THE TREATMENT OF COMMON SKIN CONDITIONS
Skin conditions are considered difficult to remedy, yet a successful treatment is possible. The availability of highly effective new topical treatment provides fast, safe relief from symptoms. By providing tangible results quickly, I can get client's confidence and dedication to continue to address the drivers of their individual presentation. The cornerstone of skin health focuses on addressing imbalances in the integrity of the skin barrier, immune balance and skin microbiota. As a specialist in treating skin conditions I have a deep understanding of these aspects and the factors that impact them.
When we consider the adage " more than skin deep" we think of the truism that beauty is more than what we see on the outside. As complementary health care professionals we apply this philosophy to our treatment of skin conditions as we consider the skin a representation of not just the body's external, but also internal milieu.
As around 15% of general practice consultations are for skin presentations, there is clearly demand for effective clinical strategies targeting common skin conditions. In a Naturopathic consultation here at the Blackheath clinic, a full investigation of the following possible causes will be undertaken.
- Essential fatty acid deficiency is very common in common skin conditions. Beyond the structural, hydrating and anti-inflammatory roles of omega 3 fish oils provide, these fats also exhibit potent antimicrobial activity.
- Zinc deficiency is common in all skin conditions. Serum levels of zinc have been shown to be deficient in over 50% of patients suffering with skin conditions. Assessing zinc status will form part of the consultation.
- The uncontrolled proliferation of various strains of microbes, due to an imbalance of microbiota, has been linked to many of the skin conditions that present here in the clinic. These bacteria and parasitic mites may not always be the cause of the condition but can stimulate an aggravating inflammatory reaction, therefore their proliferation should be addressed as part of the treatment regime.
- With vitamin D levels proving to be deficient or insufficient in the majority of Australian and New Zealand residents, it should not be surprising that studies have shown benefits for skin conditions with both oral and topical use of vitamin D.
- Immune cells classed as Th1 and Th2 have been shown to be out of balance in all common skin conditions. The atopical skin condition eczema for example, has traditionally been defined as a Th2 dominant condition whilst psoriasis has always been defined as a Th1 dominant condition. This will be fully explored in the Naturopathic Consultation.
- Healthy bowels = Healthy skin. Stripped down to basics, the digestive tract's primary functions could be considered to be absorption and elimination. Elimination of waste and the health of the skin are tightly interlinked in our Naturopathic philosophy. Bowel function is an important area of elimination that is frequently overlooked by practitioners and patients alike.
- It would not be surprising that a discussion regarding skin conditions includes a discussion regarding the lymphatic system. Considering infection and inflammation are key driver of skin dysfunction, it is worth remembering that the lymphatic system has a significant role to play in immunity. Around 80% of clients suffering from both psoriasis and eczema has congested lymphatic vessels.
- It is not only external physical stress that impacts the skin barrier but also the internal stress reaction. The chemical pathways created by stress weaken the protective barriers of the skin leaving it susceptible to the ineffective and inflammatory processes. Your stress response will be evaluated as part of the Naturopathic consultation to see if the nervous system will need to be balanced.
- A high glycaemic diet can be a driver of all common skin conditions. A full dietary evaluation will be undertaken as part of the full Naturopathic Consultation.
- As practitioners we often suspect the diet to be a driver of skin conditions. A wealth of research has demonstrated the role of common dietary allergens in the perpetuation of skin disease. In a large study of people with eczema, a high percentage were shown to have sensitivity to eggs, cows milk and peanuts, whilst 82% of people with psoriasis had a sensitivity to gluten in another study.