Skin problems could mean anything from diagnosed conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis to problems where no-one is certain what’s going on, as in urticaria, rashes, strange wheals, itching and flaking on various parts of the body.
I always feel like I have to be a bit of a detective with skin conditions, as the cause is not often obvious! Some can be an allergy to a food or non-food like washing-up liquid or even loo paper! Often removing some of the main allergenic foods for a while will solve the problem. Gluten, wheat and dairy are the main suspects.
For non-foods, you can have skin prick tests to help you identify what you are reacting to. However, it’s useful to try and discover why you are reacting to what should normally be a harmless substance. This is generally an immune system problem, an overloaded liver or a leaky gut, or even a leaky skin barrier.
In naturopathic medicine, we see skin as one of the major routes used by the body to eliminate toxins. Skin conditions commonly occur as a problem of body toxicity, most especially as the result of bowel toxicity, especially if the problem is fungal. So, generally it’s a good idea to start treatment with a detoxification programme like the Gut Plan (doesn’t matter if you have gut problems outwardly or not, this is a great detox and food sensitivity plan for you to follow).
It is vitally important, from a naturopathic viewpoint, that skin conditions should not be suppressed with steroid creams and the like unless you really need to; rather that the pressure of elimination is removed from the skin by making sure the bowel and liver are not overloaded.
If it’s not bowel toxicity, sometimes the skin has simply become too alkaline rather than acidic as it should be. This happens when the skin is not receiving the nutrients it needs to function properly. The treatment then is to ensure the correct nutrients. Often, people suffering with skin problems are not producing enough stomach acid. See the factsheet on this here, and this is part of the Gut Plan too.
Treatment very much depends on your case and particular circumstances. However, generally you should start with the detox to give your gut and liver and good clear-out and sort any acid problems. Then, use a ‘healthy skin’ diet, rich in the foods that feed the skin properly and avoiding those foods that will block the skin’s healing process. Then, add in nutrient and herbal/homeopathic support designed to address your issues.
To start you off, you might want to read this article I wrote as a contributor to SkinsMatter.com. I was one of their judges for the Freefrom Skincare Awards (too busy now). Their job is to find the most effective, best value products free from both allergens and toxins.