Although a number of skincare products may help to calm the symptoms of eczema, did you know that treating this condition from the inside out may be the key? Here I describe how supporting your digestion could help treat problem skin!
Treating skin from the inside out
When it comes to chronic skin conditions such as eczema, people often aren’t quite sure where to start in terms of the management of this condition.
Topical creams and sprays such as those in the Salcura range can often help to keep the symptoms under control in the short-term, however, if we stop using them for whatever reason, then the symptoms often return and we can be left battling our dry, itchy, inflamed skin once more. So, in many cases it seems that topical creams can only offer temporary relief.
Is there a gut connection?
Now, although the underlying cause of many skin conditions such as eczema aren’t well understood, we know that the symptoms may occur as a result of an over-active immune response.
We also know that up to 70% of our immune cells reside in the gut and in many cases of food intolerance or allergies, flare ups in our skin seem to be connected to this. So, taking all of this into account, it seems logical that the gut may be a good place to start when treating skin conditions such as eczema.
Then there’s our gut bacteria
As well as relying on our immune cells to protect us from tummy bugs, we also rely on our own little army of bacteria called our microbiome. If these fall out of balance, the bad bacteria and pathogens can potentially damage our gut wall. This can progress into a condition called leaky gut which is also thought to play a part in more widespread inflammation in the body and problem skin.
Which factors should I look out for when it comes to digestion affecting my skin?
1 - Problem foods
Certain foods are more taxing on your digestive system and could be linked to those pesky flare ups:
- Dairy – Dairy products are heavier on the digestive system and are considered pro-inflammatory in the body – milk and other dairy products are a common trigger in many cases of eczema, for example. Try switching to some dairy-free alternatives and see if you notice a difference
- Gluten – One of the most common allergens, gluten, can be found in grains including wheat, barley and rye and can cause problems for many people. If you experience digestive symptoms when eating gluten, your skin problems may also be affected
- Others – Dietary triggers are often individual – from artificial sweeteners to tomatoes, there may just be something in your diet that is causing a flare up in your symptoms, so it pays to monitor your diet closely!
2 - Factors that affect your gut bacteria
An imbalance in gut bacteria is thought to affect everything from your skin to your mood and even your weight management. Let’s look at what could be disrupting the delicate balance in your gut:
- The overuse of antibiotics – Although antibiotics are necessary sometimes, unfortunately they could be disrupting your good bacteria. I recommend taking a course of probiotics alongside your antibiotics to help protect the balance in your gut
- Weak stomach acid – Weak stomach acid often goes hand in hand with food intolerance and problem skin – too little acid rather than too much is quite often the problem!
- Stress – With chronic stress you risk upsetting your digestive functions and the balance of bacteria in your gut, plus stress hormones can have a more direct effect on the skin.
What can be done to help?
When it comes to chronic skin conditions, as we’ve explored, often treating the condition from the inside out can be helpful. My top tips for doing this are as follows:
1 - Keep a food diary – If you can identify any food triggers, then this can help to keep inflammation to a minimum whilst you work on healing the gut
2 - Support the stomach – Bitter herbs such as Centaurium can help to support the upper parts of the digestive system and the stomach
3 - Heal the gut – Giving the gut time to rest is important if you suspect your skin flare ups could be related to underlying digestive problems. Aim to avoid inflammatory foods including red meat, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar. Taking a daily dose of the amino acid L-glutamine can also help to further support the healing process
4 - Balance your bacteria – Balancing your bacteria is often a pivotal step in the management of skin conditions such as eczema too. From children up to adults, adding a suitable probiotic could help to improve symptoms. Head over and browse the Optibac range now!
5 - Topical skin creams as the final step – Once you’ve got the main part of your treatment plan underway and your gut is well on the road to recovery the Salcura range is ideal to help your skin get back to its old self.