Skin problems: the inside story.
Skin problems like eczema, acne and psoriasis can be devious because they are connected to so many causes. Skin can be used as a diagnostic tool that leads to the inner turmoil that may have caused the reaction on the surface. This is why topical remedies cannot always cure persistent skin conditions without supportive treatment.
When it comes to eczema it is generally agreed that an immune reaction causes the redness, rash, swelling, itching, flaking, blistering or oozing of the skin. The skin may be reacting to something that the person touches, applies to the skin, eats, breathes or is exposed to.
There are two ways to handle skin problems. One is to treat the skin; the other is to treat the whole person. Cortisone cream may help to control skin lesions for a while, but they usually return after the cream is discontinued. We need to calm down the skin as well as solve the problem that caused the outbreak.
The most common offenders fall into these categories:
Food allergies or intolerance:
Common food allergens like wheat, gluten and dairy products need to be investigated because they can cause immune reactions. The person may not be allergic but will demonstrate a delayed reaction to certain foods. In the case of wheat intolerance it may first show up as bed wetting, irritability, anaemia or gall bladder problems that seem unrelated. Then suddenly after an illness or a lot of stress the skin plays up.
Bad diet. Wrong diet:
Adequate nourishment is essential, especially for growing children. The diet should be low in refined carbohydrates and rich in natural foods that supply adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fresh enzymes. Even so, people react to certain foods regardless of how nutritious they may be. Blood type intolerance is poorly understood but inflammatory symptoms can display the way they upset digestion and immunity. Bad digestion is a major cause of skin problems like eczema so a visit to a nutritionist or naturopath would be helpful in many ways.
Micronutrient deficiencies and microbial infections:
Multivitamins and minerals are always important. For the skin, the miracle supplement is cod liver oil. To the degree one lacks Omega 3 oil and has an excess of Omega 6 and saturated fats, one is vulnerable to inflammation. To calm down the immune system further try taking higher doses of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5.) Vitamin B complex needs to be boosted when you are under stress or suffering from mould infections like candidiasis that consume these nutrients.
External allergens and toxins:
Air borne allergens also cause upsets and if the body is malnourished then the skin flare-ups get worse. Pollen, cat hair, house mould, house dust and chemical toxins are pet hates. People who sneeze and wheeze are usually more prone to itches, bumps and rashes due to over stimulated immune systems that pump out excessive antigens. Homeopathy is a good way to settle down the immune system by taking remedies based on your trigger substances at prescribed potencies.
Systemic acidity and dehydration:
Histamine is often a reaction to something that touches or bites the skin. Up comes the rash. It may develop into eczema. Histamine activity is linked to dehydration, acidity and water imbalances. So you sneeze, cough, get a runny nose and have watery eyes. To compensate: drink some water and take some vitamin C. Alternatively, take a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water. Good natural antihistamines are Cantharis or Berberis tincture from the health shop. A few drops can also be dotted onto wet cotton wool to calm down a violent rash.
What you touch or wear:
Clothing washed in harsh laundry soaps causes sensitive people get an angry rash. Some people react to washing dishes or even to bath soap that is too alkaline. Other people have problems wearing jewellery or tight synthetic clothing. These problems are obvious enough and easy to avoid. Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the final rinsing water to remove residues of laundry detergent and avoid fabric softeners.
Emotional problems, anxiety and stress:
The best remedies to deal with emotional issues that tie in with skin problems are Bach Flower Remedies. These innocent yet potent little brown bottles of drops work at a vibrational level for all manner of feelings that affect our health in many ways. They can be taken or applied to lesions when diluted or mixed into a body lotion.
Bach flower remedies for emotion-based skin problems
Rescue Remedy is the best known and will work for acute conditions.
Crab Apple helps to detoxify the system, especially if there is pus present.
Holly can be used if the skin is red and angry and the person is irritable.
Impatiens or agrimony is good for itchy conditions and a nervous, anxious constitution.
Larch helps for those who feel self-conscious of their skin condition.
Walnut or beech: are used if you are sensitive or allergic to substances.
Willow can be used if there is underlying bitterness or seething resentment.
Water violet is for the loners who shun company especially because of a skin problem.
Chestnut bud helps if the problem is chronic or recurring. (Also give supportive treatment.)
Gentian uplifts people who feel discouraged about the problem.
Tissue salts that work well for skin problems
When it comes to skin related problems then tissue salts work miracles. The driving principle of this type of supplementation is to address the mineral deficiencies that manifest as health problems. You suck the pills under the tongue and can also dissolve a few pills in a little water to swab onto the skin or mix into soothing lotions.
FERRUM PHOS: where there is redness, burning, pain and inflammation. Good for acute cases or flare ups. The patient may also be anaemic.
KALI MUR: eczema, shingles. Alternate with FERRUM PHOS when inflammation is present. A white coated tongue is a good indicator. It is also good for granular lumps or bumps under the skin.
KALI SULPH: is good for eruptions that have discharges are yellow or watery with peeling of the skin.
NAT MUR: eczema related to water imbalances such as excessive dryness or weepiness. The patient may have headaches, be bloated or constipated.
CALC PHOS: eczema and skin irritations with pimples on the face. Anaemia may be present.
CALC FLUOUR: where skin is cracked, chapped or hard and horny. It builds collagen tissue.
If in doubt ask a Homeopath
Some practitioners like Homeopaths, for instance, will tell parents that the child’s other problems such as bed wetting, asthma, post nasal drip, hyperactivity and irritability need to be considered simultaneously. Your homeopath will be able to prescribe individual remedies to suit an exact symptom picture. Especially with a child who has not recovered after vaccinations.
Some forms of persistent dermatitis miraculously heal when the right homeopathic or energy remedy is used. But there are thousands to choose from and you need to use the correct potency. A helpful remedy for all forms of acne and boils is made out of tin. It is called “stannum.” Some health shops and pharmacies provide combination treatments specially for skin problems that work in synergy. Merc Sol, Graphites and Kali Bich are good for incurable itching, weeping and metal sensitivity. They are reasonably priced and have little or no side effects.
Herbal healers and gentle soothing products
Calendula is the greatest skin doctor of all! There are many herbal products available that contain calendula, aloe, centella and other naturally soothing herbs like lavender. Your health shop will be happy to show you around. Do not use harshly alkaline soaps. The pH of the skin is slightly acidic. Honey can be used to wash troubled skin areas. Body scrubbers made from oatmeal and herbs, tied in a muslin cloth are soothing. The creamy mixture that is squeezed from the ball can be applied as a face pack.
Watch out for cosmetic acne
Beware of products that contain “comedogenic” ingredients that cause pimples. Some ladies suffer from a condition known as cosmetic acne: skin with tiny bumps, filled with fluid or pus. Pimples and rashes can be caused by ingredients like coco or cocoa butter, soy oil, Oleth-3, Laureth-4 and some forms of caetylated lanolin; isopropyl mystrate and isopropyl iosterate. Mineral oil, glycerin, safflower oil and sunflower oil do not cause such problems.
The Chinese believe that to the degree that your liver is healthy, your skin and eyes are healthy. This is a great time to top up with probiotics to deal with microbial infections like candidiasis. Drink home made juice made from fresh fruit, herbs and green leaves. Healthy within and healthy without!
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Martindale Extrapharmacopoeia. 1982. The Pharmaceutical Press.
The Townsend letter for doctors and patients. Issues 2001 – 2004.