Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are acommon and can cause a lot of sufafdqering. 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.
Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) a Brief Overview
PRP is the title given to an apparent 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.
So what are the tell-tale signs of
Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRR)?
- 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. Despite starting 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 have never heard of PRP so perhaps that’s why it took 16 years for them to notice their treatment wasn’t working. It was time to try something else.
In The Beginning
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. 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. We started to cut back and find gentle, more natural alternatives.
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 suggest changing a few things at a time, it makes the changes more manageable and permanent. Remember, even if you change everything in one day you will not be instantly fixed. It takes time, so go steady and you’ll be far more likely to succeed.
Clean Up The 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. 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 but without wanting to cause debate 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.
- 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 coconut oil
- Eat the rainbow. No, I don’t mean Skittles!
Supplements We Found Useful
Supplements may not be necessary if you are not deficient in these nutrients and are eating a varied wholesome diet but skin problems could indicate deficiency. If in doubt or you are taking medication check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. I would recommend cod liver oil and magnesium to just about everybody. Skin problems or not but again, use your noggin.
There are hundreds of supplements one could take to boost skin health and no we’ve not tried them all. Here’s a list of those we found useful on our PRP healing journey. Take supplements alongside a varied healthy diet and in conjunction with the other aspects of health in this post. As my grandmother says, all things work together for good. That’s definitely true when it comes to health, it’s getting the mixture right.
Supplements we used/use:
- Magnesium We used this mainly in magnesium chloride baths when getting into the ocean wasn’t possible. The ocean is the very best source of magnesium and visits to the beach resulted in immediate skin improvement. Want more info on magnesium? Read my guide to the best type of magnesium supplements or get acquainted with the benefits of magnesium in my magnesium oil post.
- 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 superfood 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.
Undecided on which cod liver oil to buy? Check out my reviews on two quality cod liver oil supplements Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil and Green Pastures Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil Cod Liver Oil to help you out.
Switching Personal Care Products
Over a few months, we switched to more natural and where possible organic personal care products. There are loads out there to choose from but seeing as I’m Neals Yard Independent Consultant, we use a fair amount of Neals Yard products. Among my husband’s favourites are:
- Close shave oil. It leaves his skin smooth and nourished while giving a close clean shave without the irritation.
- Lemon and coriander deodorant – aluminium free for a non-toxic no pore blocking experience. It smells great and doesn’t suffocate you.
- As a general guide ditch SLS, PEGS, parfum, fragrance and things you can’t pronounce in general.
Of course, there’s a huge range of clean, gentle brands to choose from so get out there, read some labels and try something new. Green people and Weleda offer some great crap free products suitable for the whole family. Another option is to make your own personal care products and you’ll find recipes for just about everything on the Internet. Ther’s a growing collection of DIY recipes right here at Frugal by Nature too.
Household Product Overhaul
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 can’t be clean. We eliminated almost every household chemical and those my husband insists on using are used 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.
What About Moisturisers?
Often, I’m asked what topical creams we used in this process. We tried many concoctions from Shea butter to mango butter and different essential and carrier oil blends. A blend of Shea, safflower, geranium and lavender worked best but the results were limited. Nothing kept hubs moisturised enough, his tub of soft white petroleum industry byproduct. I mean paraffin was the last prescribed substance to go. Within the last few months, actually. Interestingly, as we’ve implemented all these changes his need for cream is massively reduced. A light covering of coconut oil and he’s good to go as his skin is taking care of itself these days.
Tidy The Mind and Soul – It Heals The Body
Healing is about balance and doesn’t just include what we eat and put on our skin. Healing includes the mind and how we think. Reducing stress and working through personal blocks are 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 as well as emotionally when trauma manifests itself as a physical problem.
Get Some Sunshine and Reconnect With The Earth
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. 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. More bout grounding and its connection to inflammation coming soon!
Houston, We No Longer Have A Problem!
Over the weeks, months and years hubby
steadily improved and his symptoms lessened and have mostly completely disappeared. Four years ago he 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. 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.
The Journey Was Worth It
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. Results aren’t immediate either, 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. Please remember, 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,