We usually think of skin conditions as being affected on the outside—after all, our skin comes into contact with so many different substances throughout the day, how could it not be affected by all that? While it’s true that your skin can react to what you touch, it’s far more likely to respond to what happens inside your body. In particular, the foods you eat can play a big role on the health of your skin. It can even lead to the development of certain skin conditions. Today, I’ll talk about two skin conditions, eczema and psoriasis, that are impacted by your diet.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition that usually begins during childhood and involves itchy, red, dry skin caused by inflammation. It can appear on any area of the body and is triggered by stress, contact with irritating substances, hot or cold environments, and food sensitivities. Many children with eczema eventually outgrow it, but adults are also affected. Steroid creams are used to treat the condition, but if continual exposure to the irritant occurs, the condition will persist.
Eczema is an allergic condition in which the immune system is over-reacting to substances that the body would normally ignore. In many cases, the substance is a food. That’s why it’s crucial to look at what role diet plays in the development and progression of eczema.
Plaque psoriasis, the most common type of psoriasis, is a skin condition that usually develops on the knees, elbows, or scalp, but can also develop on the torso, palms, or soles of the feet. Essentially, the skin cells multiply up to 10 times faster than usual, which causes a buildup of dead skin cells at the surface of the skin, creating a raised red and white scale. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, which means that the immune system actually attacks the body’s own tissues by mistake. It can be triggered by stress, infections, smoking, vitamin D deficiency, certain medications, and certain foods.
Food Sensitivities to Blame?
Both eczema and psoriasis can be the result of a food sensitivity. The most common dietary culprits are gluten and dairy, but other foods may be to blame. The body’s response to these foods creates an imbalance in the immune response, as is seen in each of these conditions.
An elimination diet is the best way to determine whether certain foods are triggering these skin conditions. Removing gluten, dairy, and/or other common allergenic foods like corn, soy, egg, nuts, and seafood can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms. If a full elimination diet feels overwhelming, try removing gluten first. If that doesn’t help, remove dairy, too. If you haven’t seen an improvement after a few weeks of not eating these foods, you may have to further restrict your diet to find the offending food or foods. It takes some trial and error, but it can make a big difference in the health of your skin.
Supplements to Consider
You won’t be surprised to learn from me that digestive health plays a big role in these conditions. Having the right balance of bacteria in your gut is key, as it is for most, if not all, areas of health. If you aren’t taking a probiotic by now, find a good high-potency, multi-strain probiotic formula, and take it every day. I also recommend Candida Freedom Probiotic Soap, because yeast may play a role in your skin condition. Last, I love Life-Flo’s Magnesium Flakes, a pure source of magnesium crystals to use in the bath. Magnesium baths can help sooth both eczema and psoriasis.