Skin Eruptions: Healing Eczema and Psoriasis Naturally
Are you experiencing those painful and itchy erupting patches of eczema or psoriasis? Skin conditions can often times be frustrating in their presentation and difficult to diagnose. As a doctor of naturopathic medicine, I often ask myself, what is causing this condition to present at this time? I like to get to the root cause of disease and to get there, I need to do some digging!
The Greek translation of eczema means "to boil out,” so the question makes sense to look for the underlying root causes that bring about these skin eruptions. Although they create similar discomforts for the people afflicted, psoriasis and eczema are different in very important ways.
Psoriasis is a common autoimmune inflammatory skin condition characterized by frequent episodes redness, intense itching, and thick, dry silvery scales on the skin. It typically presents as sharply demarcated plaques on the outer portion of the elbows, knees, lower back, scalp, and hands.
Eczema (aka atopic dermatitis) also can be chronic, but it tends to come and go in response to certain triggers like weather changes, irritating cosmetics, chronic stress, or an allergic reaction. Eczema is common in infants and children, and may even go dormant for a time. Some people, however, suffer terribly throughout their lifetime. When eczema is active, skin is inflamed, exquisitely itchy, dry, peeling and may even crack and blister.
From the natural medicine perspective, root causes of eczema and psoriasis include:
Deficiency in one or more minerals
Low-quality diet (high in saturated fats, processed foods, sugar, etc.)
Poor gut health/ Leaky Gut Syndrome
Emotional and Mental Stress
Exposure to chemicals or toxins and/or inadequate ability to detoxify
Conventional treatment typically involves use of steroids to manage symptoms like itching; however, there are harmful side effects, such as suppressing overall immunity, that must be considered. Natural therapies, on the other hand, work to correct the underlying imbalance that caused the body to react in the first place, offering relief without the unwanted side effects of steroid treatments.
The following natural therapies may be part of an individualized naturopathic treatment plan:
Shifts in diet to include more nutrient dense foods like vegetables and fruits
Avoid irritants to the skin
Determine food sensitivities and remove foods from the diet that cause inflammation
Increase intake of Essential Fatty Acids, which are important to skin health
Identify and minimize toxin exposure
Support liver function, the body's detox organ
To temporarily soothe symptoms, naturopathic doctors may recommend nourishing the skin with herbal salves and essential oil baths specific to individual needs. Some common botanical ingredients are calendula, lavender, chamomile, rose, Manuka honey, tea tree, Avena sativa, among many others.
Psoriasis and Eczema can quickly become chronic and severe. Additionally, the wrong treatments can make things far worse by temporarily soothing skin symptoms and causing other symptoms to appear that may be harder to treat. Naturopathic treatments take time and it is important for a patient to realize that patience is a part of the skin healing process. Make an appointment today with me, Dr. Marissa Castello to identify the appropriate therapies for you or your loved one when it comes to skin challenges.