Hey, Radiant Rebels!
Today’s email is for anyone in the community who suffers from eczema (either occasionally or consistently). Recently, a new study was published that confirmed a cause of the dry, inflamed and itchy skin that plagues eczema sufferers.
What was the discovery?
Researchers found out what holistic skin care gals (like you and me) have known for a long time – what’s happening inside affects the outside. Specifically, the researchers found that when someone has an immune system that is more likely to be triggered by allergies, those allergies, when triggered, alter the lipids in the skin.
What are “the lipids in the skin”? You’ve probably heard me talk previously about our natural skin barrier. What I’m referring to is our natural lipid barrier – the barrier our body naturally creates that protects our systems from allergens, bacteria, sun damage, and more.
When someone, who sufferers from eczema, has their lipids altered due to an allergy trigger, those altered lipids stop protecting the skin from cracks in its barrier – resulting in actual cracks in the skin.
These cracks in the lipid barrier also:
- Allow hydration to be lost from the skin (that’s why the skin gets so dry)
- Allow irritants to enter the skin (that’s why the skin gets so itchy)
So what’s the take away here?
Your best course of action for preventing NEW eczema flare-ups is to do some deep diving into what can trigger a flare-up of your immune system. And by “your immune system“, I mean your specific immune system. Many of us will have our immune system triggered by the same things, but there’s a big group of triggers for each of us that are unique to our individual bodies.
You might be thinking, “how do I know if my immune system has been triggered?“
In most cases, you won’t know as the inflammation that is created when our immune system is activated will be low enough that there won’t be obvious signs like when we catch a cold or the flu. However, it’s important to note that even minor triggers to the immune system can result in inflammation that’s high enough to alter your skin lipids.
So what can we do?
The best place to start is with things your body comes into contact with the most. This includes what it comes into contact with outside (in our environment) and inside (what we ingest).
Start looking at:
- Personal hygiene products (products you use in the shower, deodorant, hair products, toothpaste, body lotions, facial care products, sunscreen, etc.)
- Cleaning products (dish soaps, laundry detergent, hand soap, etc.)
- Anything that gets sprayed or diffused into the air (air fresheners, candles, body mist, etc.)
- Beauty products (makeup, nail polish, hair styling products, etc)
So what are you looking for with these products?
- Anything that you already know your skin reacts to – either by drying it out, stinging, getting red, itchy, etc. (Does your skin feel dry after using specific products?)
- Anything that gives you a headache – any smells or products that give you a headache, running nose, a tingle in your sinuses, watery eyes… all of these should be avoided
- Anything with inflammatory ingredients – What are these? Well, there’s a LOT of them, but since we need to start somewhere, start with our toxic ingredient workshop. Our workshop goes over the most toxic and dangerous ingredients that need to be avoided (they are in a surprising number of products. In fact, last time we ran one of this workshop live, everyone that attended found at least a few of these ingredients in almost every one of the products they used daily). To watch the replay of our toxic ingredients workshop, you’ll need to be a member of our private Facebook group – just request to join right here (Quick tip: you can find the names of all the ingredients we discuss during the workshop in the comments of this post).
Once you’ve sorted out the products in your life, move on to checking:
- The foods you eat. Do you have any known allergies or sensitives? If you’re not sure about sensitivities (sensitivities can be tough to nail down!) your local naturopath can provide IgG testing (note: this is a blood test that tests for food sensitivities, which is different than traditional “allergy tests”).
- Allergies you have. Do you have allergies outside of foods? Perhaps seasonal? Or maybe dust, animals, molds, or any of the other billion things that people can be allergic to? Anytime we’re exposed to something we’re allergic to, we trigger that immune reaction that alters our skin lipids. Talk to your primary healthcare provider or naturopath about allergy testing if you’re unsure.
Phew… so bottom line you’ll need to put on your detective hat if nothing is coming to mind . Don’t let this make you feel overwhelmed. Start with the simplest thing to tweak or check and dive progressively deeper as needed.
Want some more eczema busting inspiration? Click here to see our eczema related blog posts.
Here’s to radiant, eczema-free spring/summer for all of us!
P.s. Do you experience eczema or dry cracked skin from time to time? Know what you’re allergic or sensitive to? Or just want to talk with other Radiant Rebels about this topic? Head over to the Facebook group to connect and chat!