Disclaimer: Consult with a doctor before deciding on a treatment plan for psoriasis or any other disease.
WE’VE INCLUDED LINKS BELOW TO PRODUCTS THAT HAVE A REPUTATION FOR BEING OF HIGH-QUALITY AND APPROPRIATE FOR HOLISTIC TREATMENT. THESE AFFILIATE LINKS HELP FUND THIS WEB SITE AND KEEP IT GOING.
In addition to detoxification, research has indicated that people with psoriasis need more sunlight than the average person. Though conventional medicine says that people should wear sunscreen when they are exposed to sunlight, the sunscreens contain carcinogenic toxins themselves. And there’s a great deal of research that indicates that sunlight actually has healing effects on the skin, particularly psoriatic lesions. Research has shown that people with psoriasis need more than 30 minutes per day of sunlight and often, it’s needed on the whole body, not just the area of the body affected by psoriasis.
Carcinogens in Sunscreen: What Psoriasis Sufferers Need to Know
As a psoriasis sufferer, information about the sun and sunscreen can be confusing. On the one hand, there’s a lot of information out there about how sunshine can heal psoriasis. But on the other hand, there are tons of scary warnings about how lots of sun exposure could lead to cancer. For more information about how to prevent cancer as a psoriasis sufferer who sunbathes, visit the Quick Start Guide to Cancer Prevention and Treatment.
According to the Environmental Working Group, (one of the few organizations that monitor and report on the safety of ingredients used in the cosmetics industry) sunscreen is a body care product that needs to be regulated carefully because people apply it all over their bodies and they reapply it frequently. It therefore can have a profound impact on a person’s general health. Sunscreen chemicals are readily absorbed into the body because many manufacturers include “penetration enhancers” to help their product adhere to and sink into the skin. As a result, sunscreen chemicals can often be measured in the blood, urine, and even breast milk. Not all sunscreen ingredients have been adequately tested for safety. In fact, there are only two ingredients that have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they are indeed safe for use as a sunscreen: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
The FDA has acknowledged at least 12 other ingredients commonly found in sunscreen for which there is simply not adequate data to determine whether or not they’re actually safe. What this means is that, while warnings abound about the potential harmfulness of the sun’s rays, most of the major ingredients in sunscreens have not been tested to determine whether or not they’re safe. Yes, it’s true that if you spend too much time in the sun, you might get burned. But these ingredients can affect hormone levels or cause allergies or even cancer. Children tend to absorb the ingredients more readily than adults. This is food for thought for psoriasis sufferers whose doctors are chiding them for spending time in the sun. Who makes a profit when a psoriasis sufferer uses sunlight to get well?
…not the sunscreen industry
…and not the medical devices industry that produces UV treatment products meant to mimic the sun.
NOTE: Most medical devices in the U.S. are NOT TESTED PRIOR TO BEING APPROVED BY THE FDA. For those that are tested as part of the FDA approval process, often, the safety and efficacy studies include only a tiny group of research participants (typically between 50-100 participants). Many devices are grandfathered in and given FDA approval without undergoing any tests for safety or efficacy under the 501(K) premarket evaluation system.
ALSO NOTE: Most doctors have no idea whether the device they’re using has been adequately tested before receiving FDA approval.
Below is a list of common sunscreen ingredients that the FDA has identified as lacking sufficient safety data:
Medical Devices: What Psoriasis Sufferers Need to Know
Sunlight is full-spectrum light and our bodies need it. People with psoriasis need a lot of sunlight. Typically, instead of prescribing real sunlight, doctors prescribe phototherapy, or a synthetic version of sunlight. Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light regularly at a clinic or in a hospital. Patients can also buy a phototherapy unit to treat themselves at home. The UVB light penetrates the skin and slows the growth of psoriatic cells. There are a number of medical devices that emit UVB light including an excimer laser that emits a high-intensity beam of UVB. But many of these devices have not been adequately tested to determine their long-term safety and efficacy even though they have been FDA-approved. Patients who have observed their psoriatic lesions clear up under direct sunlight may be asked to avoid the sun by their doctor and instead undergo treatment with a medical device that has not been tested for safety or efficacy.
Anyone who suffers from psoriasis needs to understand the methods used to approve medical devices by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis because there are numerous medical device treatments on the market for this disease. In other words, medical device manufacturers hope to get rich off of psoriasis sufferers so it pays for these manufacturers to send reps into doctor’s offices to tell doctors how harmful the sun is and how well their medical device works. This is common practice in the medical industry. Medical device and pharmaceutical reps educate doctors about the latest treatments. And the education that doctors receive is biased to encourage doctors to steer their patients away from natural treatments that are free or affordable toward treatments that will be profitable for this industry.
The medical device industry is a more lucrative business than the pharmaceutical industry. Medical devices may be approved under either a 501(K) approval or they may have go through the slightly different process of getting Pre-market Approval by doing a small safety study (only 2% of medical devices are scrutinized in this way). Approximately 98% of all medical devices are approved as 501(K) devices which means that they have been automatically approved without undergoing any tests to prove that they are safe because they resemble a similar medical device similar that’s already been approved by the FDA. There are many tragic stories out there about medical devices that were approved by the FDA, but that went on to cause a great deal of harm to patients. Many of these devices are still on the market. So be sure to research the medical device your doctor wants to use on you before you agree to using it for psoriasis treatment.
For more information about the medical device industry and how the FDA has failed to adequately monitor these devices, watch this documentary called The Bleeding Edge.
Sunlight: What Psoriasis Sufferers Need to Know
No one knows exactly why sunlight helps psoriasis sufferers, but it does. Some speculate that higher levels of vitamin D are what cause the psoriatic lesions to go away, while others say that it’s the full-spectrum light itself that works as a cure. Indeed, many patients report that real sunlight along with real sea water works wonders for them. Their psoriasis goes away almost immediately with exposure to sun and sea. But every patient is different. Nonetheless, one of the most famous areas of the world where psoriasis patients get sun and sea treatments is at the Dead Sea in Israel and Jordan.
There are exceptions to this rule. According to one study a subset of psoriasis patients (between 5 and 20%), experienced a worsening of symptoms when exposed to sunlight. In some of these cases, researchers believe these psoriasis patients may have had a photosensitivity disorder, but in others, the reaction to sunlight was not well-understood. Some of these psoriasis sufferers may still be able to benefit from salt water treatments given in spa-environments where UV exposure can be controlled and limited during the patients exposure to the saltwater.
For patients who want to give sun and sea a try, it isn’t necessary to travel all the way to Israel or Jordan to expose psoriatic skin to sunlight and sea water, but many psoriasis patients report that this area of the world offers an optimal UV index of sunlight and the perfect concentration of salt in the sea-water that’s ideal for psoriasis sufferers who may not be able to find relief by going to their nearest ocean shore. Follow this link for more information about Dead Sea resorts in Israel or Jordan where psoriasis sufferers can go to detox and seek healing that includes not only sun and sea, but also dietary detoxification and healing programs.
Studies carried out at Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain have demonstrated that most psoriasis sufferers reliably show improvement when exposed to sunlight. Apparently, sunlight modulates or suppresses the immune system is psoriasis patients and after sun exposure, the appearance of the skin gets better and inflammatory markers are reduced as well.
Other Important Links:
The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance (1993-2020). Psoriasis and the Sun. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.papaa.org/learn-about-psoriasis-and-psoriatic-arthritis/further-information/psoriasis-and-the-sun/
Environmental Working Group (2020). The Trouble with Ingredients in Sunscreens. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
National Psoriasis Foundation (2020). Phototherapy. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/phototherapy
Virtual Medical Center (2002-2018). Sun Good for Psoriasis Sufferers. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.myvmc.com/news/sun-good-for-psoriasis-sufferers/
Soyland, E., Heier, I. Rodriguez-Gallego, C. Mollnes, T. E., Johansen, F. E., Holven, K. B., Halvorsen, B.,Aukrust, P. , Jahnsen, F. L., de la Rosa Carrillo, D., Krogstad, A. L., Nenseter M.S. (2010). Sun exposure induces rapid immunological changes in skin and peripheral blood in patients with psoriasis. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://oslo-universitetssykehus.no/Documents/Behandlingsreiser/Forskning/Psoriasis%20hos%20voksne,%20barn%20og%20ungdom/PSO4_immunologi1.pdf
Kirsty, J., Rutter, Watson, R. E. B., Cotterell, L. F., Brenn, T., Griffiths, C. E. M., Rhodes, L. E. (2009). Severely Photosensitive Psoriasis: A Phenotypically Defined Patient Subset. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15341531
TalkPsoriasis (2005). Ocean water and psoriasis – Psoriasis. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.inspire.com/groups/talk-psoriasis/discussion/ocean-water-and-psoriasis/
National Psoriasis Foundation (1996-2019). For some people with psoriasis, spa therapy is a clear choice. Retrieved January 26, 2020 from https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/alternative/spa-therapy-for-psoriasis