Antibiotics and steroid medications are frequently prescribed for skin conditions such as eczema, acne and perioral dermatitis. Whilst medication can be effective for some people, on the flip side it may just mask the symptoms and not address the underlying causes. The result can be a long-term reliance on antibiotics and steroid medications to mask the problem whilst never addressing the root cause. Even worse, some people suffer from side effects such as topical steroid addiction/withdrawal which is caused by the overuse of steroids.
It is important to understand the causes of your skin condition and make the necessary changes needed for long-term optimal skin health. There are no overnight fixes when it comes to great skin health!
Factors that can Contribute to Skin Conditions
Many of us will experience several skin issues in our lifetime, which include eczema, perioral dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and rosacea. It is estimated that up to 85% of Australians will develop acne in their lifetime and 10% of adults currently suffer from eczema. In treating these conditions, the challenge is to first identify what the causes are.
It is important to understand that there are many factors that can influence your skin health; the environment, lifestyle, stress levels, sun exposure, diet and hormones all play a role. We take a look at a few of them here:
- Gut health
Our gut is in continuous conversation with our skin via the microbiome and it is suspected that this connection, named the gut-skin axis has a critical role to play in our skin health. It is believed that when there is an imbalance in gut bacteria (when bad bacteria overrule) our immune system fights back which contributes to inflammatory skin conditions such as acne. Additionally, a poor diet and food allergies may cause certain proteins to leak out of the gut and irritate the skin, causing conditions such as eczema.
- Hormonal imbalances & Stress
An unhealthy gut and stress can lead to hormonal imbalances causing skin to be more sensitive and reactive. Our cortisol levels, commonly referred to as the “stress hormone”, rise. This imbalance may trigger or aggravate existing skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, hives and eczema. Prolonged stress can also make it harder for skin problems to heal.
Certain fabrics can aggravate skin conditions. This sensitivity is heightened for people with contact dermatitis which causes their immune system to react to normally harmless substances in the environment. If you have sensitive skin or contact dermatitis, it is best to avoid synthetic fabrics such as acrylic, polyester, nylon and rayon (artificial silk).
If you suffer from symptoms such as itching or dermatitis, high histamine levels or a histamine intolerance could be one of the culprits. These skin conditions may occur when there is a buildup of histamine in the body. Drugs, medical conditions, the environment, nutritional deficiencies, and diet can all play a role. Many foods and drinks contain histamine, some of which include smoked products, such as sausage and ham, legumes, alcohol, aged cheeses, canned, pickled, and fermented foods, vinegar, salty snack foods, most citrus fruits, canned fish, peanuts, tomatoes, strawberries.
Helping Identify the Triggers of Your Skin Condition
As you set about understanding what triggers your condition, it is useful to work with a health professional or skincare coach to help guide you through the journey. Whilst doing this, it can be a good idea to pare-back your skin care routine to the very basics:
- Temporarily stop using all your skincare products & makeup (put them in bag and hold them aside)
- Use cooled-down boiled water only to cleanse your skin
- Drink more water
- Minimise time in the sun (exposure to UV rays can cause more discomfort) and use adequate sun protection
As you work with your health professional to identify the triggers, it is common you will be asked questions on your lifestyle, diet, health and the regular products you use. You may need to eliminate certain factors and products out of your routine in order to find the trigger.
During this journey, your skincare advisor may recommend certain active products to help your skin condition. Be mindful that it takes time to start seeing results. This has to do with your skin going through a phase of renewal. It can take 6-8 weeks for active ingredients to penetrate deep into the epidermis (the deeper layers where dead skin cells tend to get stuck in the pores) and for your skin cells to turnover. You can read more on this topic here.
Kiri has helped a huge number of people find the cause of their skin condition and achieve great results. Many people that call on her service suffer from skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, acne and rosacea and have been masking their symptoms for years with medication. Kiri’s Telehealth Holistic Skin Coaching Service gives you the opportunity to discuss you skin concerns and develop a tailored plan to work towards healthy glowing skin. You can contact Kiri here.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. If symptoms persist, we recommend that you see your GP or dermatologist.