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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.
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 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.
- 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
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.
- 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?
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.
Got a question or need a consultation? Holla at me and I'll be glad to help you out!
- 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!
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 Organic Free Range Chicken Bone Broth
- 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
- 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.
- 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!
Wondering Which Cod Liver Oil to Buy?
Check Out my Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil Review
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 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.
Self Care & Sunshine!
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.
- 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!
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,
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.