Looking at my skin now, it is difficult to believe I spent 30 years struggling to cope with my psoriasis. Every now and then I’ll rub the palms of my hands, elbows or brush up against my knees, where for many years the angry red, scaly plaques marked me as a sufferer of psoriasis. I’ve been in remission for 3 years now and while it is challenging for me to remember those dark days - the doctor’s appointments, the treatments, the never-ending disappointment… I am determined not to forget as it was these struggles that gave me the impetus to change my life. ‘Respair’ is a word which perfectly encapsulates my journey as a person with psoriasis. It means ‘the return of hope after a period of despair’.
There is no cure for psoriasis, but one thing I have learned is that it can be managed. I have accepted that while I may have psoriasis for the rest of my life, getting control of my symptoms makes a world of difference. No more incessant itchiness. No more flaky skin shedding all over my clothes, bed, and carpet. No more hiding in public pools and change rooms. No more looks and comments.
I gained control of my psoriasis naturally with no major lifestyle changes- no diets, no giving up alcohol, no meditation (in fact, my stress levels are the highest they have ever been). In other words, I can eat my cake and have it too. It really makes me want to help others on their journey to psoriasis control.
I was 26 years old when I first noticed the plaques. As a young, fit, healthy guy, I went on with my life as if it didn’t exist. As time went on, it slowly began to take hold. It is a disease of stealth… and before I knew it, it had consumed my life. I was diagnosed with psoriasis at 28, just after getting married to my wife.
Initially I used moisturising lotions and took up drinking to deal with the frustration. After a few years I started seeing a dermatologist and was recommended Celebrex, which I took every day for over 4 years. Celebrex is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), used commonly for the treatment of inflammation. I was warned not to drink, because this drug gives your liver a kicking. While may psoriasis was under control for 2 years (whether it be not drinkingas muchalcohol or the Celebrex), I no longer wanted to sacrifice my liver for my skin. I consulted my dermatologist about other options. I opted for ultraviolet (UV) light therapy, roasting myself every day for years. Sunburnt, sweating and smelling, I found it hard to move, sit or lie down. In my mind I was convinced that this existence was better than the pain of psoriasis. I stopped UV therapy when the risk of melanoma became too great. For me, it was no longer worth it.
At 48 years old I was out of options (at least options I was willing to try), and I took up swimming in the ocean regularly. I had almost instant relief, which lasted for 3 days after every swim. The colder the water, the better I felt. At the time, I didn’t realise it was the chemical composition of seawater which was the key to finally getting control of my psoriasis.
As a chemical engineer, I never thought to apply the knowledge I had to help myself. I subscribed to the old adage ‘the doctor knows best’ and for years I took a backseat. I know my psoriasis better than anyone. I know what my triggers are (namely alcohol and stress), however I cannot live my life avoiding them. I became obsessed with examining the composition of the ocean and how it could help my skin. The ocean is a rich soup of elements and minerals essential for creating and sustaining life. While working on a project unrelated to Abundant Natural Health, I stumbled upon a highly concentrated source of the ocean and started experimenting on myself. At first, I used far too much and the treatment stung like you wouldn’t believe. But I persevered… ‘no pain no gain’ as they say. Scaling back the concentration, I was able to reduce the sting and still find relief. This was how Abundant’s Ocean Soothe range was born. The product is 100% natural and high in salt and magnesium. Salt iscommonly used in wound care as it creates conditions that make it difficult for bacteria to grow, therefore preventing wound infection. Magnesium is a well-known anti-inflammatory however needs to be in a bioavailable form to be absorbed through the skin.
So, 3 years on I still have psoriasis, but I have reclaimed control. I have changed my life for the better and am no longer a sufferer of psoriasis. I use my own products - my Ocean Soothe® PsoriasisGel and Lotion. I apply the gel just after my morning shower and throughout the day. It absorbs quickly, doesn’t smell, or stain my clothes. I apply the lotion before bed, which leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. I know the pain of psoriasis and hope my story can give people affected by psoriasis hope thatthey can regain control.
If you are interested in finding out more about our Ocean Soothe range, click here