Guest Blog by Hayley Fogarty
My experience with dermatitis began back to when I was a kid. I remember getting flare-ups in the creases of my elbows and on the back of my arms, it wasn’t much fun. Fast forward into adulthood and my skin still has a way of letting me know if something isn’t quite right internally. This personal experience has definitely cultivated my interest in learning more about the skin.
A few months ago the weather shifted into ice-mode in Melbourne, I broke out in peri-oral dermatitis. This presented a red, flaky rash around the sides of the mouth. I’d never experienced dermatitis on my face before so naturally, I kind of freaked out!
I desperately wanted topical relief but I also knew I had to get to the root cause as to why this was happening? As a naturopathic student, this becomes your default detective setting when treating yourself and others. From what I could gather, it was a combination of the dry winter we were experiencing, my diet (that had become more gluten heavy) and the pressure of full-time college.
I knew answers weren’t too far away as I am lucky enough to work at the Clear Skin Experts with the expertise of Asha, Emily and Elissa.
I consulted Asha and Emily on what I should apply topically and they both suggested dry cleansing (no water) with the Dermaviduals cleansing milk with DMS and applying kiwi seed oil serum on neat afterwards. They explained to me that when a dermatitis flare up occurs it’s important to go back to skin care basics and work very gently in restoring the skin’s barrier.
Well, my skin absolutely LOVED the kiwi seed oil as it felt so nourishing and reduced the redness and irritation around my mouth in such a short amount of time. I also made sure to have regular Max + LED sessions that reduced the inflammation and retrained my skin cells to behave better.
I found solace in listening to skin healing meditation that enabled me to shift my negative attitude towards my current skin state into more positive and healing one. Our minds and attitudes are so powerful, and they can either hinder or help heal the skin.
I had a session with Elissa, our Skin Detective Naturopath and we came up with a plan to reduce the internal inflammation I was experiencing through supplementation of omega fish oils, zinc and vitamin C. I was advised to cut out gluten, reduce sugar and have no dairy whilst my skin was in this inflamed stage, which aided in the recovery. I consumed an abundance of vegetables and good protein as well as drinking bone broth every day.
Functional Pathology Testing
Elissa recommended some private pathology testing – a 3-day Doctor’s Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis. There is a big link between dermatitis and the gut and as I had had some issues in the past. we decided to find out what was going on so that we could treat it precisely. I found the results SO interesting! Elissa came up with a 3-month gut protocol to help to restore and rebalance my internal environment, based on the results of my testing.
It turned out that I had a residual parasitic infection, acidic pH, a minor yeast overgrowth and the immune function (Secretory IgA) of my gut was very low.
I am just about to complete the first month of my gut protocol and my skin and gut have never been better!
What I learnt
This skin flare up taught me to slow down and focus my energy on looking after not only my physical state but also my mental and emotional state, too. I am so happy with the results and love that I am applying these new tools for long lasting skin health, rather than a quick fix.
My skin has had a huge reduction in inflammation and I haven’t had a flare up since I implemented my internal and external prescriptions. In fact, my skin has been so stable that I have been able to progress to Skin Needling for strengthening my skin and rejuvenation.
Need help? Book a holistic intake with one of our Naturopathic Skin Therapists for a personalised dermatitis busting program.