It's estimated 1 in every 3 Australians suffers from debilitating skin conditions.
And it's not just the physical scars sufferers like young Adelaide schoolgirl Monika Roberts have to contend with, it's also the pain and discomfort.
“I don't really like going to school because some people stare at me and that,” says Monika.
Adelaide dad Brian Harrington has endured the pain and embarrassment of psoriasis for 40 years.
“It got really bad. It covered my whole body from my ankles right up to my neck. I just didn't go to the beach it was bad enough just rolling up, taking my jumper off and rolling up my shirt sleeves and I didn't wear shorts for that same reason. It's horrible and you just don't know what to do,” says Brian.
And with such a common ailment comes scores of creams and 'so-called' cures. So how do we know what really works and what's just another snake oil?
“I went to various doctors who referred me to dermatologists, and also I've been to clinics and unfortunately they wanted to prescribe very strong drugs and also ultra violet treatment which I wasn't prepared to take,” says Brian.
A couple of years ago Brian discovered Naturopath Christian Burkhardt who makes his own herbal remedy.
“When I (saw) Christian he was quite taken back by the amount of psoriasis rash that I had all over my body so he then made up a formula.
The Parkside practitioner's formula is called ‘Spirit of earth’ and Brian says where conventional medicine failed he was now starting to see great results.
“About 4 or 5 weeks it started to show improvement. The skin cells were starting to recover and eventually it went away. It's just unbelievable,” says Brian.
Christian says while his creams appear to heal a range of skin conditions, often the root of the problem is buried deep beneath the surface.
“I don't just focus on the physical well being, I also focus on the emotional well being of people and when you think about it, every emotion has a physical reaction, explains Christian.
“So the skin is showing on the outside a symptom of what is wrong on the inside?”
“That's how I would put it in words yes, so it is just a little wake up call.”
Another South Australian Katherine Griss appears to be winning the fight against psoriasis.
Katherine's range of KuuSh skin creams and serums has received rave reviews locally and internationally.
“It’s taking off really well and we have the dermabiotic and doctors’ range as well so it’s recognised by doctors too,” says Katherine.
She says the products are certified organic with no emulsifiers or nasty chemicals or preservatives which Katherine stresses actually causes more damage to the skin in the long run.
“It doesn't contain water. Every ingredient is certified organic and the whole product is active not just a few specific ingredients so its 100% active,” says Katherine.
Murray Bridge nurse Tania Matthew has started using ‘Skin Plus’ on an array of patients from the young to the elderly.
“The resident that we trialled the product on, he'd had a severe case of psoriasis where at times he had a green discharge come from his skin and within 4 weeks of using the product, the skin condition has cleared completely,” says Tania.
With chronic conditions like eczema and psoriasis on the rise, what dietary and lifestyle changes can we make to combat them?
Well our experts say cut down on red meat like beef and pork and red vegetables and acidic foods like tomatoes and chillies.
Replace liquid soap with an organic product designed to protect the skin's natural oils.
Avoid hot, dry conditions like a heater on in a child's bedroom all night.
“When you have eczema you have more body heat inside, more heat means the fluid in the cells evaporates quicker and it dries the cell out,” explains Christian.
Conversely, eat more green vegetables, drink plenty of water and when bathing add a scoop of bicarbonate of soda to help soften the skin.
Prices for both Katherine and Christian's creams range from $50 to $100 dollars however Brian Harrington says the benefits outweigh the costs.
“So much happier than trying to hide somewhere and keep out of everybody's way and keep out of the sun,” says Brian.
And in the coming weeks the team at KuuSh are extending an invitation to 12 Today Tonight viewers with severe skin problems to undergo a free trial of their product.
“We'd like to call for volunteers to come forward and submit their photos or have them go round and take photos then we can put them on a course of the treatment and then revisit within a 4 week period and follow up,” says Katherine.
For more details go to: www.kuush.com/
To apply for the trial contact them on phone number: 8557 6999
or send photo's to Postal Address: PO Box 601, Willunga, 5172, South Australia