Written by Dr. Currey
One of the most common reasons people seek care from a doctor is for skin rashes. Eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, impetigo, contact dermatitis… the list goes on and on. Each condition has it’s unique pattern, method of diagnosis, and treatment, but there are some similarities and things that can be done to improve skin health overall. Always remember, with a new rash, or one that is worsening despite treatments that usually work, you should seek out the care of a trained medical professional such as a naturopathic doctor.
What can you do to promote good skin health?
- Limit your exposure to toxic or irritating substances. Many personal care products include fragrances and chemicals that can be irritating to the skin or even harmful for hormone balance. To see how your products stack up, visit the EWG website or download their Skin Deep app.
- Stay hydrated. Are you tired of skin that looks more worn and weathered? How is your hydration? One way to test for dehydration is the tenting test. Simply pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Does it bounce back immediately or does the skin stay standing up for a bit? If it stands up, this is called tenting and is a sign of dehydration. A good experiment would be to take a picture of yourself when dehydrated and then again after 2 weeks of diligent water intake to compare. This is also a great treatment for acne and headaches.
- Moisturize with high quality products. This does not mean expensive – some of those more expensive products contain a long list of hard to pronounce ingredients. What it does mean is not putting things on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. Avocado honey masks, using cooking oil in an exfoliating skin scrub, or making your own lotion are all great options.
- Tend to your bugs. Our body is covered inside and out by different microorganisms such as bacterial and yeast. One way you can make sure your guests are a more helpful group is to improve your gut health through use of probiotics and eating fermented foods. Also, eating a more balanced diet full of plant fiber promotes the growth of less inflammatory and problematic microbes.
- If you are prone to fungal infections, check in with your doctor about your blood sugar. High sugar promotes the growth of yeast and other fungi as well as many other skin issues.
- Eat your veggies. Always. Everyday. For everything. Just eat them. 5-7 servings every day. A serving looks like 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw for leafy things and 1/4 cup cooked to 1/2 cup raw for more dense vegetables like beets.
These basics will help with your overall skin health. Please remember, skin lesions that will not heal should be looked at by a doctor. What someone might think is just dry skin or eczema could be something else entirely. Why risk your health or live with a constant annoyance?