up of symptoms, and many sufferers can often trace their first outbreak back to a stressful event or period in their life.

With this in mind, the role of stress reduction has become an important part of psoriasis treatment. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol in the body, which can cause inflammation. In psoriasis, symptoms are triggered by an inflammatory response in the body, so it’s not hard to see how the two go hand in hand.

One approach that has been gaining traction in recent times, alongside conventional psoriasis treatment, is the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT.

CBT is one of many so-called ‘talking’ therapies, and its aim is to change negative thought patterns in patients. By altering the way that you think or behave, it can help you to better manage your problems or health condition (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx).

CBT is most often used to treat anxiety or depression, but a number of studies have recently been carried out to see what effects it may have on treating skin diseases that have a psychological interaction, such as psoriasis. The results, so far, have proved quite enlightening.

Researchers have discovered that treatments such as CBT can prove beneficial in many ways, improving the quality of life of sufferers and reducing the severity of symptoms (http://psoriasisnewstoday.com/2016/06/14/efficacy-of-biofeedback-and-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-in-psoriatic-patientsa-single-blind-randomized-and-controlled-study-with-added-narrow-band-ultraviolet-b-therapy/).

Studies have found that CBT can help to ease the anxiety or depression that many sufferers of this skin disease experience. In fact, it’s thought that a third of people with psoriasis report feelings of anxiety or depression (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK327714/).

Research has also indicated that CBT can help to retrain the brain to think differently about this skin disease and can even improve physical symptoms. It can also help to reverse the bad habits associated with the disease, such as changing behaviour to reduce scratching and itching. Other relaxation techniques and meditation have also been shown to help ease symptoms, although not to the same extent as CBT (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/9499471/Skin-disease-hope-through-psychotherapy.html).

CBT and other talking or relaxation therapies are certainly beginning to gain recognition in their role managing symptoms of skin diseases such as psoriasis. With further research, it could be that sufferers rely more and more on these treatments as much as conventional methods.

 

This guest article has been written by Tania Godoy from HelloSkin.