Naturopathic Medicine for 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. Naturopathic healers also discuss the patient’s lifestyle, stress levels, and emotional state at the time of the skin outbreak. Once a diagnosis is reached, a naturopathic doctor can suggest remedies and therapies to alleviate the skin problem.
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. For specific allergic reactions, experiment using the process of elimination to isolate and remove the irritating food or toxic substance from your life.
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 the naturopath pinpoint the cause of the skin condition. After diagnosis, the naturopath may suggest a variety of treatments.
Below are a few of the most common skin conditions, their causes, and naturopathic treatments.
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, brewer’s yeast, and benzoyl peroxide cream. Keep skin clean with hot and cold compresses. Diet is also important. 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.
First try to eliminate any contact with food, dairy, or substances that may cause an allergic reaction. To relieve itching, add essential oil Roman chamomile to a bath and soak. Also take a baking soda bath. Try 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.
To treat psoriasis, first wet the skin, and then rub in some Vitamin E, mineral oil, or Vaseline petroleum jelly to keep the moisture in. Do this a couple times per day. Avoid perfumed off-the-shelf moisturizers. Diet is also important when treating psoriasis: drink more water, drink vegetable juice, eat fruits and fish, and take a 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.
Use a topical cream with calendula herb, or apply jojoba oil or hemp oil to a damp cloth and use it as a compress. Wash the face gently with warm, not hot, water. Try zinc oxide supplements. Also, avoid hot food, spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate. Drink more water. Protect the skin from the sun when outdoors by wearing a large-brimmed hat. Reduce stress with exercise or yoga, and get plenty of sleep.
Fungal Infection - Tinea forms of fungal infection 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.
To prevent athlete’s foot, wear cotton socks with powder inside to absorb moisture. To treat it, soak feet in hot water with 20 drops of tea tree oil to kill bacteria. Take 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. Also try tea tree oil and lavender extract, and echinacea. In addition, acidophilus capsules bring balance to the intestinal tract.
How Does Naturopathic Medicine Treat Health Conditions?
Naturopathic Medicine is a healing philosophy that uses natural products, nutrition, herbs, lifestyle changes, yoga, and exercise to heal the body and mind without the use of chemicals and invasive procedures. Naturopathy aims to remove toxins, cleanse the body, and create balance to enhance emotional and physical well-being. Many regimens are employed in naturopathic medicine, including acupuncture, magneto therapy, nutrition, oriental medicine, chromotherapy, reflexology, massage, and colonics.