People who suffer with the visible skin disease psoriasis often feel invisible in society. Imagine being asked to leave a public pool because of your visible plaque psoriasis. What long term effect will this situation have on that particular individual?
Because psoriasis is visible, it is often perceived to be contagious. In fact, that’s the misconception I spend most of my time explaining to the general public. Psoriasis is not contagious and it’s not just a skin disease. The visual red flakey blotches on the surface are just a symptom of the inflammation happening underneath. In a recent study, it revealed this skin disease can cause heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and depression if left untreated.
Pharmaceutical companies have been working feverishly to develop new treatments. Many doctors and patients are not comfortable trying some of these new medications. Moderate to severe patients could be doing more harm than good without drug intervention. Patients need to be their own advocates and educate themselves to make a informed decision. The most reliable source of information these days is the National Psoriasis Foundation .
Models strive to be perfect for the camera lens. One runway model that won’t let her skin disease deter her from being photographed is Joleen Obie Trail. Joleen was diagnosed at 18 with a mild case of psoriasis appearing on her elbows and knees. She was able to continue her career in modeling by having the make-up artist cover her spots. Later on in her career, at the age of 32, her psoriasis became severe because she “caught a serious cold from a very stressful situation” causing her to flare. She also had a run-in with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) so she had to avoid foods with gluten.
I asked Joleen, “What are you doing to help your psoriasis?”
She responded, “I try to avoid nightshades. I only had tomatoes twice this year. I reckon that helped. I avoid eggplant and peppers. I will occasionally have potatoes. I try and follow the Dr. Pagano’s Diet. I use Dovobet, but only on my elbows and just tar and coconut oil on my legs. The Pagano Diet is so strict and difficult to follow. I like the concept of his diet and I eat brown rice instead of white rice. Spelt pasta instead of wheat. I do things that I like that make my body happy, such as yoga, swimming, and walking!
Next I asked, “What advice would you like to share with other psoriasis patients?”
Joleen: I think the most important thing is to be proactive as soon as possible. I encourage others to buy the book Dr Pagano’s, “Healing Psoriasis.” Join a support group and educate yourself about psoriasis. Magnesium baths with lavender oil are wonderful and soothing. I’ve used acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Oregano oil and a good foundation to cover it when needed! Just stay on top of it and don’t let it get the best of you. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
I travel the world as a model and always strive to be my best. My psoriasis has taught me to lead a much more peaceful life now! I am content with where I live. I don’t have any plans to change. I am happy with the simple things like good healthy yummy food and taking my dog to the beach. I adore gardening and lying in the sunshine. Nature inspires me and my gorgeous man who loves and supports me!
Joleen is an advocate for models all around the world. She is changing the industry standards. She says, “Healthy women and healthy models.” New laws are being implemented to protect models from becoming bulimic or anorexic. These laws will require models to have a certain BMI (Body Mass Index). Models will be required to carry doctor’s certificates, reporting their healthy status. It’s extremely unhealthy and unrealistic for woman to be portrayed in this light.
Joleen now resides in Australia. The sun is known to help slow down the replication of skin cells of psoriasis, which is reproducing cells ten times faster than normal. Joleen is an active member of our support group Overcoming Psoriasis .
Article written by Todd Bello
*Resources; National Psoriasis Foundation
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