Psoriasis - Jackie's Story
neck looked so bad a starving vampire wouldn't have bit it!" Jackie
Roper's sense of humor helps her deal with psoriasis as much as clipping
her nails. Jackie suffers from psoriasis vulgaris, the most common type of
psoriasis. In her case, the flaking is usually confined to her scalp, but
occasionally works it's way down her neck to her back and chest. In
November of 1998, she was at her wit's end with this chronic disease.
Psoriasis causes skin cell reproduction to accelerate. A normal skin cell
takes about a month to mature. For those with psoriasis, this process
takes only 3 or 4 days. These skin cells are poorly developed and push
their way up to the skin surface faster than the old cells can be shed.
Consequently, the skin cells pile up and form raised, scaly
"plaques" that may itch and leave skin below red and inflamed.
At least 2% of the population world wide has some form of psoriasis. Of
these, 60% report no itching, 20% report itching during flare-ups and 20%
report constant itching. Jackie falls into the middle group.
"I thought at first it was just dandruff." She recalled, "I
used dandruff shampoos just about every night, no good." Finally she
saw a doctor who diagnosed psoriasis. Aside from the physical discomfort,
Jackie also endures occasionally embarrassing moments because of the
disease. Grocery shopping, visits to her daughter's school, even going out
to dinner or a movie can draw stares if the psoriasis has progressed past
her hair line.
After ten years, Jackie has run the gamut of home remedies to calm the
itching. This includes having her husband wrap her yogurt slathered head
in cling wrap, applying ice cubes to her neck and bathing in everything
from Epson salts to corn meal. She recalls with a chuckle the
afternoon her 10 year old daughter and her friends caught her wearing an
oatmeal "cap". She heard one girl whisper to her daughter
"Your mom has oatmeal on her head!" Her daughter nonchalantly
replied "Yeah, she does stuff like that."
Although there is no scientific evidence that diet plays a role, there has
been enough hearsay evidence to cause Jackie to try changing her diet to
try to ease the outbreaks. She eliminated tomatoes for a while, but finds
that eating the low acid yellow tomatoes does not aggravate her psoriasis.
"It makes for unusual looking lasagna" she quips. She also
reduced her consumption of beef and pork. "It made an obvious
difference, but I was constantly craving something to eat! I snacked my
way to 200 pounds!" In November she started eating emu meat instead
of beef. Her cravings were satisfied, she has begun to lose weight, and
most importantly, the itching has not been as bad.
At the same time, a girlfriend suggested she try emu oil for her skin. The
oil gave temporary relief of the itching, but required frequent
applications. She discovered by accident that there were emu oil shampoos,
conditioners, cleansing bars and lotions available. "Once I started
using the (emu oil) shampoo and conditioner, my scalp started clearing up.
I use a emu oil bath bar now instead of the medicated bar I used before
and use emu oil lotions after my bath."
Jackie reports that after three months of using emu oil based skin care
products, her neck completely cleared up. She has been using the products
for nearly five months and reports that while the scalp is an ongoing
battle, it no longer itches. "Most of it (the psoriasis) is gone,
just two small patches are left up near the top of my head. I am NEVER
giving this stuff up!"
with permission from Emus Zine, The Online Magazine, http://www.emuszine.com