Skin is an inside issue. Yep, despite the abundance of creams and lotions promising to transform rashes to radiance or pimples to ‘perfection’, the only real and true way to heal chronic skin problems is to dive beneath the surface. Creams, oils and lotions can of course be a big help, and oiling the skin (known as abhyanga in Ayurvedic medicine) is a vital aspect of self-care both physically and emotionally, but the skin is almost always a sign of something happening within.
Skin is the body’s largest organ, and one of its primary functions is detoxification. The ability for us to ‘detox’ via sweating and releasing wastes is so incredibly important, which is why swapping your anti-perspirant deodorant to a natural deodorant that still addresses body odour but doesn’t stop you sweating is an easy swap for better health. If the skin is unable to release wastes, these ‘toxins’ are pushed back into the body, where they look for other exit routes; the lungs (which aid in releasing toxins via breathing), the kidneys (which filter waste), and the liver, which is also a key organ for detoxifying wastes from the body. Caring for the skin therefore includes caring for the lungs, liver and kidneys, as well as gut health and blood sugar balance – all before putting anything on your skin!
Psoriasis is considered to be a chronic inflammatory skin disease, where cells in the epidermis (just below the skin’s outer surface) divide much faster than usual, and shed prematurely. According to Ayurvedic medicine, psoriasis indicates an imbalance in the Kapha and Pitta doshas: the building and massing qualities of the Kapha dosha encourage new cells to grow excessively, and the inflammatory, hot qualities of Pitta cause redness, itching and possible bleeding.
- Poor gut health
- A diet high in sugar and processed foods
- High acidity
- Damp environment
- Poor liver function
- Improper breathing
- Compromised kidney function
- Low hormone levels – especially oestrogen (or extreme fluctuations in hormone levels throughout menstrual cycle)
- Side-effects from medication
- Red, scaly plaques covered with overlapping silvery shiny scales
- Most commonly found around the wrists, elbows, knees and scalp
- Tiny dents in fingernails and toenails
- 15% of those suffering with psoriasis develop a type of arthritis and subsequent joint pain
- Decrease Stress
- Breathing techniques (breathing only through the nose, 4-7-8 breathing, alternate nostril breathing, Wim Hof breathing, chandra bhedana pranayama)
- Increase fibre – this binds to toxins which may cause psoriasis, and promotes their excretion. Choose vegetables, fruits, psyllium husk, oats and legumes.
- Cut out sugar, processed foods and highly acidic and inflammatory foods (including dairy and eggs, which can increase acidity and inflammation). Choose a plant-based whole foods diet.
- Decrease alcohol and caffeine
- Himalayan and Epsom salt baths
- Coconut or castor oil applied topically.
- An ayurvedic formula of ghee and water in a ratio of 1:2, mixed thoroughly. This is often left for a month to infuse, but can be used immediately if you’re able to mix it vigorously.
- Get plenty of natural sunlight
- Address your home environment – ensure it isn’t damp or harbouring mould, and keep it well ventilated.
- Supplements: Vitamin D, E & zinc
- Consider an initial juice fast of celery, apple & coriander for 1 – 3 days.
- Herbs: Calendula, Turmeric and black pepper, Ginko Bilboa, Triphala, Ashwagandha, Milk Thistle, Cleavers