Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) - How my Husband Healed His Skin Without Drugs
You're here because you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP). And you need answers. Either because the drugs don't work or you don't want the drugs. I hear you. My husband has the PRP diagnosis and he has been there. He and I know it's tough. However, there IS light at the end of the tunnel. You can help yourself or your loved one to be more comfortable, even to heal.
In this post, I share with you the steps we've taken towards healing this Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP). I warn you, this is an epic post, covering a lot of ground. It's essentially a consolidation of the past almost 4 years of my husband's experimental holistic healing. My sincere hope is that our journey will not only inspire but help others looking for answers to their PRP struggles.
The Back Story
So, before we launch into things here's a bit of back story for context. At age 4 my husband was wrongly, diagnosed with psoriasis. Medics prescribed and advised he use steroid cream. Every. Single. Day. For 16 years. 16 years!!? It was at age 21 he was finally diagnosed with PRP.
You can well imagine the effects of 16 years of cream were 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 under control.
Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) a Brief Overview
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 Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris 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. Apparently, the medical doctors' hubby visited had never heard of PRP. 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.
- 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
Beginning Our Holistic Journey
Hubby 28 when I began researching possible natural remedies for Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris. Unfortunately, I drew a blank, no one was talking about PRP on the Internet. Bummer. Most information was for eczema and psoriasis so, seeing the similarities in these complaints I compared and contrasted the remedies making 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 are. The sheer amount of crap in personal care, household and everyday products is mind boggling.
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. Trying to do it all at once will overwhelm you and is the fastest way to failure. 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 manageable and permanent. And even if you change everything in one day you will not be instantly fixed. Healing takes time. Go steady and you'll be far more likely to succeed.
- Personal care and household products are loaded with toxins
- Most of these negatively impact the health
- Changing for natural alternatives is a great start
- Choose products avoid harsh chemicals
- Make changes slowly
What About Moisturisers?
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, even emu oil (which didn't agree with him and we discontinued). 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. UPDATE! Egyptian Magic Cream is a firm favorite for moisturising after discovering it at 35,000 ft returning from Morocco!
Whatever you do, stop using products containing SLS, PEGS, fragrance, parfum and things with crazy chemical names. They are bad news for your skin. Switch to brands that use natural, organic ingredients or make your own.
- Skincare products are usually loaded with toxic chemicals
- Avoid SLS, petrochemicals, PEGS, fragrance and parfum
- Making your own products can help you ditch toxins
- Choose natural Organic Brands like Neal's Yard Remedies Organic Instead
- Remember, Your Skin is Your Largest Organ, Look After it!
Visit my Neal's Yard Remedies Organic online shop for skin friendly, organic skin and personal care.
Got a question or need a consultation? Holla at me and I'll be glad to help you out!
Clean Up Your Diet!
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. Healing your gut is imperative. Eat a healthy, wholesome diet of non-GMO produce with plenty of vegetables. We went vegetarian and then vegan for about a year but 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 choose unpasteurised dairy 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. Check out this organic bone broth we use here.
- 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. Learn more about 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!
- Eat Organic
- Cut processed foods and sugar
- Consume healthy fats
- Consume quality bone broth
- Switch to unpasteurised dairy
- Drink clean, purified water
- Eat plenty vegetables and fruit
Supplements: What We Found Useful
- 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.
- Magnesium chloride - bathing in it, a spray or a chelated form such as magnesium malate. My magnesium post takes you everything magnesium.
- Quality cod liver oil
- Always Check with your physician before taking supplements
- Eat a healthy diet, supplements alone are not enough!
Wondering Which Cod Liver Oil to Buy?
Check Out my Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil Review
Household Product Overhaul
Many products we use regularly at home are damaging our health. But clearing out the chemical cupboard doesn't mean your home won't be clean. We eliminated almost every household chemical. 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. Recipes for making them are here.
- 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.
Up Your Self Care Game
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.
- Self care is important for healing
- Meditation reduces stress a direct trigger for husbands PRP flair ups
Get out in the Sunshine
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.
- 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!
Taking on Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris is a marathon, not a sprint. 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. 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. Gone is the skin failure and gone is the sack of drugs. He doesn't even need the petroleum 'cream' anymore, thank goodness! 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.
By breaking them down into mini steps healing 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,
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.
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This does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to treat or cure any condition. I am simply sharing my experience/opinion. Seek advise from your healthcare practitioner before using herbs or supplements.