This week we want to dive deeper into some specific skin problems that are commonly faced by children and adults alike. When I was young, there were not half as many skin issues amongst people around me. The friend or sibling with severe eczema is a rarity. Nowadays, 1 in 4 persons in the UK has eczema, and that is a scary statistic.
There are many reasons for this development to occur, and we will try to briefly mention them. The intention of this article is to focus on how to help improve these conditions, rather than the scientific facts behind the causes.
Acne: acne is largely the result of inflammation and infection of the sebaceous glands, stimulated by hormones (especially androgens). It is a common feature with teenage skin, but increasingly, we are also seeing adults with severe hormonal acne.
To improve on the condition, avoid processed foods and sugar, and cut back on saturated and hydronated fat. Eat more fruits and vegetables for more vitamins and antioxidants. The face (or affected area) should also be kept clean with diligent washing and hydration, and use gentle products that are not going to irritate the skin further. I see a lot of products targeted at teenage acne which contains a lot of AHA, retinol etc, but these ingredients are very abrasive and will cause more damage than good. Also, do not touch face as fingers contain a lot of bacteria which can cause infection easily.
Psoriasis: psoriasis is a skin condition that speeds up the life cycle of cells, causing them to build up on the skin, usually in the form of red patches or scales, and can be itchy or even painful. Psoriasis usually occurs when the body is run down, or from other causes like sunburn, alcohol, smoking, obesity and stress.
A diet rich in EPA (elcosapentaenoic acid) from fish oil, or cold pressed nut and seed oils can be beneficial. Other inflammatory foods like turmeric, red peppers, ginger, cumin, fennel, rosemary and garlic should also be incorporated into your diet.
Eczema: eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition (especially with children) that makes skin itchy and red. It is a chronic condition that tends to reoccur periodically. The exact causes of eczema are not known, but often it relates to an over-reactive immune system, leading to inflammation, which in turn makes the skin red, itchy and scaly.
There are many known factors that can cause eczema, some of which include dry skin, irritants, stress, climate, sweating, infection and allergens. Food sensitivity is also a common cause of eczema, especially items like milk, eggs, fish, cheese, nuts and food additives. The ability to remove some or all of these potential causes may help improve the condition.
You may by now be able to spot some common causes of these skin problems: stress, diet and inflammation. Most Western medicine practitioners tend to address the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. Yes, steroid cream will stop that itch very quickly, but it thins your skin and causes resistance over time (plus other harms that steroids have), and the eczema will still flare up next time. We at GLOHS believe that we have to treat the cause in order to permanently address and cure these problems. Besides a more sustainable topical product to soothe the skin, the above causes should also be properly addressed.