A Naturopathic Approach to Skin Care
Stubborn skin conditions like acne, eczema, recurring rashes and rosacea are some of the most difficult conditions to treat. Many prescription topical and oral medications will initially clear up the skin only to have the problem recur. In Naturopathic medicine we see chronic skin conditions as a sign that there may be a deeper imbalance in the body. If you are frustrated with a recurring skin problem then it may be time to consider treating some of the common underlying causes
1. Inflammatory skin reactions are often linked to poor digestive function.
Poor digestion can have a big impact on the health of our skin and complexion. Gut inflammation disrupts the breakdown of food and blocks absorption of vital vitamins and minerals. Nutrient deficiencies slow tissue repair and healing, especially in the skin, the largest organ of the body. A good Naturopathic skin care regime includes proper digestive support with high quality enzymes and probiotics.
2. Food sensitivities can cause a variety of chronic skin problems.
Approximately 80% of our body’s immune system lines our digestive tract. This helps protect us from various foreign invaders in the form of abnormal bacteria, yeast and viruses. Sometimes the immune system can become overzealous in its defense by mistakenly reacting to the foods we are eating. This immune reaction can trigger an inflammatory response in the body which sometimes appears on our skin in the form of an unwanted breakout or rash like eczema. Fortunately, there is a blood test that can help identify the foods that are triggering these immune reactions. This blood test is known as a food sensitivity and allergy panel (IgG & IgE food antibody testing). Eliminating the identified reactive foods from the diet for a time can decrease inflammation caused by an over reactive immune system and give the skin time to heal.
3. Acne breakouts and rashes can indicate a need to support the body’s detoxification pathways.
Our bodies are designed to remove toxins and metabolic waste through several different routes of elimination. The liver, bowels, kidneys, lungs and skin are the organs that help the body dispose of this waste. Just like rush hour traffic, if one route is blocked the other routes can become congested handling the extra work load. Acne breakouts and rashes can be a sign that the skin has become a dumping ground for toxins that are unable to be eliminated via the other organs. Naturopathic medicine encourages regular detoxification protocols to support all the pathways important for healthy elimination and ultimately healthy skin.
4. A chronic skin condition may indicate a nutrient deficiency
Many skin conditions are treated effectively with the supplementation of healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins like A, E, D and K2. Every cell in the body are surrounded by a membrane composed of fat. A diet rich in healthy fats found in foods like fish, avocado, nuts, coconut, flax and olives provides the raw materials to grow healthy vital cells, including skin cells. Additional supplementation with healthy fats like fish oil and GLA can be particularly helpful for those with chronic skin conditions.
5. Recurring skin problems can be a sign of a hormone imbalance
We often see skin changes during times of hormonal fluctuation. Skin conditions such as cystic acne and rosacea often flare during puberty and perimenopause, times in life when hormonal changes are the greatest. Dry scaling skin and puffiness around the eyes can be a sign of a thyroid imbalance while dark pigmentation can indicate high stress hormones. Thinning, sagging skin and fine lines and wrinkles can be signs that estrogen levels are dropping. At Naturomedica, our physicians use comprehensive hormone testing to evaluate imbalances and treat with both natural remedies and bio-identical hormone therapy to help re-establish healthy hormone levels.
In addition to treating the underlying cause of chronic skin conditions as outlined above, we find that combining topical treatments, including prescription medications and medical esthetic therapies, can be helpful for treating stubborn skin conditions. A Naturopathic skin care protocol treats the body from the inside out and can promote a healthy glow. This is what we do best…treating the underlying cause of disease by blending natural and conventional therapies.