Allergies and Psoriasis
by Brenda Kong
Vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, pescatarian, raw plant-based only, nightshade-free, paleo, Sugar Busters, low carb, Atkins… just saying all of that is a mouthful and makes me tired but I did them. I did all of them.
When I was younger and working without health insurance, I couldn't get the treatments I so desperately needed to control my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I started a 10-year-long journey of "diets" to not only benefit my skin but also potentially help me lose the 30 lbs I've wanted to lose since high school. I wouldn't say that these tactics were ineffective as I lost a bit of weight here and there; it's that my results were limited due to a basic lack of knowledge.
Psoriasis is a condition of triggers. As the years go on, our triggers and allergies change along with so many other factors. It's so hard to pinpoint that one moment in time when everything was fantastic and re-create it. It wasn't until I took an allergy test, for both food and environmental factors that I learned what to avoid. I learned what foods made me mildly itchy to incredibly flared, I learned I'm not allergic to any environmental elements but my skin does react to specific chemical dyes.
In learning these new things about myself, I'm able to better manage my psoriasis flares related to dietary and environmental choices. When possible, I use odorless, dye-less and water-based skin products. I've found a "formula" of products that I use that includes everything from shower products to moisturizers to hair care; things that I've used over the years that have never resulted in unwanted negative effects. I'm so loyal to these particular brands now that I can't foresee switching away from them anytime soon!
Even with how hyper-focused I am on what I do to my body, I still have my moments of sadness that I've never been really clear for more than 4 months in my later years with psoriasis. There are times when I take a break and see how bad my skin can get before I pick myself up and re-start my daily routine of ointments, diet and daily products. A good friend of mine used to say "You can forget your psoriasis, but it will never forget you."
If you are able, I sincerely urge everyone to speak to their healthcare professionals about getting an allergy test. You might not notice the subtle changes to your system caused by everyday factors like allergens. When you do find what works, it'll hopefully be easier to manage your life with psoriasis and to achieve some sense of normalcy. I've had psoriasis since I was 12 and psoriatic arthritis since I was 19. I am ready normalcy.
Any suggestions made are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your treatment, exercise or diet routine.
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