An inherited skin condition in which the epidermis produces new cells too fast for keratin formation to take place - keratin is a fibrous protein that forms a tough, protective covering over skin, nails, and hair. As a result, unsightly patches of flaking skin develop, on knees, elbows, sacrum, or scalp behind ears; patches are well-defined, slightly raised, deep pink beneath their silvery scaling, and not necessarily sore or itchy. Nails may also be affected, becoming thick, rough, or pitted, or separating completely from the nailbed (see Nail Problems). In a few sufferers, joints of hands, fingers, knees, and ankles may become inflamed and swollen. Condition is chronic, flaring up at intervals; it is rare before age of 5, and most common between age of 15 and 30; can be precipitated by infections (especially those caused by Streptococcus bacteria), by drugs such as chloroquine (used in treatment of rheumatism and malaria), and also by Stress or injury.
Orthodox treatments include steroid and coal tar ointments, cytotoxic drugs which slow down cell division, Vitamin A and D derivatives (which can be highly toxic), and special ultraviolet therapy. Condition can be managed each time it recurs, but not cured. Constitutional homeopathic treatment and the self-help measures usually prove beneficial. If the remedies recommended do not produce some improvement within 2 weeks, see your homeopath.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 2 weeks
- Affected areas of skin burning hot, mentally restless but physically exhausted, feeling chilly Arsenicum 6c
- Dry, red, scaly, itchy patches worse after baths, especially if person often feels too hot Sulphur 30c
- Skin behind ears affected, exuding honey-coloured pus Graphites 6c
- Affected areas extremely scaly, aggravated by warmth Kali ars. 6c
- Condition aggravated by cold and worse in winter Petroleum 6c
Self-help: Warm bathing may ameliorate the condition as well as the use of moisturisers. Try to lose access weight and avoid injury. If you are injured take Arnica 6c 4 times a day for 2 days. Ultra-violet treatment can be useful in this condition but because of the risk of adverse effects it should only be conducted under the supervision of a consultant dermatologist. To reduce stress try to relax or learn to meditate. Try the Liver Diet for 1 month and take extra zinc or try EPA Marine Oils.