I’ve been asked a lot lately about several skin conditions like acne and eczema and if I have any products that will help. Although we have a few products coming down the pipeline, I think it is prudent to explain what you can do from a holistic stand point TODAY. It doesn’t much matter what you slap on top of your skin to fix a problem (which is really just a symptom of something deeper oftentimes) without fixing the real underlying problem – the inside! The old adage “you are what you eat” is SO true! Many skin ailments begin on the inside. Remember last week we talked about how the skin is actually the largest organ in the body? and how it absorbs and excretes things? Well let’s dig deeper.
Recent research has shown that ailments like asthma, allergies and eczema (all three ride on the same gene) and even psoriasis can be improved with taking probiotics. Why is that you ask? Many chronic illnesses with immune system or inflammatory issues actually begin in the gut just like Hippocrates said!
So we talked briefly before about gluten and leaky gut. So here we are again. Allergic or inflammatory responses like eczema and psoriasis can find their root in your gut. If you have the typical Western or American diet, then likely all of the (genetically modified) additives have poked microscopic holes in the lining of your gut and caused an imbalance in the bacteria that line your intestines. Recolonizing your gut with the good bacteria it needs from fermented foods and high quality probiotics can help. Taking colostrum can also help plug those holes in your leaky gut as well. When you have a leaky, improperly functioning gut, partially or improperly digested food particles can slip straight into your bloodstream through the gaps that are created in between your intestinal cells by this unhealthy environment.
These molecules are recognized by your immune system as foreign invaders and attacks them. The problem is that your now overactive immune system also attacks your own healthy tissue by mistake – including your skin. In addition, as we mentioned earlier your skin excretes and absorbs things. When your liver (which typically helps filter and clean your blood of undesirables along with your kidneys) becomes overloaded, the skin takes the hit as things spill over into the blood stream in uncontrollable amounts. The consequences can be eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives among other things. One thing that you can do to help is adding Epsom Salt to your bath water. The magnesium sulphate is absorbed directly through your skin and gives your liver the cofactor it needs to help with the excretion of toxins via a sulfation process. It will also help calm the itching. If you can’t stop to take a bath try soaking a clean cloth in warm (not hot) water with Epsom salt dissolved in it and apply it to the rash. Don’t apply to broken skin that has been scratched raw as the salt may cause a stinging sensation. Be sure not to bathe in hot, hot water as heat causes histamine to be released from your immune cells and will aggravate itching. Hence, the use of anti-histamines to treat allergies (anti means “against” or “opposite of” so an anti-histamine medication works “against” the release of histamine to reduce or prevent itching).
One other thing to consider is not using harsh soaps. In fact, try to refrain from lathering your whole body and taking prolonged showers or baths as that disrupts the protective lining and probiotics that naturally coat your skin. I’ll tell you like I tell my kids “Get in, get the good parts, and get out!” Of course, they don’t always listen as they LOVE to play in the tub but I try. That’s part of the reason that I created my own Body Wash without the harsh Sodium Laurel Sulfates and the like so as to minimize the damage to our skin. I also load their bathwater up with Epsom salt to boot. Infants (especially newborns) and very young children don’t need baths everyday by the way. They don’t have developed sweat glands like adults that cause odor yet. (Put a pin in that topic for another day). So unless they’ve had an extensive day of outdoor play in the hot sun, it’s okay to skip a day especially in the cooler months when eczema symptoms can be more intense. Now if they smell like the “great outdoors” after a day of play, of course, give them a bath. But if not, don’t stress about it.
Be Mindful – Herxheimer Reaction
Be aware but don’t panic! Sometimes as you begin a new regimen, your skin symptoms may sometimes appear to worsen briefly before they get better. This is a phenomenon known as the Herxheimer or die-off reaction. As the new, good bacteria starts to squeeze out the old, the old bugs will die and release some toxins which have to go somewhere. If your liver is overloaded, the toxins will exit through your skin. This may appear as an increase in your original symptoms or new rashes. You may also feel a general sense of ‘blah’ and maybe even joint or generalized aches and pains. Have no fear – this, too, shall pass. If you can push through the discomfort (consider slowing down on your new regimen for a few days if it becomes too much) and drink plenty of clean water, then life will be better on the other side! Applying coconut oil to those areas of your skin rash flare -ups can help. If you mix in a little lavendar or Teatree oil with the coconut oil that may help even more. Coconut oil is antiseptic and anti-bacterial and also helps kill yeast which is one of the main culprits in eczema.
Cleaning up your diet (and personal care products) and removing processed foods by sticking to organic vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats (in that order) is a great first step. Daily probiotic use, drinking clean water, and even juicing can take you to the next level of health. We will go into more detail about juicing in the future – it’s more than just a fad. Awesome things can happen when you add it to your healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait to chat about it later!
Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time…..
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