Just like a beautifully wrapped present, shielding our eyes from not only the gift inside but the box itself protecting the contents from damage, our skin functions in much the same way. Protecting our ability to live and creating a protective barrier around our vital organs so that we can enjoy life each and every day.
As the largest organ in the human body, with a surface area of 21 square feet in an average adult and accounting for 6-10% of our body weight, our skin is truly essential to life for without it we would literally evaporate. The skin functions in many ways:
- As a waterproof barrier
- An insulating shield
- Preventing infection
- Manufacturing Vitamin D for healthy bones
- Keeping us connected to the outside world through our nerves
- Alerting us to a potential health issue
It’s the last point that is the focus of this blog post, how our skin can tell us if there is a problem within our body that needs to be addressed through the clues is reveals. The clues, while not necessarily painful or uncomfortable, create something we dread far more – the visibility the skin clues bring to ourselves, which can be far more painful than the skin problem itself. The good news is that our skin condition is usually alerting us to an inflammation that originates elsewhere in the body. By working with a skilled health practitioner, the underlying cause can be addressed rather than simply addressing the symptoms which can be temporary.
Here is a list of the common, chronic skin conditions many of us encounter, what may be triggering it, and what strategies you can utilize to correct it.
- Eczema – Common causes are food sensitivities or other lifestyle-related triggers. Remedies include avoiding the offending food(s) for six to eight weeks, hydration, food allergy and celiac testing, and GI testing. Often the symptoms can be eliminated without medication.
- Dry Skin – Common causes are nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or circulatory disorders. A low thyroid function, circulatory problems, environmental exposures and medical conditions can contribute to persistent dryness or xerosis. A diet lacking in B vitamins, healthy fats, and long-term use of antacids can be the culprit as well. Improving the diet to increase dietary fats, probiotics, and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E are beneficial.
- Acne – Common causes are an excess of inflammatory foods, deficiency of nutrient rich foods, hormonal imbalances, and food intolerances. Modifying one’s diet is usually all it takes to improve the skin. Reducing milk consumption, increasing vegetables, decreasing grains and fruit, taking fish-oil and zinc supplements, adequate sleep, and stress management all help eliminate acne.
- Psoriasis – Common causes include an irritated gut, overactive immune system, or a metabolic syndrome. Remedies include non-smoking, alcohol moderation, a low-glycemic, nutrient-rich diet, and fish oil. Removing the common inflammatory food triggers first – gluten, sugar, and diary – is a good first step.
- Premature Aging – Common causes are the damages caused by the lifestyle choices one makes and the skin’s ability to keep up with the repair work. Remedies include a healthy diet, reduction in stress or proper stress management, and smoking cessation.
- Skin Tags – Common causes are blood-sugar and hormonal problems. Remedies include lowering sugar intake and incorporating a healthy, balanced diet.
Use your skin as a means to communicate what is happening on the inside of you. A quick self-inventory can go a long way in keeping you living a healthy life.