Power Gems

A review of the psoriasis information on the Power Gems Web sites.

Grade D

Sprinkled all over the Web are numerous sites offering “Power Gems,” or “High-Powered Shortcuts.” Often these are parts of “Masters and Millionaires” promotions of free Web space, which almost invariably involve lots of pop-up and pop-under advertisements. When encountering these pages, I’ve counted as many as seven new windows coming into existence, thoroughly cluttering my monitor.

But I digress. One of these “shortcuts” is billed as “Fast-acting shortcuts to eliminating psoriasis and other similar skin conditions---- from MrShortcut.” Who “MrShortcut” is, or if he (or she) actually had psoriasis is unknown, and the page isn’t saying. The only “credentials” that are given is a small story about being diagnosed with psoriasis at 17, and being “delayed” from entering the Air Force because of it, until a dermatologist prescribed a steroid (which presumably got rid of the symptoms enough for the Air Force doctors’ liking).

The entirety of this “cure” (yes, MrShortcut uses the word cure, despite admitting that the disease has recurred several times) consists of moisturizing while the skin is wet and sunlight, with an ice-cube application for “emergency” treatment.

It should be obvious that it is ridiculously naïve of MrShortcut to think that this will “cure” anyone besides himself, especially when there are lots of other psoriatics around who both moisturize well and sunbathe, but who are still fighting the disease. And MrShortcut’s lack of knowledge is further illustrated by statements like the following:

…Psoriasis itself is a form of neurodermatitus [sic]…

…Psoriasis also falls into the category of cancer, which is a term used to describe what happens when your body decides to produce healthy cells at too high a rate…

…As always, stress management is the single most influential factor in the disease’s appearance. Looking at the two component parts of the word ‘disease’ should explain it clearly enough…

…It is a perfect, undeniable fact that the rays of the sun are healthy, curative, energizing, loaded with important vitamins such as E and K…

…No matter what your doctor tells you, steroids are bad news, and produce long-term damage. Not a full minute will be wasted justifying that statement, as it is irrefutably true…

Rather than being “irrefutably true,” MrShortcut implies (in the “Credentials” section), that a steroid fixed his problems enough for the Air Force. It is much more likely that MrShortcut simply cannot defend that blanket condemnation of steroids, and so he doesn’t even try to do so.

Overall, it is clear that MrShortcut has a very poor knowledge of human disease and medicine in general. Cancerous cells are not healthy, the roots of the word “disease” are not indicative of a stress origin of psoriasis (and stress isn’t a universal trigger for the symptoms, anyway), and since psoriasis isn’t an allergic reaction, it isn’t a neurodermatitis. I’d also like to know just how — precisely — photons of sunlight are “loaded” with any vitamins whatsoever. Not only is medical knowledge is short supply here, but so is knowledge of simple physics.

MrShortcut claims that you only need to “invest” 100 seconds per day to follow the described routine, but anyone with wide-spread psoriasis is going to need much more than 100 seconds just to rub in the moisturizer as much as described. MrShortcut’s “conditional guarantee” on this free information is worthless no matter what, so don’t bother complaining if it takes you 101 seconds or more per day to dampen and moisturize at least twice.

It’s all moot, anyway: the 100 seconds per day promise is shown to be complete nonsense by the apparent need to get five minutes (300 seconds) of sunlight daily, as MrShortcut does. If this isn’t the recommendation, of course, then it’s either silly or hypocritical of him to claim that the method will work.

And the section on sunlight, especially the “note about sunblock,” is simply confusing. MrShortcut claims, for example, that sunblock is only needed for those with very pale skin, and only initially, but then goes on to say that he has been using one particular brand for years when “grabbing five daily minutes of sunshine.” This clearly contradicts the advice just given.

As mentioned above, ice is recommended for “emergency treatment.” It is “emergency treatment” for what MrShortcut calls “skin attacks,” or “when the burning and itching are driving you to scratch and scratch…” Ice as itch-relief is fine (the only decent point the entire “Power Gem” has to share), and recommended by lots of people, especially if the alternative is scratching, which can lead to Koebnerization.

One might go so far as to say that ice is the “conventional wisdom” we are told in the next paragraph to reject (though a rational application of moisturizers and UV are also part of the mainstream treatment of psoriasis). But that’s just par for the course in an article which appears to focus on the world as the author understands it, as opposed to the world as it really is. The author doesn’t even understand that Vaseline, sunblock, and ice are all chemicals.

I’ve only stuck a toe into the depths of this MrShortcut article, and could go on for pages detailing the misinformation to be found within (such as that the purity of moisturizers or petroleum jellies can be deduced from how much burning or pain they produce on contact, for just one more example), but will spare you, the reader, from any more of it. Feel free, instead, to use this “Power Gem” as an educational tool for spotting nonsensical medical claims. Putting a few choice terms into a search engine can quickly bring up real data to refute almost everything written by MrShortcut.