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Psoriasis in verse 

Psoriasis, it makes you scream

So you put on cream.

The relief it brings

Dares you to dream.
You feel it clear

Healthy skin is near

Another flare up

Is what you fear.

 

You wish it would,

You wish it could

be cured forever.

That would be so good.

It is difficult enough choosing the best prescription for your skin let alone searching the endless aisles of skincare products in the shops for the support products. I mean the moisturisers, bath emollients, shower gels, shampoos and everything else those with psoriasis or other dry skin conditions need to buy. I have spent so much time in the past going from one shop to another, looking on line to find the products I need. Wouldn’t it be great if you could go to one place and find them all…….. Well now you can at HelloSkin.

HelloSkin is one of the many successful projects from the Leo Innovation Lab. It is a site where you can buy all your skin care products in one and have them delivered to your door in super quick time. It isn’t just for those with psoriasis, it covers all dry skin conditions and allows you to read user reviews too so you can see what others think before trying something new. They do not claim to have every single product, in fact some would get rejected as they have the products assessed by expert dermatologists. If you have a favourite product you can’t find on the site, just drop them a line and they will look into having it added as  long as it brings proven relief to those with dry skin. I mentioned a product to them a while ago and had a response within the same day saying they had already started discussions with the manufacturer. They are that quick to respond.

I have recently had a couple of products from HelloSkin, two of my firm favourites. Aveeno Oil and Diprobase Cream Emollient. You will constantly find these in my bathroom and this is why:

Diprobase Cream is the first emollient I was eve given when I was diagnosed with Psoriasis. It layers on pretty thick and isn’t the quickest to soak in but it remains part of my regular products for moisturising. I like to layer it on really think before a bath or shower as it stops my skin drying out too much. If I have a lazy weekend, I can again use this quite liberally and give my skin a good moisturise whilst laying around in old clothes I don’t mind getting stained. You can even use it instead of soap or shower gel. I also use it in my shaving routine, putting a thin layer on before putting on the shaving gel.

Diprobase comes in 500g pump bottles and seems to last for ages. I have had the latest for two weeks now and have been using it daily. I think also there is something holistic about using such a creamy emollient, it just feels like it’s doing you good when you put it on. If you find your skin had a burning sensation or is warm form a flare up then keep this in the fridge and it helps cool you down, especially before going to sleep. It is just a great all round moisturiser.

SONY DSC

Aveeno Oil is something I use in the bath mostly. I put some in a lukewarm bath, watch the water turn milky and then lay back and relax. It prevents you drying out like you would in a normal bath and is something you can combine with other products. You can put on a moisturiser before getting in the bath or add some dead sea salts. My tip here too is to keep the lights low, put on some music and just relax. This definitely has some holistic qualities and I know there is much debate on the effectiveness of oatmeal (the essential ingredient of Aveeno).

For me, Aveeno oil definitely helps. When I am having a flare up I find putting some in the bath and then using a little more direct to the skin to wash with soothes my skin and is very effective in relieving the itch.

So I have to thank HelloSkin as having had a few products from them now I can only say it is one task that has been made a lot easier. The products always arrive carefully packed and are received within a day or two depending what time you order.

HelloSkin would also like to thank you, their customers and if you wish to purchase from them we have a special discount code for my readers. Please quote HELLOSIMON at the checkout and you will receive 10% off your order, no minimum spend. It is only valid for one order though. So get online and say hello to HelloSkin.

To purchase Aveeno oil click here.

To purchase Diprobase click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Psoriasmas Carol

It was Christmas Eve and the house was silent.

“SCRATCHITT.” Ebenezer Psoriasis’ voice boomed out in the darkness as Tom Scratchitt tried to sleep. He awoke with a start, his hand automatically drawn to his leg, nails digging in to his skin and drawing blood.

“Why make me do this now?” He asked Ebenezer Psoriasis.

“Because it’s fun to see you suffer” Ebenezer sneered. He chuckled to himself and promptly went back to sleep leaving a tired Tom Scratchitt to clean up the mess of flakes and blood now caked on his hand.

Tom went to the bathroom, ran his hands under some cool water and gently dabbed his bleeding leg with damp flannel. It offered some relief and Tom closed his eyes, thinking he could sleep right there. “Why won’t he leave me alone, why does he keep tormenting me?” he asked himself. He opened his eyes, looked in the mirror and saw a face looking back that he barely recognised. A once confident face looking drawn and haggard and a noticeable lack of life in his eyes.

It wasn’t the best of night’s sleep for Ebenezer either though. He felt a presence, something else was in the room. “Ebenezer Psoriasis” a ghostly voice called. He looked around, saw nothing and closed his eyes again. “Ebenezer Psoriasis” the voice said louder “You are a wicked man Ebenezer”. This time he sat up and turned on the bedside light. A shape appeared in front of him.

“Who are you, what do you want?” He asked squinting as he tried to focus on the hazy floating vision.

“Who I am is no important, my reason for being here is” it said with a strange whispering voice. “You are being watched Ebenezer, your evil acts cannot continue”.

“Bah, Humbug” said Ebenezer. “I like being bad, it’s fun” he sniggered.

“Be warned Ebenezer, you will be visited by three ghosts to show you the error of your ways”.

“I’d rather not thanks” replied Ebenezer, “Unless they like scratching too?” He chuckled to himself.

The ghost eyed Ebenezer closely, well if it had eyes it would have done. It was more of just a mist than a person. “This is going to be a toughie” I thought to itself, “Oh well the others can deal with that bit”.

The ghost flew around the room “Three ghosts Ebenezer, the first will come at….”

“Midnight, the second at one and the third at two, yeah yeah I’ve read Christmas Carol” Ebenezer interrupted and then told the ghost to shove off. With that the ghost huffed, shrugged his shoulders and as he went to speak, thought better of it and with a small puff of smoke it disappeared.

Midnight arrived. No chiming of the clock, I mean this is the digital age after all. Ebenezer Psoriasis slept soundly, unlike Tom Scratchitt who tossed and turned, subconsciously scratching his skin. Tom’s smartphone suddenly lit up and then stood on the bedside table. Tom couldn’t see this but Ebenezer raised one eyebrow and looked at the phone curiously.

“Ebenezerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Psoriasissssssssssssssssssss” the phone whispered.

“What is it with you ghosts, can’t you just talk normally, I was expecting you so you don’t have to act all mysterious?” he snarled.

“Oh, erm, sorry” the phone said rather taken aback “We are told to speak like that in spirit school.” It continued. “Well, erm….” The spirit paused, finding it difficult to get back on track. It switched on it’s notes app. “Ah yes, shall we go back in time then to a Christmas past”.

“Whatever” Ebenezr said with a shrug of his shoulders and with that the room filled with light so bright Ebenezer couldn’t see anything but whiteness. As the light faded he found himself in a lounge of a house and there on the floor playing with his new Christmas toys was a young Tom Scratchitt. The boy made car sounds as he raced a toy car round the carpet by the Christmas tree.

“Who’s this then?” Ebenezer asked.

“What that is young Tom Scratchitt, long before you came into his life. See how happy and carefree he is. See how lovely his skin looks.”

“Hmmmmm, yes I do see, oh if only he knew the misery that is to come.” Ebenezer let out an evil laugh and rubbed his hands with glee. “Yes boy, you just wait, I’ll stop that smile on your face.” He chortled.

“Yes, look” the spirit said “See how happy, does it not fill you with remorse to know how unhappy you have made this once happy child?” It asked pleadingly.

“No not really…. Well apart from thinking I could have given him a few more years misery.” Ebenezer sneered. “Yes, maybe I should have found him in his late teens. Oh well, nothing I can do about that now.”

The spirit went silent, there is nothing in his online guide app about this. “Cortana, what do I do with an unrepentant soul?” It asked. Cortana’s ring span for what seemed like an age before answering.

“Sorry, I do not understand the question.” Cortana said.

“Right, I’ve seen enough, this is making me feel sick seeing all this happiness, I’m off back to bed.” Ebenezer turned and picked up the phone and licked the off switch. The screen faded to black and Ebenezer found himself back in bed with the still restless Tom Scratchitt.

1 a.m. arrived and in the next room a light glowed. “Oh joy, the ghost of Christmas present has arrived, let’s see what this one can do.” Ebenezer chuckled to himself. He ran into the room “I’m in to know you better man.” He boomed.

“C…… Oh, you know that bit” said a large tub of emollient.

“Really? Emollient?” Queried Ebnezer. “Could you not think of anything else, it’s not like that stuff even bothers me.”

“Well it had to be something you’d relate to and this is the UK so I can’t appear as a prescription product, you know we have laws about that kind of thing.” The tub replied.

“You should try living by your own rules, that’s what I do” Smiled Ebenezer. “One day I’ll be all nice and calm, even start to fade and for no reason I’ll come running back and jumping all over my victim the next day. Oh they’ll try to find a pattern, try to figure out what caused it. That’s part of the fun, they’ll never get it.”

“Really, you have no rules?” the Tub asked. “I get so bored of rules, I mean look at this paperwork the put in every carton and that’s just in this form. Don’t get me started on the spirit guide book… You shall Boom every word, makes bells jangle and lights flicker to get attention. I mean, what ever happened to just talking to someone to make them understand?”

Ebenezer walked over to the tub and put an arm round it “I hear you man, you need to pull away from the rulebook, be your own… erm… Spirit, as it were. You go tell them you are a free spirit and not to boss you around anymore.” Ebenezer said comfortingly and wondered how many more spirit puns he could find.

The tub lifted it’s head, well what resembled it’s head in its current form and proclaimed “Yes, thank you, I shall do just that, I’ll show ‘em.” And with that he was gone. Ebenezer chuckled to himself and wandered back to bed giving Tom Scratchitt a nudge just to make sure he wasn’t sleeping.

2 a.m. and the bed covers flew from atop the bed in a gush of wind and a blaze of lightning flashes. “Well that’s a bit more like it” said Ebenezer looking up at a dark apparition. “And I see you’ve gone for the classic look, I do like a bit of retro.”

The dark hooded figure raised one hand and pointed a finger at Ebenezer Psoriasis then curled it, beckoning him closer. Ebenezer got onto his knees and knelt in front of the sprit. “Dear Spirit, I know what you have come for. You have come to show me how bad life will be for Tom Scratchitt if I do not mend my ways. Dear spirit, I understand, I can see what misery I cause and I will make amends.”

The Spirit lifted its head and would have said “Huh?” in a surprised way if was able to speak. “I’ve only just got here and he’s already repenting” it thought to itself. “Yet the other spirits told me this wasn’t going well. Must be the good old hooded look.” The spirit straightened its back and stood proudly in front of Ebenezer, although little unsure what to do.

It held out a skeletal hand to Ebenezer as it thought it should at least go through the motions of showing him the Christmas yet to come. Ebenzer still knelt, looked up. “There is no need to take me on a journey Spirit. To prove to you I have changed I have something for you.”

The spirit was almost doing a jig inside his long dark robe. He thought he would at least give Ebenezer the chance to prove it and waited to see what he was to be given. Ebenezer took hold of the spirit’s bony hand and said “Happy i Christmas” with a smile that looked more evil than sincere but the spirit thought nothing of it as he knew Ebenzer probably hadn’t smiled genuinely for some time and would soon learn how to give a warm smile. The sprit looked down at his hand and saw skin start to form on its skeleton. The skin grew all over his body quickly and he could scarcely believe it. This was indeed a gift to no longer be shunned by his fellow spirits as they often cowered from his menacing look.

He nodded in appreciation towards Ebenezer and saw that Ebenezer was laughing. No, not laughing, he was sniggering and rubbing his hands. The spirit looked at his hands again, then rolled up his sleeves. The skin was still growing, growing so fast it was instantly peeling as more skin grew. The skin became cracked and started to weep. The spirit scratched at it as the itching started. It shook a fist at Ebenezer who just stood there laughing “Yes, a very merry itching Christmas” he sneered.

The spirit spun around the room, the itching was so intense it couldn’t think of anything else. It had thought it was being given the gift of skin and now saw Ebenezer for what he truly was. In despair it curled up and with a loud bang, a flash of light and a huge cloud of smoke it disappeared. “My work here is done” Ebenezer said to himself and got back into bed “Scratchitttttttttttttttttttttttttt.” He shouted one more time. Tom Scratchitt woke with a start, tired eyes looked round the room. His skin sore, his nails red with blood. He once again raised from the bed and headed to the bathroom. Ebenezer Psoriasis smiled as he slept peacefully. The End        

That is my Christmas story. Not a happy ending but I don’t think Psoriasis, if it were a person, would care about people’s welfare. Whether or not we find a cure for this condition or if you find a way to control it. Psoriasis itself remains the same, it will never stop trying to make our lives miserable so no spirits of Christmas can help it change its ways.

This Christmas spare a thought for those who suffer from chronic illnesses, not just psoriasis. There are millions of people around the world who need a little extra care and sometimes just to know you’re there. Give them your support, your understanding and be willing to listen. If you are Father Christmas and reading this though, a cure would be nice.

Happy Christmas one and all and I wish you an itch free New Year.

Having Psoriasis I am always on the lookout for new products, whether that be prescribed treatments or emollients to help me through the day. Even though I have products I use which work well for me, this is an area that is constantly moving and improving with research and new technologies. You can never have too much choice.

I was asked to try AproDerm Colloidal Oat Cream, an emollient from Fontus Health. This was a product I had never come across until recently and I was instantly interested as it contained colloidal Oat, something which many psoriasis patients find helps ease their symptoms. The other reason I agreed to try it is that it is only sold as an aid to healthy skin, they make no claims it will cure you of Psoriasis.

The cream is SLS, Parabens, Halogen, Fragrance and colour free which is what I always look for as I find anything, especially with perfume, can irritate my skin when I am flaring up. I was not let down by my confidence and have had no problems with the cream when putting it on. In fact I had just had to stop using a different emollient due to becoming sore and itchy and AproDerm helped calm my skin from that reaction also.

With regard to applying to your skin, it is a cream rather than a lotion and feels quite thick which can be a bit off putting. However, when applying it actually spreads much more easily than many other creams and soaks in well. It doesn’t take too long to dry and I found there was no sticky or greasy feeling after. It was almost like using a light lotion whilst getting the added protection and lasting moisturising effect of a cream.

The trial took place during the height of summer and I am always wary of putting creams on during the heat due to them sweating back out or making me feel even hotter. AproDerm is one of the few creams I can honestly say actually helped. On those hot itchy nights I would even add more during the night to calm my skin down and kept it in the fridge to help. I never got any residue of cream either when sweating. Finding a cream that works in heat is pretty much a life saver, well a sleep saver at least.

As I said before, this is not a cure for psoriasis so it will not surprise you that my skin is not clear. What I did find is that my skin felt softer and remained feeling fairly moisturised overnight meaning it didn’t rub off on bedding. During the day it had the same affect, I could put it on in the morning and feel comfortable most of the day. I found it made me feel less itchy which is very important and also reduces redness. It is a very soothing, calming cream. This is an all round great cream to have in your cupboard to help you through each day as we continue to fight psoriasis. A good sidekick to us psoriasis super heroes.

You can find out more about AproDerm here.

PSeptember Psoriasis

I should start with an apology. I’ve been quiet on here for a bit and this has been mostly due to being either busy or downright lazy. Hey, we all need a break sometimes and rather than feel guilty about it, think about jacking in the whole blog writing thing, I just sat back and let life go on. I mean, it’s not like the world will stop spinning if I don’t write a blog post.

Now we’re half way through September and somehow it feels like the good old days. Back to having a holiday in September, making as many excuses to celebrate my birthday over as long a period as possible, having a flare up and most importantly, celebrating (again as much and often as possible) our wedding anniversary. Ten years, this September marks our anniversary and for my wife, that’s also ten years married to psoriasis for which I think she deserves a standing ovation. So where ever you are, please be upstanding to my wife for being always understanding, supportive and a good old nagger when I pick my skin. To you, my rock, I raise a glass and drop a bit of skin on the floor. Don’t worry I’ll vacuum that up in a mo.

Now as well as us getting back to the routine of our usual September hols, my psoriasis has got back to it’s routine, Yes you know it, psoriasis has decided to have a flare up. Good ol’ reliable psoriasis, you git. Now we need to have word. This holiday is meant for me, my wife and our friends. In case you didn’t realise dear psoriasis, you are not my friend. We are not pals, buddies or compadres and certainly not besties. I know I’m adorable and you can’t bear  to be without me. So this year, okay to hell with it, you can come along. We will drink, eat, explore and who knows, you might even learn something. You may learn that I will be paying you no attention at all, get used to that.

Trying to prepare for this holiday is the usual intensive treatment routine and actually it’s working a little (just don’t tell you know who). That routine is a dead sea salt bath every other night along with a bath emollient and moisturising. As far as prescribed treatment is concerned, I’m using Dovonex at the moment. Even though i’s a flare up, it’s not that bad, just a bit redder than usual.

September is always a bit of an excuse for me to let go as I’m also a fan of Jack Daniels and his work. I have a bit of a collection going and being that me and Jack share the same birthday month why not have a drink for him too. Now I know some will tut and tsk and be saying “Alcohol isn’t good for your skin.” No, it probably isn’t but why be devoid of life’s enjoyment because of this skin. I have said this many times now, it’s my life and psoriasis is just along for the ride. I have found a balance between having an enjoyable life and keeping psoriasis just about at a manageable level. As is always recommended though, I drink to moderation. Although there have been times when I am sure psoriasis could have turned me into an alcoholic. The fact remains there is no cure for psoriasis so I will always have it whether I cut out alcohol completely or not.

So this PSeptember normal service is resumed. My outlook remains positive, even if that is positive I dislike psoriasis, life is as it should be and I continue to have a supportive group of family and friends around me to help me through every day as it comes. Even if they don’t realise that they help every day. You don’t need them to say “keep going, it’ll be alright”, you don’t need to discuss psoriasis with them, it can be a night out or having people over fro dinner to help take your mind off it all, a smile, a like on facebook. There are lots of little things your family and friends probably do that let our know they are there and you are not alone. You may not even realise yourself the things they do to help you.

Pso here is to all my fellow patients, friends, family and oh why not, you too Psoriasis. It’s September, I have plenty of reason to celebrate, come join the party. Good health to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

My previous post, “Your Skin in 500 Words“, mentioned Natalie who is one of the creators of the Skin So Many Words Project. To show the solidarity of all with skin conditions, here is a post written by Natalie about her skin condition, Vitiligo.

“I was now a young mixed race girl of 4, with skin that was 80% white”

Whilst Psoriasis and Vitiligo are two very different skin conditions, some may agree there is some similarity, in that they can both have an affect on a person’s emotional wellbeing and the day-to-day choices that person makes. I have battled with Vitiligo since I was a teenager, having developed the condition when I was a baby. Here is my story…

I was just 2 years old when the white patch appeared ‘innocently’ on the back of my hand. No bigger than a ten pence piece, it sat boldly on my caramel coloured skin, eager to ensure it was visible for all to see. Whilst it was unusual in shape and colour my parents weren’t too alarmed when my GP couldn’t confirm what it was, after all it wasn’t causing me any pain nor was it irritating my skin.

Quite some months later, more patches started to develop. Dotted across my body like paint flicked on white paper, it became apparent that my skin was slowly turning white with very little control. Back to my GP I went. This time, my parents determined to get answers about my rapidly changing skin colour. However, once again, my GP had no clue about what was happening to me. He quickly referred me to a dermatologist where it was later confirmed I had Vitiligo and it was incurable. Eventually my skin settled. However, I was now a young mixed race girl of 4, with skin that was 80% white.

My parents were well aware my rare skin condition, that affects just 1-2% of the world’s population, wasn’t going to go unnoticed. Naturally they tried to prepare themselves for the potential challenges that came with having a child that was ‘different’. One of my most poignant memories was how my parents encouraged me not to cover up. They allowed me to wear pretty dresses, shorts and t-shirts in the summer, and a swimsuit on the beach. At such a young age, my world was full of innocence. I had no idea there was such a thing as ‘normal’ and so I lead a childhood completely unfazed by my indifferences.

Soon after diagnosis, I began treatment. I tried oral medication, topical steroid creams and homeopathy. For years I was trying to regain my natural skin colour, but nothing worked, in fact I firmly believe the mix of chemicals made my skin worse.

As I approached my teens, Vitiligo became the center of my being. I began recognising my skin for what it really was; a flaw. Self hatred kicked in and I became obsessed about covering up, even during the summer. I was sucked in by images in magazines of girls with long straight hair, the ideal figure, perfect teeth and the one thing I desired most…flawless skin. I became self-conscious and was paranoid that people found my skin repulsive.

One of the biggest challenges with having Vitiligo, is the feeling of isolation. The feeling that you are the only one in the world living a tormented life caused by a skin condition. I later joined the Vitiligo Society, which provided me with the support I needed. It allowed me to open up and talk about my experiences with people on a journey similar to mine. I got great sense of comfort being around people I could finally relate too.

In 2014 I gave treatment one last go. I decided, with referral from my GP, to try UVB Narrowband treatment. I wasn’t hopeful it would be a success. When you have an incurable skin condition, the last thing you are is optimistic. Turns out I should have been, because within 4 months of being treated, I was starting to regain my natural skin colour. Miraculously, after 12 months, my patches were reduced to just 20%.

Decades later and I’m finally at peace with who I am. Acceptance started in my thirties, when I started to realise just how many forms of beauty there are outside magazines and social media. I looked back at my life and realised I’d accomplished things I never knew I would and I felt proud, so why shouldn’t I be proud of my skin too?

Author – Natalie Ambersley

If you were asked to write about your skin condition in 500 words could and would you? It is something I am going to attempt to do for a project called “Skin So Many Words.” This is a project I have been invited to take part in by Natalie from Skin Community UK. Here are a few words from Natalie:

Myself and Michael Willcocks recently launched a project called ‘Skin So Many Words’ which is aimed at educating and raising awareness about skin conditions which, as you know, gets very little coverage. The idea is to produce a book/ebook of stories/essays by those with skin conditions such as Psoriasis. The idea is based on the successful story writing competition launched by Chris Evans called BBC 500 words which has been a great success every year. 

Natalie has Vitiligo, a condition where white patches form on the skin. Whilst this is not the same as psoriasis, both Natalie and I agree that skin conditions share many of the same symptoms especially where mental health is concerned. I have friends with eczema and often find talking to them about our daily lives it is very often similar.

“Skin So Many Words” will bring together all skin conditions which I believe will show just how similar our experiences are and bring us together as a wider skin community (to steal Natalie and Michael’s term). The book will be free and this does mean that all stories need to be donated for free. All authors will be credited for their work.

So if you would like to know more please visit Skin Community and start thinking on what your piece could be. You can write anything you like as long as it is within 500 words so be that a poem a short story, a vent of frustration. Be as honest and real as you like or let your imagination run wild.

Please do not send your stories to me though, I am helping to promote the project only so please contact Natalie and Michael through their website or email them at workmdw@yahoo.co.uk. Also look out for the next post on here which will be a guest blog from Natalie.

They are also on Twitter @Schooldermtime