Pat Woodward, 60, an estate agent from the Hampshire, suffered with psoriasis for over ten years. At times her hands were so sore and unsightly she would wear gloves to work.
Pat explains how the condition has impacted on every aspect of her life for the past decade, and how finally she overcame it when she found a psoriasis cure in Oregon Grape Root:
“Psoriasis runs in my family, my mother had it before me and my brother developed it in puberty and still has it. I’ve not suffered quite as long as him, mine appears to have been triggered by the menopause, but it has been relentless.
My hands are worst affected but I also have it on my legs and my scalp.
Having psoriasis on my hands affects every aspect of my life. As obvious as it sounds, you need your hands for literally everything, from washing and dressing yourself in the morning, to eating, driving, typing or gripping a pen, and of course, for interacting with others.
Until very recently I would wear lace gloves to work, both for my benefit and also because I didn’t want to make others feel uncomfortable. Psoriasis can be very painful and having my hand squeezed by an unsuspecting stranger was often excruciating. The gloves would make them think twice. They would also hide the layers of white, peeling, flaking skin, often cracked where my palms and knuckles were so dry my skin had split open.
I was very conscious of how my hands looked. Many people wrongly believe that psoriasis is a contagious condition and I would worry that strangers would think I was unclean or had some kind of untreatable disease.
Of course in some ways it was untreatable and for years I battled with one treatment or another. To start with it was just creams, mainly steroidal creams, from my doctor, but when these failed to work I begged to try stronger treatments. My self esteem was at an all time low and I had started to suffer with depression.
Doctors prescribed anti-depressants and continued to look at possible treatment plans, including light therapy, whilst family and friends would bring me back all sorts of remedies from far flung places they had visited, including turmeric soap and bees wax creams, but nothing worked for any length of time.
When light therapy failed to help, I was put on several courses of cancer-fighting drugs that work by suppressing the immune system. In each instance you have to trial the drug for a certain period of time and also leave time between each treatment before you can move on to another. I tried three in total: Methotrexate, Cysclosporine and Stelara skin injections, and the side-effects were horrendous.
I did know that side-effects were to be expected but I was desperate and prepared to try anything. From palpitations and general sickness, to bowel disruptions so severe I actually thought I had cancer, and painful mouth ulcers, I felt dreadful.
I did notice some improvement in my skin but it didn’t last and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to sustain this type of treatment for any longer. After my last course of skin injections in 2016, I asked my doctor not to put me forward for any more.
I resolved to manage my psoriasis on my own terms: I would continue to live with it, I’d wear my lace gloves in public, non-latex gloves when in the shower, avoid coming into contact with known triggers and continue with steroid creams as and when I really needed them. I didn’t know what else to do; in my mind I had tried everything.
As it turns out, I’d tried nearly everything. I was at a client’s house one day, valuing her property, when she asked me about my gloves. I went through the usual rigmarole of explaining why and what for, and she suggested I try Oregon Grape Root on my skin. She gave me the details of a skincare range specialising in products for people with psoriasis and strongly urged me to try them.
I’ve had my fair share of tips and suggestions from well-meaning friends and family, but Oregon grape root was new to me. I decided to give the products a go, after all nothing could be worse than some of the treatments I had tried already.
I was immediately hopeful when I tried the Body & Hand Wash because for the first time in a long time my skin felt clean. The Exfoliating Wash was particularly useful on my legs, it wasn’t as good on my hands because they were too sore and I had to apply it wearing non-latex gloves, but the skin on my legs responded well. And the shampoo and conditioner were really gentle on my scalp. The shampoo could smell a little nicer but it’s better than others I’ve tried; it’s often difficult to find shampoos and conditioners that are pure in terms of ingredients and still work. The conditioner was especially good.
However I was really keen to see an improvement in my hands. I applied a thick layer of Serum on these and wore with gloves overnight. The Serum was immediately soothing and by morning my hands felt less tight.
After a few days I started to notice a visible difference too, the skin was less angry looking and after about four weeks, the thick flakes of white skin had reduced significantly and the deeper cracks had almost healed.
I’ve been using the Oregon Skincare products for just over four months and the overall improvement in my skin has been incredible. My psoriasis hasn’t disappeared altogether but it is at least 80% better.
I do still have the odd flare-up; my husband and sister were admitted to hospital at the beginning of the year and I found this very stressful. My skin reacted badly to the stress and I used a steroid cream for a couple of weeks.
Thankfully things have since returned to normal and my skin was quick to improve without the use of stronger treatments; I just started my Oregon skincare regime from scratch.
Although I think I’ll always be conscious of my psoriasis, my skin is the best it’s been in over a decade. I am no longer self-conscious. I no longer wear gloves to work, I’m wearing nail varnish for the first time in years and I’m able to use my hands again for more physical tasks, such as pottering in the garden and playing with my grandchildren. As for the rest of me, my legs are completely clear, I no longer have to hide them away under woolly tights or trousers and I was even able to wear a dress for my husband’s birthday! He made a comment when he saw me in it, ‘Oh, so you do have legs’, what a cheek! But he did follow it up with ‘very nice’, so I suppose I can forgive him!”