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Can you treat your dry, itchy skin with a herbal product?

THE CAUSE OF psoriasis is not well understood, but it is known that your immune system plays a large part. If you have psoriasis, your T-cells (which are found the cells found in your blood and are part of your body's natural defence) attack your healthy skin cells by mistake. This then triggers the immune system to produce new skin cells and also more T-cells.

The cycle of skin cell production becomes quicker and quicker. Skin cells are created and then die in the space of five to six days, instead of the normal 28 days. The dead skin cells build up on the surface of your skin in thick, scaly patches or ‘plaques’ as they are known.

Is it genetic?

Psoriasis tends to run in families. One in three people with psoriasis has a close relative with the condition. The exact role that genetics plays in causing psoriasis is unclear. Research studies have shown that many different genes are linked to the development of psoriasis. It is likely  that different combinations of genes may make people more vulnerable to the condition. However, having these genes does not necessarily mean that you will develop it.

What makes it start?

Many people's symptoms start or become worse because of a certain event, known as a trigger. Knowing your triggers may allow you to avoid a flare-up of psoriasis. Common triggers include:

• an injury to your skin
• alcohol
• smoking
• stress

• certain medicines such as lithium, some antimalarial medicines, anti- inflammatory medicines including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure) and beta blockers (used to treat congestive heart failure)

• throat infections.
• other immune disorders

What herbal products can help?

There are a number of herbal extracts which have been found to help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.

Grape Seed Extract

Collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid are all vital components of your skin and play a part in keeping it healthy and repairing everyday damage. Grape Seed Extract has a powerful anti-oxidant effect which helps to block harmful chemicals which could damage the function of these important processes. Grape Seed Extract has strong antihistamine properties, and as psoriasis and eczema are closely linked to allergic reactions, it can help to prevent painful flareups of these conditions.

Green Tea Extract

Scientists have found that green tea can help by regulating Caspase-14, a protein in genes that regulates the life cycle of your skin cells. As psoriasis and eczema cause skin cells to multiply far too quickly, green tea  slows this process to reduce the build up of skin cells. It is also an anti- inflammatory which is thought to be beneficial in preventing skin irritation.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid is an antioxidant, which means that it neutralizes naturally occurring but harmful chemicals known as free radicals. Unlike other antioxidants, which work only in water or fatty tissues, lipoic acid is unusual in that it functions in both water and fat. This unique anti- oxidant effect helps lessen the effects of psoriasis and eczema.


CoQ10 helps your body's cells to convert nutrients into energy and therefore, is an essential supplement for any healing process, especially eczema. As part of its role as an antioxidant, CoQ10 can actually increase oxygen levels when necessary, and reduce them if they threaten to reach toxic levels.