If you’ve suffered with a chronic skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, or intermittent skin issues like rashes that come and go, you know that this can be a frustrating area to resolve. Typically, skin concerns are dealt with via topical or oral medications that aim to decrease inflammation or modulate the immune system. At IHM, we have a different approach to skin concerns.
Manifestations on the skin’s surface are often a sign of a deeper imbalance that needs evaluation. Our approach includes investigation into several key areas of your health that may be contributing:
1. Skin barrier integrity
Are the necessary factors present for optimal skin health? Vitamins like A and C, selenium, zinc, l-histidine, and essential fatty acids are important for a healthy skin barrier. Externally, aloe, coconut oil, and essential oil preparations can affect skin pH and optimize barrier protection. Over-washing and any concomitant infections need to be addressed.
2. Gut health
Is there an infection or imbalance in gut flora contributing to the manifestation of skin issues? Is the diet diverse and microbiome healthy? Severe eczema has been associated with lowered butyrate production in the gut. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid produced during gut flora-mediated fermentation of dietary fibers. You need healthy flora to have healthy skin!
3. Liver health
As our major organ of detoxification, the liver is hard at work day in and day out to metabolize and eliminate toxins from our environment, foods, water, medications, hormones, and metabolic breakdown products. A taxed or sluggish liver that has a lot of detoxification demands may show its struggle by triggering skin issues.
4. Food sensitivities
The immune system can become triggered to different foods over time. Even if you have never had food reactions before, food sensitivities can present at any stage of life and manifest as skin concerns. Food triggers can go hand in hand with gut health analysis to ensure that the gut barrier is strong, and food proteins are not passing through a “leaky barrier” causing immune reactions in the skin.
5. Emotional trauma
The skin can play out emotions and trauma as a manifestation of psychologic stress. If you’ve noticed skin changes developed around the time of a stressful event or that skin challenges worsen in times of emotional upheaval, this is an area to consider.
Don’t let your skin be a mystery any longer! Come for a functional medicine evaluation and get to the bottom of it with investigation and natural approaches.