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Skin Conditions

The skin is the largest organ of the body and the most vulnerable to heat, moisture, sun exposure, food or chemical allergies, environmental toxins, stress, and lack of sleep. Since most skin problems occur with redness and itch, the first step for a naturopath is to diagnose the cause.

Why Use Naturopathic Medicine to Treat Skin Conditions?
Skin problems are signs that the body is not eliminating toxins properly and the immune system is reacting to stress or contaminants. Unlike conventional medicine, which treats the symptoms and results of skin problems, naturopathy attempts to relieve the underlying causes and triggers of skin conditions.

In general, when treating skin problems a patient should stay away from corticosteroids. These can have side effects and harm the liver and kidneys. Many off-the-shelf moisturizers contain perfumes that cause allergies in some people. Instead of using moisturizers, drink more water to keep your body hydrated and your skin supple.

Naturopathic Remedies for Skin Conditions
In the diagnosis process, a naturopath will ask questions about the symptoms and the conditions under which the skin problem occurred: Is the rash persistent?; Is it spreading?; Does it occur in the same place all the time or on different areas of the body?; Are you on any kind of medication, supplements, or herbs?; Have you eaten anything new or come in contact with any new substance or chemical?; Is there a history of skin allergies in your family?; Is there a history of skin cancer?

These questions will help your naturopath pinpoint the cause of the skin condition. After diagnosis, your naturopath may suggest a variety of treatments.

Below are a few of the most common skin conditions, their causes, and naturopathic treatment examples.

Acne - Acne is caused by overproduction of hormones during the teenage years (and sometimes into adulthood). As a result, skin glands produce too much oil, which clogs pores, allows bacteria to grow, and creates small areas of infection. Naturopathic remedies for acne include:

  • Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and brewer’s yeast
  • benzoyl peroxide cream
  • Keep skin clean with hot and cold compresses
  • Eat high-protein food and fish
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid oily foods (such as pizza), saturated fats, dairy products, processed sugars, and caffeine.

Dermatitis and Eczema - Dermatitis is a skin reaction to direct contact with irritating chemicals, detergents, oils, or acids. Eczema, a form of dermatitis, is an allergic reaction to plant oils (such as poison ivy), latex, chemicals, nickel, chromates, and lactose.

Other environmental factors, like temperature, moisture, dryness, wool, fabric softeners, and soaps can cause flare-ups. Excessive scratching can cause the skin to become infected. Naturopathic treatments include:

  • Eliminating any contact with food, dairy, or substances that may cause an allergic reaction
  • Supplementing vitamin A, vitamin E, and flaxseed oil

Psoriasis - Psoriasis is an excess of flaky skin cells, generally on the elbows, knees, nails, scalp, and mouth. Stress can worsen symptoms of psoriasis. Naturopathic treatments may include:

  • Avoiding perfumed off-the-shelf moisturizers
  • Adequate hydration
  • Vegetable juicing, eat fruits and fish
  • Vitamin D supplement
  • Reduce the stress in your life and get more restful sleep

Rosacea – Rosacea, which affects light-skinned adults, is characterized by red flushing and bumps on the face (commonly confused with acne), a bulbous nose, and visible blood vessels most likely caused by bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Naturopathic treatments may include:

  • Using a topical cream with calendula herb, or applying jojoba oil or hemp oil to a damp cloth and using it as a compress
  • Wash the face gently with warm, not hot, water
  • Zinc oxide supplements
  • Avoid hot food, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate
  • Drink more water.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure
  • Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.

Fungal Infection - Fungal infections include athlete’s foot, jock itch, genital itch, and ringworm. Candida forms, or thrush, include yeast infections in the intestines, vagina, groin, or armpits. Some women also get candida underneath their breasts, especially during hot weather.

Overuse of antibiotics can cause the death of beneficial bacterial flora and lead to infections. Naturopathic treatments may include:

  • Wear cotton socks with powder inside to absorb moisture
  • Soak feet in hot water with 20 drops of tea tree oil to kill bacteria
  • Supplementing zinc, vitamin B, vitamin E, and vitamin C to boost the immune system
  • Garlic, an antifungal which also boosts immunity, can be used to treat a yeast infection.
  • Acidophilus capsules bring balance to the intestinal tract.
Page Last Updated: October 25, 2009

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