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Psoriasis Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] - Dr Irene Prantalos (Chinese Medicine)

What is Psoriasis?

Eczema and Psoriasis are inflammatory skin conditions. The appearance is quite different. Psoriasis is flakier and eczema has a leathery look to it. The main difference with eczema and psoriasis is the immunological response. Eczema sufferers will experience allergic reactions (IgE) compared to psoriasis (IgG) sufferers do.

IgE antibodies (Allergies): Create an immediate response which affects the skin, tissues and breathing, and may lead to anaphylaxis. IgG antibodies (Food Intolerance): Is a response experienced after specific food is consumed which then leads to inflammation. This can take up to 72 hours so the reason for the reaction may be unknown if there are multiple possibilities.

Eczema results from a histamine response, therefore the food recommended is slightly different to that recommended for psoriasis sufferers.

Typically, treatments for both can be the same due to the presence of inflammation in the skin. However, when it comes to treating these conditions internally there is a marked difference as the mechanism behind the disease states are quite different.

Psoriasis is caused by a number of different triggers. The most common trigger is stress.

Others include

·      hormonal changes,

·      poor diet,

·      poor nutritional intake,

·      respiratory infection,

·      metabolic and genetic triggers.


These triggers cause inflammation in the body and the immune system reacts by signalling the skin to shed at a much faster rate. Normally skin sheds every 28days but in psoriasis the skin sheds every 4 days, causing the thick plaque lesions on the skin.

When psoriasis presents for the first time it starts with small dots. These dots mayor may not be itchy. As the condition gets worse, the dots become larger and income cases for plaques. These plaques can combine and form large patches on the body. The lesions can be quite red and feel hot.

There is a phenomenon called Koebnerizationwhich indicates any trauma to the skin (such as a small cut or scratch) can lead to the cells in the skin shedding at a much faster rate and causing a psoriasis lesion to form.

No. This is a skin disease that is fuelled by inflammation and simply put is the excessive shedding of skin cells.

There is no infectious element to it and by not means is anything contagious if another person touches the surface of psoriatic lesions.

In fact, a psoriasis sufferer should be mindful not to let others touch their skin as their skin barrier is compromised and broken which means it can’t protect the body from externally invading pathogens.

Always keep the skin clean and hydrated and if you have been exposed to pollutants, cleanse the skin as soon as possible to avoid any topical irritation.

It was once believed that psoriasis is cause by an overactive immune system that needs to be suppressed to allow the disease to be treated effectively.

If we take a few steps back and see what is the immune system in fact reacting to? If this can be identified without suppressing the immune system and working to resolve this issue, then the immune response will also be resolved.

There is a school of thought that Leaky Gut Syndrome is a factor in psoriasis sufferers and that when food is consumed, it enters the small intestine and then directly into the bloodstream. This un-metabolised toxin then evokes an immune response which can lead to psoriasis in some people.

Psoriasis rash before and after treatment

Treating Psoriasis

No psoriasis can not be cured. Once the gene has been switched on the gene remains switched on.

However, it is very important to understand that following a healthy diet and lifestyle that reduces inflammation in the body can bring the psoriasis into remission. But it is also important to note that those triggers that caused the psoriasis in the initial state can also cause a flare up to occur.

Creating a lifestyle that reduces stress and includes a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and little to no inflammatory foods is a great way to manage psoriasis.

The idea of getting rid of psoriasis fast in itself can cause the disease to linger. The stress and angst of trying to clear psoriasis can often fuel this disease.

The most effective way to help the skin heal, is to remove the inflammation from your diet and lifestyle while taking a natural medicine that facilitates this process. Modern medicine aims to suppress the immune response that occurs with the presence of inflammation, but it is important to note this treatment offers short term relief and only while in the presence of the treatment.

Focusing on reducing the inflammation and identifying what makes psoriasis worse is the best approach that can provide long term benefits.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, for this reason the foods best avoided are inflammatory foods. These include:

·      red meat,

·      spicy food,

·      alcohol, sugar (refined/added),

·      gluten (has been researched to increase inflammation in the body),

·      dairy products and

·      processed foods.


Researchers identified a link between psoriasis sufferers who had more than 3% of their body affected to metabolic syndrome, specifically insulin resistance. They have discovered that a high carbohydrate diet can increase inflammation in the body and make the psoriatic lesions worse. When it comes to choosing carbohydrates, its best to choose those with a low glycemic index and only have 1-2tablespoons per meal.

The inflammation continues to thrive and the disease spreads potentially to other parts of the body as well as the lesions can become thicker, itchier and more uncomfortable.

It can form a lot of distress and can impact the person’s quality of life.

It has also been linked to metabolic syndrome which means psoriasis sufferers have been found to increase their risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

It could also start to affect the joints and cause psoriatic arthritis.

On the mental health perspective, psoriasis sufferers are more prone to develop depression and have suicidal ideations.

There are a number of vitamins that may help with psoriasis. These include:

·      zinc,

·      vitamin D,

·      fish oil,

·      anti-oxidants such as vitamin E,

·      chlorophyll, and

·      probiotics that have the LGG strain.

Also there has been researchers identifying and increase in homocysteine levels in the blood, therefore B vitamins such as B12 can have an effect to reduce these homocysteine levels.

In some people with the mutant MTHFR gene, it is best to have the methylated form of B vitamins.

Unfortunately, you can not cure psoriasis, but you can effectively manage it so that you minimise the severity and frequency of flare ups.

It is best to understand the importance of inflammation in this condition and how you can make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle that will help minimise the intensity of the psoriasis.

Finding yourself a great health practitioner that assists your body to remove the inflammation in the body is a great way to address this disease.

Sunlight in most psoriasis sufferers will help their skin reduce in thickness.

However, it is important to note that too much sunlight can cause the skin to burn and result in the thickening of psoriasis lesions. Also the heat from the sun cause increase itchiness in the skin, which then can worsen after scratching.

The ideal time to spend in the sun is only around 5-10 mins especially if you haven’t had much sun exposure over the winter months.

Gradually you can increase this time but you must be careful. The psoriasis lesions are sensitive and not as resilient as healthier skin. This means that when the skin is healing and the psoriasis is gone, the new skin almost acts as ‘baby skin’ and therefore can burn a lot easier than other parts of your body that weren’t affected by psoriasis.

Be mindful around the sun, and only a short period at a time can really do wonders for your skin.