What and Why?
Your skin is not just a container but a remarkably sophisticated organ which regulates losses of heat and moisture from your body, can store and excrete surpluses from metabolism and receive sensory impressions. Despite its permeability it is a very effective barrier against germs and moisture and can regulate the penetration of sunlight to the tissues inside. It wears tirelessly and will grow into a form appropriate to the physical work expected of it. Its elasticity enables it to cope with changes over the years in your shape and size.
It has idiosyncrasies too. Enormous individual variations occur in thickness, texture, hardness and colour, most of which are inherent in you. A few rare skin diseases seem to be inherited directly in this way and are inevitable; but none of the common ones are in this category, although they are particularly common in some families. What you inherit is not the disease but a weakness for it. This means that when your skin is under stress it will probably break down more readily than other people’s, and in your particular way.
Psoriasis is like this. The weakness is in you all the time but the actual disease can come and go. The healthy cadence of changes in your skin structure, from its foundations to its surface, is disrupted as in eczema (see eczema) but in the opposite direction: cells grow too fast in both diseases but in psoriasis they heap up in silvery crusts and usually stay dry. This mainly affects skin that grows fast normally and forms crusts to resist wear, such as your scalp and the rough hardened skin on the outside of your joints (see joints); but it can go anywhere except your face. These patches may sometimes itch (see itching) but chiefly offend by their prominent and unhealthy inflamed appearance (see inflammation). When you scalp is severely involved it can cause temporary hair loss (see hair loss). It is one of the commonest skin diseases in Europe and affects one or two per cent of people in Western countries.
The disease is your peculiar way of responding to the excessive waste acids produced when you habitually over-eat protein (see arthritis & rheumatism, migraine) or suffer from mineral imbalance (see minerals); but it can result from food allergy (see allergy), chemical intolerance or heavy metal poisoning. Food from the cow is a particularly common irritant. It is made very much worse by stress (see stress) or tiredness (tiredness) if either is severe enough to preoccupy your coping capacity and leave your skin less well defended. That it affects your whole body is clear when it accompanies rheumatoid arthritis (see arthritis & rheumatism) or when the destructive kind of arthritis peculiar to psoriasis develops instead.
You would not therefore expect external treatments to heal it radically and they do not. If you want a sustained effect you will need to apply them intermittently for an indefinite period and they will not always work. To overcome your susceptibility to psoriasis you will have to work from the inside, using the same cleansing therapies that will cure the arthritis it sometimes accompanies.
What can I do?
Advice to maintain and maximise your health
1. Keep your skin healthy by ventilating it well, taking every opportunity to bathe in the air and the sun (see bathing). If you use an ultra-violet lamp in winter be very sparing, only one or two minutes daily at the prescribed distance. Cool your skin afterwards with cold water.
2. Have a daily dry friction rub, using a loofa or soft grooming brush, either just before a hot shower (finished with cold) or whenever you can stay naked or lightly clothed for ten minutes afterwards.
3. A cleansing diet of raw food (see cleansing diet) is very successful but may need to be sustained for many months: be patient. Check at the outset whether you are allergic to food from the cow which is commonly associated (see exclusion diets); it will be more difficult to confirm after months of abstinence.
4. Arsenicum album up to 30th potency is a Homoeopathic remedy you can try yourself; if it fails you will need professional assistance to select something more appropriate for you (see homoeopathy).
5. Your doctor has at his disposal creams for removing the silvery scales, and coal tar lotions and shampoo to deal with your scalp. These are quite good supportive measures while you are curing yourself. Tell him your intentions: he will be interested in your progress, though he may not admit it.
6. Specialists sometimes use immunosuppressive therapy for severe psoriasis. This has a drastically weakening effect on your immune system (see immunity). Start an intensive raw diet instead, supported by the other measures already given.
7. Supplements of Zinc (15-30mg daily, see zinc), Vitamin E (200IU twice daily), Vitamin C (500mg three times daily, and Essential Fatty Acids may be helpful for two or three months; thereafter your diet should keep you going on its own.
8. Arthritis responds to the same cleansing methods, but particular joints (see joints) may need passive movement, and hot wax or alternating hot and cold water baths (see bathing), to promote the traffic of healing. Treat them energetically to prevent erosion and destruction of the joint surfaces.