Communications (September, 1997)

Sensible & Succinct
by Brad Beaton

I am a psoriasis sufferer for the last seven of my twenty seven years. I strangely developed psoriasis at the same time as my dad. We both have personal excuses that we can blame for our psoriasis. I find three things are key to managing my disease.

Firstly, I try to keep my stress level at a medium level. periods of high stress tend to make the problem worse, although it is not a cause. Just like problems associated with diabetes or arthritis, stress is not the cause but it does make things worse. Regular sleep and exercise helps me in this regard.

Secondly, I try to avoid food and beverages with alcohol and caffeine. I find the worst my psoriasis gets is the period after I have been on a bender and drank alot of beer. Cola drinks or coffee in excess are almost as bad. I find this difficult to manage as I love to socialize which involves drinking coffee or alcohol, so I live by moderate consumption.

Thirdly, the more I agitate my skin lesions by scratching, the worse they get. I find putting on dovenex cream after a shower keeps them small and less inflamed. I try a moderate amount of sunlight or sunlamp induced UV rays in regular doses have reduced my psoriasis to a point where I comfortably will go to the beach or wear shorts and no shirt. I used to have Psoriasis from head to toe and was ashamed to even go outside or to my job.

Lastly, I find if I switch and rotate topical creams, moisturizers and tar shampoos my lesions never get used to fighting the same products, that is they do not build up a defense. This way I can keep the most effective tar shampoo for periods when my psoriasis is at it's worst and I know it will work.

If I could give fellow sufferers advice, it would be as follows:

1. Keep your stress level at a medium level-not too little, not too much. Exercise and get lots of sleep. Sex on a regular basis helps!

2. Don't drink too much caffeine or booze. I still enjoy these but just not as often.

3. Leave your lesions alone other than applying the products you find most effective at treating them. Rotate them around so they will not become ineffective and you can try different things. There is nothing more frustrating than having only one cure and then the product goes off the market! It is true, in my case, that if I scratch they will get worse.

To all my fellow sufferers of this lousy disease, my heart goes out to you and I hope my experience helps you. I also welcome any advice you can pass along. -All the best, Brad Beaton, Vancouver, BC


Ed's Response:

Thanks for the sensible and succinct expression of just about the best advice available for living with psoriasis. My own case heartily endorses your observations and advice; however I must confess to one failing. I cannot give up the coffee. -Ed


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