By Lace / May 28, 2018

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Treating Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) Holistically – How my Husband Healed His Skin Without Drugs

Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are common and can cause a lot of suffering. I don't suffer these conditions myself but my husband's skin condition is why Frugal by Nature exists. My gorgeous hubby was diagnosed with a rare skin condition called Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) after 16 years of misdiagnosis of psoriasis. He was instructed to apply steroid cream. Every. Single. Day. For 16 years. 16 years!!? You can well imagine the effects were quite devastating. As well as sore, extremely flaky skin he also ended up with steroid-induced type 2 diabetes. When we met, I'd never even heard of PRP, never mind tried to heal it, hell, I wasn't even that into natural health. Now, after almost 4 years and lots of trial and error, it appears we've nailed it. The PRP is well under control and in this post, I'm going to share with you some steps we've taken towards healing. I warn you now, this post is long and covers a lot of ground. It's essentially a consolidation of the past almost 4 years of my husband's experimental holistic healing of PRP. My sincere hope is that our journey will not only inspire but help others looking for answers to their PRP struggles.

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Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) a Brief Overview

pityriasis rubra pilaris prp

Not my husband but this is what his skin looked like 4 years ago.

Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) is the title given to a group of skin disorders that causes constant inflammation and shedding of the skin. The official story is that no one knows what causes PRP and that sometimes it's genetic, onset in childhood is common but it can occur in adults too. I suspect it may have something to do with the toxic substances we're encouraged to inject into our children in a misguided peruse of health. But that's another discussion entirely. There are several types you can read more about the types of PRP here.

Typical Symptoms of Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP):

  • Pink, red, orange or orange/red scaly patches on the skin.
  • These patches are often itchy
  • Constant shedding of skin
  • Palms of the hands and or soles of the feet become orange and thickened.

These scaly patches occur most often on elbows, knees, ankles, hands and feet. Although these patches start in one place the patches can spread to the whole body, as it did with my hubs. At one point we were sweeping up two or more dustpans of shed skin PER DAY. It was insane.

Often PRP is mistaken for another skin condition, like psoriasis, as in my husband's case. Apparently, the medical doctors' hubby visited had never heard of PRP so perhaps, that's why it took 16 years for them to notice their treatment wasn't working. Whatever the reason for this epic failure, we decided it was time to try something else. And we did.

Summary: 

  • Officially, no one Knows What Causes PRP
  • It can Occur in Childhood on Adulthood
  • Causes Constant Inflammation and Shedding of the Skin
  • Starts with Scaly Patches that Often Spread
  • Often Misdiagnosed as Psoriasis

The Beginning of Our Natural Journey

healing prp naturally

Husband's skin problems began when he was 4. He was 28 when I began researching PRP and natural remedies for it. Unfortunately, I drew a fairly large blank, no one was talking about PRP on the Internet. Bummer. Most information offered was for eczema and psoriasis so seeing the similarities in these complaints I compared, contrasted natural remedies for these and made notes. I researched the properties of foods, essential oils, butters, carrier oils and built an inventory. I also learned A LOT about just how toxic many everyday products actually are. The sheer amount of crap in personal care, household and everyday seemingly harmless products is mind boggling. We started by overhauling our personal care products. We started to read labels and throw products away in favour of gentle, more natural alternatives.

So, What did we ditch?

Pretty much everything. I shit you not, it was a complete lifestyle overhaul and I wouldn't recommend doing it all in one hit. Changes like these aren't for the faint-hearted and trying to do it all at once will overwhelm you and is the fastest way to failure. So, if you value your sanity and are ready to succeed, I can help you. I suggest changing a few things at a time, it makes the changes more manageable and permanent. And even if you change everything in one day you will not be instantly fixed, it will take time. Go steady and you'll be far more likely to succeed.

Summary: 

  • Personal Care and Household Products are Loaded with Toxins
  • Most of These Everyday can Impact the Skin and Health Negatively
  • Looking at Personal Care is a Good Starting Point to Improve PRP
  • Choose Natural Products and Avoid Harsh Chemicals
  • Make Changes Slowly, Don't Overwhelm Yourself!

What About Moisturisers?

natural moisturisers for prp

Often, I'm asked what topical creams we used in this process and it's a difficult one. Nothing kept hubs moisturised enough, only his tub of soft white petroleum, a byproduct of the oil industry! We tried many concoctions from shea butter, mango butter and different essential and carrier oil blends even emu oil (which didn't agree with him and we discontinued). In the end, a blend of Shea, safflower, geranium and lavender essential oils worked best but the results were limited. Because of this the paraffin was the last prescribed substance to go. Interestingly, as we've implemented all these changes I am sharing with you in this post, his need for cream is massively reduced. All he needs these days is light covering of raw, organic coconut oil and he's good to go.

Visit my Neal's Yard Remedies Organic online shop for skin friendly, organic skin and personal care.  

The Create Your Own Range is perfect for creating your own individual products with pure, organic essential oils to give your products the properties you want.

Got a question or need a consultation? Holla at me and I'll be glad to help you out!

create your own organic personal care

Image courtesy of Neal's Yard Remedies Organic

Summary: 

  • Skincare & Personal Products are Often Loaded with Toxic Chemicals
  • Harsh Chemicals in Personal Care Damages Skin and Health
  • Avoid SLS, Petrochemicals, PEGS, Fragrance and Parfum 
  • Making Your Own Personal Products can Help you Ditch the Toxins
  • Choose Natural Organic Brands like Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Instead
  • Remember, Your Skin is Your Largest Organ, Look After it!

Clean Up The Diet!

healthy eating for prp

What we put in our bodies matters and if the skin is breaking out, it's telling you there's toxic overload and it's trying to get out. Diet can be helpful for healing the gut which is where most dis-ease stems from. Eat a healthy, wholesome diet of non-GMO produce with plenty of vegetables. We went vegetarian and then vegan for about a year and we now stick to a diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats and include grass-fed pastured meats and unpasteurised dairy - from grass fed organic cows from a local micro dairy farm. Regardless of which diet you choose to eat, here are some suggestions for cleaning up the diet for PRP:

  • Cut or significantly reduce processed food
  • Significantly reduce or cut sugar - a hard one for someone like my husband with a sweet tooth but reducing sugar intake has definitely helped.
  • If you consume diary only have unpasteurised milk from grass-fed free-range cows. It's full of probiotics and gut healthy goodness.
  • Consume bone broth, regularly, daily if possible. It's bursting with collagen, zinc and essential minerals for healthy skin and gut
  • Significantly reduce or cut the sodas, fizzy pops, whatever you like to call carbonated drinks
  • Increase water intake, non fluoridated and filtered, we filter through our Berkey. Not sure what Berkey is? Learn more in my review of the Big Berkey here.
  • Consume healthy fats and oily fish. Think avocado's, wild salmon, mackerel and raw, organic coconut oil
  • Eat the rainbow. No, I don't mean Skittles!
Perfect Bone Broth (330 grams) Bottle Image - 300x300

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Summary: 

  • Eat Organic as Much as Possible
  • Reduce/Cut out Processed Foods and Sugar
  • Consume Healthy Fats like Avocados and Coconut Oil
  • Add Bone Broth from Organic, Free Range Animals
  • Switch to Unpasteurised Dairy from Organic, Free Range Cows/Goats
  • Drink Clean, Filtered Water
  • Eat Plenty of Organic Vegetables and Fruit

Supplements: What We Found Useful

supplements for prp

  • Kelp - bursting with skin-healthy nutrients. If you hate green smoothies take it as a capsule.
  • Zinc - an essential trace mineral needed for healthy skin, hair and nail
  • Selenium - another vital nutrient for healthy skin
  • Quality Cod Liver Oil - this health-boosting super food is only useful when harvested from wild cod and undergoes NO heat processing, thus retaining all naturally occurring nutrients. The vitamin A and D in cod liver oil is especially good and a welcomed alternative to the synthetic vitamin A pills the doctor prescribed.


Summary: 

  • Supplements May or May not be Necessary
  • We Found Several Supplements Useful including, Cod Liver Oil, Magnesium Chloride, Selenium and Zinc
  • Always Check with Your Physician Before Taking Supplements
  • Take Supplements According to the Labels Direction
  • Ensure you Eat a Healthy Varied Diet too, Supplements Alone are not Enough!

Household Product Overhaul

ditch skin damaging house hold chemicals

There are many products we use regularly in the home which are damaging to our health. Clearing out the chemical cupboard doesn't mean your home won't be clean. We eliminated almost every household chemical and those my husband insists on using we use sparingly on occasion. Here's what we changed:

  • Laundry detergent - find out why they suck and how we fell in love with the humble soap nut in this post.
  • Cleaning products - we use mainly a mixture of white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, essential oils and filtered water for all our cleaning needs.
  • Air fresheners - if you've been following my blog for a while, you may have read my post on air fresheners and how horrific they are. We now use a diffuser and essential oils instead. Not sure what diffusing is all about? Discover the benefits of diffusing here.
  • Fit a shower and/or bath water filter. Fitting an 8 stage water filter to our shower was a brilliant move. By removing chlorine and all the other nasties from the water we bathe in makes all the difference. The water feels lighter and leaves skin feeling soft.

Summary: 

  • Remove Toxic Chemical Cleaning Products from your Home 
  • Opt for Natural Alternatives or Make Your Own
  • Banish Laundry Detergents and Fall in Love with Soap Nuts
  • Fit a Shower Filter 
  • Your Home Will Still be Clean, Don't Panic!

Self Care & Sunshine!

meditation for healing

Healing is about balance and goes far beyond what we eat and put on our skin. It includes the mind and how we think. Reducing stress, working through personal blocks and self care is incredibly important for healing. The tools we used to help us included meditation and reducing stress. This approach worked wonders and can be deeply beneficial to healing physically when trauma manifests itself as a physical problem. Stress exacerbated my hubby's skin problems so reducing it and learning to manage stress when it did come was critical to his healing. He did a mindfulness meditation course over several weeks. It taught him to manage his emotions, reduced stress and promoted deep relaxation. For anyone who knows my husband, you'll know relaxing is not something he did well.  I would recommend meditation to everyone, especially if you have PRP or another illness with past trauma.

Getting out in the sunshine has always had a positive effect on my husband skin. He used to be prescribed UVA and UVB treatments but from sunbeds rather than good old natural sunshine. It's well-known that we need the sunshine to synthesise vitamin D which plays a huge role in skin health. I find it rather unlikely that anyone is getting their vitamin D at the tanning studio though. Perhaps this is why hubs found sunbed treatment not particularly useful, he was missing half the point of this sun treatment. Beach holidays always did him good though and we make sure his skin is exposed to the sunshine on the rare occasions we can see in through the haze of sprayed skies and frequent rain, here in the UK. Cod liver oil is our fall back for the missing vitamin D otherwise.

I encourage regular grounding, which is simply direct skin contact with the earth and we spend lots of time in nature. Being with the natural world and getting regular exercise I believe has boosted our health and well-being while we suck up sunshine to make vitamin D. 

Summary: 

  • Self Care is Important for Healing
  • Meditation Reduces Stress a Direct Trigger for My Husbands PRP Flair ups
  • Get in the Sunshine for Vitamin D 
  • Use Quality Cod Liver Oil When Sunshine isn't Available 
  • Swim in the Sea and Bathe in Magnesium Chloride When you Can't
  • Get Your Feet on the Earth and Ground and Suck up Those Electrons!

Houston, We No Longer Have A Problem!

no-more-prp

Hubs and wee man working on the caravan. Daddy caught the sun on his arms but look at that clear skin!

The road to recovery has been long. With a diagnosis of skin failure, I believe we were at the worst possible place in terms of my husband's skin health when we began taking steps towards healing. Four years ago my husband was unrecognisable, he was bright red, cracked, terribly itchy and shedding skin at an alarming rate. These days, hubs has got his beautiful fair freckled skin back, shiny flake free hair and he is much happier. Over the weeks, months and years of making all these changes hubby steadily improved, his symptoms lessened and now have mostly completely disappeared. Somewhere along the way, the type 2 diabetes disappeared and his gut health improved significantly too. Gone is the skin failure and gone is the sack of drugs. He doesn't even need the petroleum 'cream' anymore, thank goodness! He gets on with just a light covering of raw non-GMO coconut oil. Not a pill in sight. I believe that healing his insides and his mind healed his outside and we are thrilled with the results.

When you embark on this kind of journey results aren't immediate. Improvement occurred gradually with a consistent approach, so don't be disheartened if things take a while. I believe there is no one size fits all approach to healing and taking a holistic, whole person approach is what's lead to our ultimate success. There have been several positive outcomes from this approach, including better mental well-being, increased general health and of course, the resolution of type 2 diabetes. Even his eye health improved according to the optician just recently, actually. Taking on PRP is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to make such significant changes but by breaking them down into mini steps it's absolutely possible. My only regret is I don't have any before pictures because we have lost phones in that time but I'll keep looking for one. I hope you've found this post insightful and that you may have your own success in healing your PRP naturally.

Sincerely yours in good health,

Lace

Have you suffered from PRP or know someone who does (share this post with them!)? Have you had success treating skin conditions like PRP naturally? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you.


About the author

Lace

Wife, mother and natural health and wellness enthusiast. When I'm not dabbling in natural stuff, I like to eat brie with onion chutney and mull over a good "coincidence" theory. Cooking up a nutritious storm, books with real pages and being barefoot are a few of my favourite things.

  • Haily says:

    Hi Lace,
    My husband also just got diagnosed with PRP last week for the past 2 months doctors thought it was psoriasis. Your post is very helpful for people struggling. I will also try this approach and see if it helps. It’s only been 2 months but seeing him suffer like this is very painful. I can’t even imagine what you had been through. So his case is wide spread at worst stage and he was been applying that big white jar of steroid cream daily but skin is always so flaky. Any recommendations to helps reduce flakiness and do think he should apply the raw coconut oil right now?
    Thanks

    • Lace says:

      Hi Haily,

      I’m sorry to hear your husband is suffering. Please do let me know how you get on with this approach. Healing is what are bodies do, he can heal.

      All the best and please contact me if I can help any further,

      Lace

  • Jill says:

    I just found you! Much needed hope here. My 15 year old son is suffering terribly and nobody can help him. He started prp at age 7. Eight years we’ve doctor and naturopath chased. My son is so depressed, and has a horrible self image. The bloody sores are too much. He also has the mthfr gene, which I believe makes things worse. I think this is vaccine related, but nobody will acknowledge it. It’s always been my gut feeling. My son is adopted, and I didn’t know about vaccines back then. Anyway, today is his birthday and he’s sleeping in. I’m sitting here crying because I’m so distressed for him, and so I googled and found you. I need help!!

    • Lace says:

      So sorry to hear what your boy is going through, Jill. I can empathise with you both, my husband had terrible self image because of his skin.

      What we’ve found with PRP is that healing it is a marathon. Above there are plenty of pointers based on what we found useful, that you may find helpful. Results take time and consistency.

      I hope your son starts to feel better soon. Wish him a happy birthday, you guys can do this.

      If you have any more questions, give me shout. I’ll do my best to help you out.

      Lace

      • Jill says:

        Thank you! Are there support groups or Facebook groups to help with the journey? People with MTHFR gene can’t detox from the vaccinations. Makes it more complicated. My son also came down with e. Coli 0157 just before his 10th birthday five years ago. He almost died. His skin disorder has flared worse since then. This poor kid has been through so much. We’re the only ones we know dealing with PRP and MTHFR.

        • Lace says:

          I am not sure re FB groups, perhaps worth a search. If there is enough interest I could create a support group. There wasn’t much on the internet re PRP when I began researching this about 5 years ago. I know MTHFR brings extra complications but it’s not something we have dealt with, we’ve never been told my hubby has it or hasn’t. I feel that working on healing your sons gut would be a very positive start to moving forward. Close attention to the diet especially after that close call with eColi. Please keep me updated with your progress.

  • Sarah Rose says:

    Yes! Me I have PRP just over 4 years ago – using Bioresonance discovered it was caused by staphylococcus A. infection across my whole body – the hospital grew the culture! so 7 days of doxy, and 3 months of Bioresonance and I was better. so now, after seeing the wonders of complementary therapy, I now run my own Bioresonance business – great seeing people getting better.

    Well done for going the holistic route – it works, juicing, plenty of water, coconut oil and I would also say my beloved Bioresonance

    • Lace says:

      Hi Sarah, I’m pleased to hear you beat PRP using holistic methods. I’ve not heard of bio resonance, I shall be checking this out. Its amazing the hospital grew the culture!

      Thanks for sharing your story with me,it’s great for others to hear that we can heal PRP.

  • Natalie says:

    so glad I came across this, our 2 yr old just got diagnosed with prp a couple days ago. And I have been researching all I can about this. As I also don’t want to use steroid creams all the time also. So glad I found this.

    • Lace says:

      Hi Natalie, I am so sorry to hear your 2-year-old has PRP. I remember researching for my husband and the frustration I had for lack of information. I absolutely agree that steroid creams should not be used routinely, they thin the skin and can cause all manner of additional problems. Please also consider discontinuing vaccinating (if you do) because of the effect they have on the gut and thus the skin also. Focus on healing the gut, I will be writing extensively on the subject soon so do come back for that. I am glad you found this post helpful and I wish you both all the best.

  • Ginny says:

    Great read. I was born with PRP and my 3 kids also have prp.

    • Lace says:

      Oh Ginny, I’m sorry you and your children have PRP. I hope you find some relief using the the suggestions that worked for my husband. All the best.

  • Jayne Barnes says:

    Hi Lace

    Thank you for your post. I too have PRP and have found very little useful information about it. Your post is very helpful. I feel for your husband, and yourself. Living with PRP is painful, as you said. It took me about 5 years to be diagnosed. I have been on various drugs and treatments since then which have had varying levels of impact. I am going to try your approach. I feel I have some hope again! Thank you and all the best.

    • Lace says:

      Hi Jayne,

      Thanks for getting in touch, it’s great to hear from you. I’m sorry you are dealing with PRP, I empathise with your pain. Finding information on this topic is difficult so I’m super happy you’ve found this post helpful.

      I’d be interested to hear about the treatments have you undergone? I do wish you well with the more natural approach. It worked miracles for us.

      My best advice is to take it one step at a time. Do come back and let me know how you’re getting on and if I can help at all. I’d love to follow your progress.

      All the very best,

      Lace

      • Jayne Barnes says:

        Hi Lace

        Apologies for not responding sooner but I have been following your advice since August and giving it a few months to see what happened. The results? Amazing. My PRP has disappeared completely. I now follow a totally vegan diet, including no processed foods or sugar. I am also taking the supplements you mentioned in your article and using as close to natural skin care products as I can. I cannot believe what has happened. After struggling with PRP for years and trying out so many treatments – this has worked. I am so happy. I hope as many Dermatologists as possible read your article to get the word out there and to help other people with an alternative to steroids and drug treatments. The treatments I have tried in the past include; steroid creams (various and many), ultraviolet light treatment, Acitretin, Methotrexate and Mycophenolate Mofetil.

        The other side effect of following this change in diet and approach is that my skin has improved no end. I used to get acne and dry skin at times, in addition to PRP. I have had many comments about how good my skin is looking.

        A huge thank you for your help and creating this post. It has changed my life in that no longer do I need to worry about and manage PRP skin.

        All the very best.

        Jayne

        • Lace says:

          Hi Jayne,

          Thank you so much for coming back with an update. I’m absolutely thrilled for you, your results from the changes you made sound like they are really paying off!

          You’ve been through so much, like my husband with a huge variety of unsuccessful treatment. But you took action and responsibility for your health and look at what you’ve achieved.

          Reading your comments really made my day. This is why I write and hearing your success makes it worth every minute.

          Thank you so much for sharing and long may you continue to be have glowing, healthy skin.

          Warmest wishes,

          Lace

  • Carleen king says:

    I’ve just been diagnosed with PRP after 4 skin biopsies. The drugs they’d like to give me are not appealing to me. I enjoyed reading your blog -my goal is to heal this holistically.
    Thank you for this!

    • Lace says:

      Sorry to hear that Carleen but it’s awesome you want to take a holistic approach to heal, you can do this. I am glad you enjoyed the post, I hope the suggestions help you as they did my husband. Do come back and let me know how you are doing. All the best.

  • Lennis says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Similar to your case, but for me it has been my Dad. In his case, his biopsy came back as psoriasis but neither the doctor nor all of us are convinced. He’s also developed food allergies along the way, including blueberries, asparagus, cinnamon, etc.

    Did your husband suffered from any food allergies? I give him a mostly plant-based diet (only 10% of animal/dairy products in his food, all free range and organic as much as possible).
    Another question, did it take your husband 4 years to get stable after making the changes? I’ve seen improvement on my Dad’s skin since I changed his lifestyle 8 months ago, but the allergies and itchiness of the skin just seem to have hit a plateau.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Lace says:

      Hi Lennis,

      Thanks for your comments and questions. I’m sorry to hear your dad is struggling with skin troubles. Developing allergies is interesting, has he had any vaccines in this time? My hubby didn’t have or develop allergies, he is sensitive to chemicals though.

      Is dad getting any grass fed liver or unpasteurised milk or cheese in the 10% animal diet?

      Hubby improved within months like your dad has, it was just a slow process to get from skin failure to ‘did he really have a skin problem?!’ kinda skin. It’s been about 12 months since his skin has been symptom free.

      It’s hard to make suggestions without knowing all the ins and outs but if I can be of any further help give me a shout.

      All the best to you both, keep up the good work!

  • Tammy says:

    Wow, Lace, this is a great post on PRP! Your poor husband must have been miserable. 🙁 I’m so happy you found a solution, NATURALLY and that the diabetes is gone. I’ve lost faith in most doctors and only research natural remedies these days for me and my dogs. And coconut oil to the rescue again! Love that stuff. Thank you for informing us about PRP and sharing your solution with us. 🙂

    • Lace says:

      Thanks Tammy, it’s been a journey for sure. Hubs was in a bad way, miserable is an understatement! He’s so much happier and healthier now. Like you, we just stick to natural, holistic approaches now. So much safer and effective. Your doggies are lucky to have a natural mama like you. Coconut oil is pretty awesome isn’t it. Great to hear from you again, be blessed.


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