Psoriasis is a skin condition I have lived with now for a number of years.
This is the first of a number of posts on my journey with a new treatment for my plaque psoriasis and I am hoping a successful one that will inspire others to #takethechallenge with their psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin and occasionally the joints. Skin replacement is normally meant to take 3-4 weeks but for someone with psoriasis it only takes a few days, so much more quickly. This results in an accumulation of skin cells which are known as “plaques”. They can be red, itchy and flaky and appear on different parts of the body.
The cause of psoriasis is believed to be due to the immune system; cells act as if they are attacking an infection, triggering inflammation and the quick growth of skin cells. However, no one is sure why the immune system does this. A family history, illness, injury to the skin and stress have been suggested as triggers.
My Diagnosis of Psoriasis
I was diagnosed with Psoriasis when I was 22, at University training to be a dietitian. I’d noticed my elbows had really dry flaky skin on them that no amount of moisturiser would clear it up. I also noticed little areas on my toes and knees and I had a really itchy scalp at the base of my head. Typically I just ignored it and it was only when I was visiting the doctor for something else, that I was told it was psoriasis.
I have since learnt my Grandpa had psoriasis so for me there is a potential genetic link. I believe for me though, stress and my emotional state at the time was a big factor. As I started my dietetic training, I had moved from York to Leeds which was a huge upheaval. Sadly my father was very unwell at the time and I had a massive responsibility for him, his care and for his elderly parents sat on my shoulders. I was studying and also split with my long-term boyfriend. There was an awful lot going on concurrently, which I think I bottled up and I did not always ask for help.
Treating my Psoriasis
I have been on the same treatment since my diagnosis. Topical steroid ointment for the plaques and emollient cream to wash with and moisturise afterwards. I have never liked putting steroid cream on my skin even though it does help a little with my psoriasis. I have also tried coal tar shampoo for my scalp which helps with the itching. It does smell though and doesn’t do wonders for my dyed hair!
Living with Psoriasis
Psoriasis is the hardest for me in the winter when my elbows look angry and raw. I am often wondering whether people may be looking at it more. I feel like they maybe thinking: “Is it contagious?” “What is it?” “It doesn’t look nice.” It does knock my confidence sometimes.
I had psoriasis when I met my husband and he just accepted it as a part of me which was lovely and psoriasis loves me being pregnant. It cleared up completely when I had both my girls. It also tends to look better over the summer months and on holidays; the combination of sunshine and plenty of moisturiser does the trick.
I found after my second baby, the flare up post partum was worse and as well as the plaques and scalp issues, I had small little patches; guttate psoriasis. These look like red little tear drops which occasionally look scaly. However, these have disappeared over time which is a relief.
#Takethechallenge with The Philips BlueControl
It is very easy to get stuck in a rut with anything in life. We get comfortable and change is always a little bit scary and pushes us out of our comfort zone.
Philips want us to change this and #takethechallenge with our psoriasis. They have devised an innovative product to treat mild to moderate plaque psoriasis and I am putting this to the test with my elbows.
What is the Philips BluControl and how does it work?
Using innovative blue light therapy, Philips BlueControl, is clinically proven to provide effective relief from plaque psoriasis using blue light therapy. The beauty of this product is it can be used anywhere, home, at work and on the go.
The device is UV-free which was a big relief to a fair-skinned ginger like me. It provides a cleaner, convenient treatment compared to the topical creams to help with the itching, redness and scaling.
The blue LED light can be used to suppress the activation of certain immune cells, (dendritic cells), which can reduce skin inflammation and help to reduce the accelerated production of skin cells, associated with psoriasis.
My First Experience
I asked hubby to get a shot of my elbows before I started. They are mildly red and scaly at present. The summer months have been slightly kinder to me but I was keen to see if there would be a difference.
As a Mum who is running a blog, household and trying to keep fit, it can mean there is little time left to look after my psoriasis.
For me I knew I needed to #takethechallenge and actually look after my psoriasis whilst still being a Mum. The product is so good; it can be used on the go. It fits in with my busy lifestyle; I can treat my plaque psoriasis and spend time with the girls.
I decided to try out the device for the first time one Saturday afternoon. It was easy to slip the device into the arm holder and thread through the strap.
You switch the device on and it glows blue when ready to go. There is then an automatic timer that will tell you when the treatment time is over. It beeped. You can then remove or in my case switch arms.
I was able to keep an eye on my baby girl whilst I had the treatment and the time went very quickly. The device did feel a little hot but not uncomfortable.
My first treatments have been easy to do and the Philips BlueControl is convenient and not hard to use.
I will be continuing with this for treating my plaque psoriasis and will keep you updated with my progress with future blogs and vlogs.
Disclosure – I was provided with the Philips BlueControl on loan and compensated for my time and efforts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.