Health and wellness touch everyone’s life differently. This is one person’s story.
I still remember the very first time I realized I had psoriasis.
Freshmen year of high school, front row of the auditorium. I was waiting to audition for that year’s musical.
Suddenly, my leg started to itch. This was a common, day-to-day occurrence for me, given the starchy knee-high socks that were a mandatory part of the uniform at my Catholic school. I performed my normal routine to scratch an itch in school inconspicuously: I slipped one foot out of my Mary Janes and used my toes to gently scratch the other foot.
I scratched it once. Twice. Five, six, probably 20 more times. Finally, when it became apparent that the itch would not and could not be scratched to satisfaction, I pulled my sock down.
What I saw sent my heart racing.
Instead of normal, irritated skin, what faced me on the left side of my calf was a line of bright, dry, blotchy, pink and white scales! Scales?! Scales!! I was horrified! What was happening?!
Too embarrassed to ask anyone around me what I might be looking at, I remember pulling a small jar of Vaseline out of my backpack and slathering it onto the scaly spot, rolling my sock back up, and rocking my leg nervously. There were only two more girls left to audition before it was my turn to go up there and sing, so this instant irritation was horribly inconvenient.
And I suddenly felt like crying, because now it was starting to hurt.
The more irritated and itchy my skin became, the more I panicked. When I looked down at the source of my discomfort again, the spot had somehow seemed to spread. Cue more Vaseline, more pain, and more panic.
A familiar condition
Somehow, I got through my audition that day, and immediately rushed home to tell my family about the mysterious scaly spot.
To my surprise, they had seen this before. My uncle had this condition. It was called psoriasis, they said. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes dry, flaky, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It’s a genetic disorder and often comes and goes, and the triggers vary by person — which is why it can be hard to pinpoint what’s causing a flare-up. And when a flare-up occurs, it can be embarrassing, painful, and dismaying.
But not to worry, I was told — there was treatment!
My treatment mostly involved drugs: powerful, potent drugs designed to lower my production of T cells and therefore, in theory, prevent the overgrowth of cells that cause psoriasis.
I took anthralin, a medication that may remove some scales caused by psoriasis, but can also severely irritate skin (and stains absolutely anything it touches). I used corticosteroid creams, meant to be applied directly to the skin to reduce itching and inflammation. I also used chemical-laden salicylic acid and tough coal tar.
I tried these Rx treatments for more than 10 years. There was just one problem: They never worked.
No matter if I was swallowing a pill, scrubbing off my skin, or using another strongly scented, industrial-strength cream, I was always dismayed and disappointed. My skin would get irritated, bloody, or bruised. It wasn’t getting better.
That’s because these treatments don’t address the underlying cause of psoriasis: the autoimmune disease.
Forging my own path
An autoimmune disease like psoriasis is a condition which causes your immune system to mistakenly attack your body. The immune system is designed to guard against germs and bacteria, so when it turns on itself, it can have massively drastic consequences on your health.
So, in 2011, I stopped using drugs for psoriasis and decided to treat myself naturally. And ever since making the switch, I’ve never turned back. My body is in balance, my skin is in balance, and I have controlled the triggers that beget autoimmune symptoms in the first place.
Having psoriasis inspired me to start treating my skin naturally, using raw and organic ingredients to heal, restore, and correct. Ingredients like turmeric, olive oil, fish oil, vitamin D, and hyaluronic acid were game changers in treating my skin, because they support the body’s oil production and increasing your immunity.
Olive oil, for instance, is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which protects joints as well as moisturizes. It also makes dead skin cells easier to remove. And turmeric lowers your cytokines, which cause inflammation in your cells.
I spent seven years experimenting, making simple at-home concoctions. And, to my surprise, they worked wonders, many times overnight! On top of my new skin care rituals, I also took supplement forms of the flowers, herbs, and oils I was using, supporting my body from the inside out.
I had prayed for a nonirritating, organic solution to my psoriasis for over a decade. Now I had it!
Soon, I began sharing my skin care creations with others. The feedback was incredible, and the more I watched these ingredient combinations achieve real results, the more I was tempted to share these findings with the world. If it’s not just me, I thought, it’s time — I need to share this!
Finding a purpose for my pain
Solving my own skin care problems inspired me to create my organic skin care line. I now use the ingredients that saved my skin — like hyaluronic acid, turmeric, vitamin D, and organic olive oil — as the main ingredients in our luxury serums. Switching from rough Rx drugs to treating myself naturally has had incredible benefits not only on my life, but now on thousands of other people’s lives, too.
Every day, we get more testimonials from women and men saying that their skin, self-esteem, and lives have been forever changed by switching to organic skin care products.
It’s been amazing to turn something that was such a source of embarrassment and pain into something that serves so many people and has so much purpose.
What’s truly eye-opening to me is that I’ve reevaluated what role, and what purpose, my psoriasis truly had in my life. It wasn’t so that I could go through all of this in order to help myself. It was so I could go through it to help others. Every day I do that, my pain has a purpose.
And one more person gets their life back, side effect-free.
Tara Mackey is the founder and CEO of The Organic Life, a conscious healing platform specializing in holistic and sustainable living. She’s also the founder of the beauty company Genetix and the best-selling author of “Cured by Nature.” Tara has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations for her entrepreneurship, including Most Admired CEO, Woman of the Year, Business Woman of the Year, Healthiest Company of the Year, and more. She’s on a conscious quest to move humanity in a more sustainable, healthy, and holistic direction. She resides in San Diego, California, with her two rescued pitbull-mixes, Raelie and Ruca. Find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.