This is a great article from Deanne Bromham, our Vitale Life naturopath. When I decided to focus on writing and research, Deanne stepped into the fold and now treats many patients with skin conditions…with great results. She is patient and encouraging and her treatment are very effective. Below is what Deanne thinks the key issues are with skin problems including acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and skin pigmentation:
On the exterior skin conditions or damaged skin can be red, inflamed, cystic, rough, blotchy, painful, unbearably itchy, scaly and plaque like, lacking vibrancy, damaged, dry and wrinkling. Anyone who has a skin condition will quickly confide that it can destroy one’s self-confidence. After all, skin is the outer layer we present to the world. Skin problems affect the body’s surface physically as well as emotionally but we don’t always realise just how deep they run. This is why it is important to find a long-term solution that treats the cause of the problem and one that really works.
Skin problems are related to a dysfunction occurring deep within the body and this is the level they should be treated; a satisfactory solution means treating from the inside and outside. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked and strong anti-inflammatory creams are prescribed or in the case of acne retail creams and liquids that dry and strip the skin, only offering temporary relief.
It’s a little like looking into a pool of water, what you see on the surface is a true indication of what’s going on underneath. What is happening at the bottom and in the middle area of the water will ruminate to the surface, making it visually known what the general state of the deeper water is like. A client’s skin is an important factor I assess no matter why they have come to see me; it tells me a lot about the person’s overall health.
There are a few major players that affect how our skin looks:
Skin in very much affected by hormones; the finetuning of the stress hormone; cortisol, the blood sugar hormone; insulin and the reproductive hormones – oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone cannot be underestimated in their affect on the skin.
Diet plays a massive part in all problem skin and this can be the simplest way of getting quick improvement.
There is a big connection between skin and digestive health or the health of our intestinal tract. If the bacteria within our intestinal system are out of balance this will affect our skin. It is well understood that the bacteria at the centre of the body, the intestinal tract, set the status of bacteria in the skin. To correct the bacteria in the skin it is necessary to correct the bacterial status inside first and then the skin will reflect this.
The skin along with the lungs, bowel, liver, and kidney are all organs that assist the body in getting rid of waste products. They are well known as the 5 organs of elimination. When the development of a skin condition or even poor unhealthy looking skin has occurred it may be that one or more of the other organs of elimination are being overloaded and/or are under functioning. If the liver and bowel are unable to get rid of toxins the toxins will begin to find another route out of the body and this can be via the skin. A pleasant side effect of a professional gut repair and detoxification program is the noticeable difference in the appearance of the skin. One of the most common things clients say while on a gut repair and detoxification program is that all their friends have notice how good their skin is looking. If you’re going to clean the pool of water you will need to scrape leaves and scum off the top but you will also need to get the filter working continuously to clean out what’s in the middle and at the bottom.
One of the most important things to understand about getting your skin clear and beautiful is that the body is designed to heal itself. It is totally unnecessary for anyone to accept that this is a skin problem they have to learn to live with. The body in its natural rhythm is absolutely able to work so that we look and feel great. Anything other than this is a sign that a particular area of the body is not functioning as well as it should be or it is out of balance. Naturopathic assistance works on our insides to make our bodies, inside and outside, look and feel great. The body responds very well to this, easily lapping it up as it falls back into harmony.
Deanne, an experienced and skilled naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and iridologist says “As a clinician I assess each person’s skin on an individual basis while taking into consideration the rest of their health and the connection between the two. The use of iridology gives greater insight to their health weaknesses and constitution”. A treatment plan is given that shows what each individual’s skin requires. Results are usually seen as early as 2 weeks.
A question from a customer struck home for me this month. It was about red skin, not rosacea rather a red or pink tone to the skin. This is more common in pale skins like myself and I have always tended to a slightly pink nose and red cheeks. Ironically now that my skin tone has evened out, I use blush!
This question from Nadia: I am a 39 year old redhead with freckly skin (from the sun!) and fairly red skin on my chin and cheeks, other than that, my skin is in good condition, with no wrinkles and I am regularly told I look late 20’s. I have had the redness for many years (I have had two try at expensive laser treatment twice, (its not rosacea ), though it hasn’t worked and I was very disappointed.
My skin doesn’t appear to be sensitive at all. I wear a lot of foundation to cover the redness (I don’t have any freckles on my face). I would love to get away from wearing foundation all the time, though it is quite a sensitive topic for me, as it stops me doing many outdoor activities, sports etc, as I am always touching up my make up, as I am so self conscious about my skin.
My response to Nadia was: Thank you for your e-mail. Based on what you have written below I have a couple of suggestions. Firstly it is great that your skin looks so good – it shows you have looked after it.
With regard to redness…the cause may be internal. I have attached a link to an article I wrote recently about Facial Diagnosis which looks at the internal causes of skin issues including red skin. The thing that makes my redness worse is when I drink too much coffee, alcohol or eat sugary, processed foods. These foods are pro-inflammatory and so can cause redness in the skin. For me, minimising these foods helps a great deal.
Topically I find that vitamin C products help reduce redness. They increase the antioxidant network in the skin and improve skin immunity all which seem to dampen down redness. Personally, as one with red cheeks, I have used Devita C Accelerate to great effect with redness. I have also used antioxidants internally (vitamins A, C, E and zinc along with grapeseed) and this markedly decreased the redness in my cheeks. The grapeseed works by strengthening the capillary network reducing reactivity and “blushing”.
In addition, while it may not be obvious, sun exposure can contribute to redness over time so wearing sunscreen on your face is important. Where the damage is permanent and long lasting Devita Sun Damage Repair Gel may help as it promotes repair of damaged skin and helps lighten spots. To cover redness, I recommend and use Mineral Makeup (my savior on many occasions). Minerelle, the brand we stock is a professional range and the cover is excellent. I only need to apply once a day for great long-lasting cover.
Ed note: I did go onto to discuss feelings of self-consciousness with Nadia because on a personal note, I do understand the feeling of being self-conscious about my skin. It took me a long time to feel ok about going without makeup and even now sometimes I look in the mirror and think that my skin looks terrible. However, I finally realised that the more I focused on it, the more of an issue it became and I was making myself miserable. These days I am far more accepting of how I look and it is quite frankly, a relief.
I would love to read your comments, how you feel about your skin and what helps you feel better.Twitter It!
I received this question below about dry rosacea via e-mail the other day and was reminded that skin hydration is so important. Dehydrated skin is more sensitive, more likely to scar and more open to the elements which leads to more skin damage and moisture loss. With any skin condition the first thing I look at doing is increasing skin moisture content and reducing inflammation. While many skin care products multi-task, it is important that these issues are addressed otherwise it takes that much longer to see any improvements.
Q: I am in my 40′s so lines are a problem, but my biggest concern, is my DRY ROSACEA, winter is the worst season for me. Besides that I have an oily T Zone, and my skin is red and blotchy [mostly marks I guess
from past breakouts] a lot of the time, any suggestions?
A: Thanks for your e-mail. From what you have said it seems to me that the acid mantle (protective barrier) of your skin is disrupted which is why your skin is dry, red and blotchy. This also explains why you have an oily T-zone. Skin cells that are deficient in good fats (essential fatty acids) and moisture will react by over producing sebum in some areas and then be overly dry in others. Then the rosacea compounds the issue but also indicates there is inflammation and possibly underlying digestive issues. First things first, a light oil based serum will help with repair the acid mantle and the moisture content of your skin. I recommend the following:
Remedica Clair Visage – will helps to repair the acid mantle, reduce inflammation and redness and increase the skin’s moisture content. It is not congesting or overly rich so won’t make the rosacea or the oily T-zone worse. I recommend use for at least 3 months. Then we can re-evaluate and if necessary go to a slightly richer serum such as Remedica Sensitive Visage.
Minerelle Centella Gel – will help to strengthen the blood vessels and reduce the hyper-reactivity of capillaries. It is a light gel so won’t be enough to counteract the dryness. You couldn’t use this by itself but in combination with the Clair Visage it will be useful.
In your case, with dry rosacea, it is important that you avoid any AHA or salicylic acid type products which are commonly used to manage rosacea.
Internal moisture is essential where skin is dry and inflamed. I have put some dietary suggestions below but please in particular think about the Lemon Detox Drink even if just as a trial for 7 days. It does amazing things for the skin by repairing the essential fatty acid levels of the skin cells and allowing them to hold onto moisture.
From a dietary perspective a high fat, high sugar (processed foods) diet will contribute to inflammation. Avoiding foods high in saturated and trans fats and simple sugars will help to reduce this effect which will also minimise localised skin inflammation. Foods that commonly contain trans or saturated fats include milk, milk products, margarine, shortening and other synthetically hydrogenated oils as well as fried foods. For rosacea specifically it is also advisable to avoid the foods that are likely to directly cause flushing such as alcohol, coffee, hot beverages and spicy foods. Avoiding simple sugars and highly processed foods also helps avoid the over-secretion of insulin, which occurs in response to raised blood sugar levels and is linked with systemic inflammation.
There is some research to suggest that low gastric acid levels in people with rosacea may contribute to the development or progression of the condition. Some rosacea patients have responded well to hydrochloric acid supplementation. Low stomach acid is also more likely to be associated with Helicobactor pylori (H. pylori). Supporting this theory is the finding that levels of H. pylori have been found to be higher in rosacea sufferers. A trip to the naturopath would be a good idea if you can identify any digestive issues such as bloating or irregularity.
Essential fatty acids are important in the treatment and management of rosacea and sensitive skin. They work to reduce skin inflammation as well as improving skin moisture and appearance. Good sources of essential fatty acids include deep sea fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel as well as nuts and seeds. Flax oil and fish oil capsules are suitable alternatives if dietary intake is insufficient (or see Lemon Detox Drink recipe below). Zinc is also important for skin repair and inflammation control. Good dietary sources of zinc include lean beef, whole grains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
Lemon Detox Drink
This drink is fantastic for anyone with sensitive, dry or inflammed skin. The lemon has an astringent effect which means it stimulates the liver to release bile into the digestive tract to be eliminated. The bile contains stored toxins so effectively you are dumping waste from your liver. The lecithin and flax oil prime your digestive system for the day, particularly your fat digestion so again supporting the liver. And of course water is just plain good for you and helps flush out daily waste particularly via your kidneys.
It also has the effect of super-saturating your body with essential fatty acids. So in addition to the excellent detox effect, flax seed oil supports the moisture holding capacity of your skin cells and has a anti-inflammatory effect thereby supporting your skin’s health. Feedback from client is that skin is generally less red and much more even toned since being on the Lemon Detox Drink.
The recipe is as follows:
1/2 lemon (wash the outside)
1 tablespoon of soy lecithin (German is better than US variety)
1 tablespoon of flax oil (organic)
300mls of filtered water
Method: finely grate the rind of the lemon into the blender then squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the lecithin, flax oil and water. Blend for 1 minute until frothy. Pour and drink.Twitter It!
Baaaahhh! This winter has been a shocker for me with regard to red skin. While mostly OK during the day, at night in heated rooms (it doesn’t help that I practically sit on the heater) my skin flares up and goes bright red across the cheeks and nose. When I say bright red, I am talking Rudolf here, it almost glows in the dark! Not an issue at all during summer, my tendency to Rosacea has come back with a vengeance. There are a few triggers I have worked out make the flare ups worse:
Even though it is annoying, I am not surprised by this recent flare up. I haven’t been looking after myself. Correction – I always look after my skin by using excellent quality organic skincare, so that’s not what I mean. Specifically I haven’t been looking after my internal and mental wellbeing. There are things I know clear up my flushing and it is about time I gave myself a little TLC. So here is a list of things that I haven’t been doing but that I am going to do from now on:
Start yoga classes again. I have poor circulation generally and so while my face is burning my hands are freezing. I think it helps to improve circulation generally. For me yoga and walking help. I haven’t been going to yoga and as well as having cold hands, I have been quite stressed. One session of yoga a week was enough to keep me calm (well more calm anyway!).
That’s my plan. Well actually I started on Monday and so far this week, no bad flushing incidents so I think I am onto a good thing! If you are prone to flushed or rosacea flare ups, tell us what works for you. I know I would love to know and I am sure others will benefit from the tips as well!Twitter It!
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