I recently bumped into a friend who was flipping through a magazine in a bookshop. I noticed red lesions and silvery-white scaling covering the back of her hands.
She told me that she had suffered from psoriasis for nearly a month. It started when she took up a new project at work that caused her a lot of stress through having to satisfy the demands of her boss and beat deadlines.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory and non-infectious disease of the skin that can be exacerbated by stress and negative emotions such as anxiety. Office workers are often victims of the condition because of the stressful lives they lead.
There are small things you can do to try to maintain a work-life balance, such as by napping for 10 minutes during your lunch break.
In Chinese medicine, blood stagnation - which occurs when the flow of blood is blocked or becomes static - is one of the factors that cause psoriasis. Eating turmeric facilitates blood circulation and helps soothe the condition.
Try making fish with turmeric this way:
Ingredients: One fish cutlet, 15g turmeric powder, half a tablespoon of salt, three slices of ginger.
Preparation: Use a clean towel to dry the cutlet. Mix turmeric powder with salt and rub the mixture all over the piece of fish. Put the ginger slices on the fish and steam it for eight minutes.
You can also apply camellia oil to the lesions twice a day if you have dry skin to prevent water loss and restore the normal metabolism of the skin. If you have oily skin, apply aloe gel three times a day on the lesions.
Another skin disease that is commonly found among office workers in Hong Kong is vitiligo, a condition that causes depigmentation of the skin. There may be a positive family history of the disorder, which can also be associated with autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, thyroid and adrenal disorders. Stress can result in the spread of the affected areas.
Lily bulbs and eggs produce a good calming effect and can help restore pigmentation of the skin. Black pepper also stimulates pigmentation.
You can make egg omelettes with fresh lily bulbs using this recipe:
Ingredients: Two eggs, one fresh lily bulb, half a tablespoon of thickened cream, half a teaspoon of sea salt, 100g cheese.
Preparation: Gently beat the eggs, thickened cream and cheese together. Cut the lily bulb into small pieces and add them to the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a frying pan, cover and cook on full power until set. This will take about five minutes. Add some black pepper to the omelette to taste.
You can also rub the infected areas with ginger for 15 minutes every day. Ginger increases blood circulation, which in turn stimulates pigmentation of the skin.
Jenny Yeung Ming-ha is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner and deputy managing director of Jane Clare Professional Skin Centre