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Dry, Patchy, Itchy Skin Challenges

DroughtI recently began suffering a skin condition referred to as contact dermatitis. This is not contagious, just annoying to me.   My dermatologist felt I had developed an allergy to the massage oil I had been using for several years (my multiple exposures each day overtaxed my system from too much of one thing). This was confusing for me as my massage oil is organic and herbal. I do understand that too much of one thing can bring on an allergic reaction. So I changed oils many times only to have the same ongoing condition with my skin.

I then thought it might be brought on by a food allergy. This is a tough one to figure out as to what to eliminate from my diet. I began with the usual allergens: wheat, milk, peanuts, soy. I rarely eat soy or peanuts, so I didn’t worry about those. I did eliminate all wheat and gluten products and dairy products for a few weeks, but no relief came to my itchiness. I added them back in and found no new acceleration of my skin condition.

I am now looking into what might be missing from my diet that my skin would love to have and would enable healing. My research brought me the following important clues that could begin the repair process.

I need to increase my essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3s, so I am taking a supplement providing both EHA and DPA fatty acids as well as eating more salmon. I need to add a zinc supplement that enables the fatty acids to metabolize. Plant products helpful for overactive histamine cells are quercetin, grapeseed oil, bilberry, Ginkgo biloba, and green tea. Also licorice, not the sugary ones but Glycyrrhiza glabra provides anti-inflammatory assistance. I plan to choose a couple of these at a time to see if they help me.

I also learned not to use creams or ointments as these block pores that are trying to detoxify my skin irritants. My dermatologist prescribed creams and lotions for my condition, so no wonder I have not had any relief. One of the best antiseptics is Witch Hazel and I also had a friend recommend rubbing cornstarch on my skin. This actually helped reduce the itching and began to dry up the sores I made by too much scratching.

Other conditions leading to skin challenges might be poor digestion and/or poor liver function. When food is not metabolized in a timely fashion, fermentation can occur and toxins can break down digestive system walls and leak contents into general circulation. This alerts the immune system and the liver. If the liver is already dealing with the daily onslaught of industrial toxins and cannot manage more incoming, the skin begins to show signs of stress and releases what it can in the form of various types of eruptions (acne, psoriasis, eczema, rashes).

I am making sure I follow the whole foods diet, lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, mostly raw foods at the moment, and drinking plenty of water to hydrate and support detoxification.

I will let you all know how my skin healing goes.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns NewTritionally Yours! providing nutrition education classes. She can be reached at (208) 290-6760.

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