Skin issues can be indicators of deeper health concerns
Any type of skin issue—from eczema to dry skin to rashes—skin is actually doing our bodies a favor. This may be hard to believe with the discomfort of itching, burning or stinging or the unsightliness of red or crusty patches, but these reactions are actually indications that something else is going on inside that needs attention.
Treating a skin issue with a topical cream or ointment may offer temporary relief or minimize the appearance of an outbreak, but most times the problem returns at some point. These dermatological “solutions” typically only deal with the surface problem, which is why they’re not a cure but merely a temporary suppressant.
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So what are we dealing with when eczema, psoriasis, fungus, or other outbreaks erupt on our skin? The answer lies beneath the surface and can range from autoimmune issues to gut imbalances to problems with detoxification.
Skin is the largest of our body’s organs and serves as a barrier to the outside world, preventing infections, toxins and other undesirable elements from getting inside. But skin is also a major detoxification organ, working in sync with the toxin drainage system of our other organs (lymphatic and glymphatic systems) and releasing those toxins from inside the body through perspiration.
However, when these detoxification systems become sluggish, toxins start building up, creating an internal toxic overload. The results of this toxic overload can show up in skin with lingering skin issues that are either not clearing up or repeatedly recur. This can be an indication of internal immune reactivity or poor detoxification, which is why creams, lotions and ointments don’t heal the problem permanently.
Two examples of internal issues revealed through skin symptoms are eczema and psoriasis. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the gut microbiome such as an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, should be the first potential cause explored. There is, however, a fundamental difference between eczema and psoriasis: psoriasis is inherently autoimmune-driven, whereas eczema is not, but neither clears up permanently with topical applications.
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From my own personal experience, many years ago I developed a couple of small eczema patches as a result of eating too much acidic food. A simple shift to a more alkaline plant-based diet took care of the problem—it’s different for everyone, but it’s not unusual for eczema to be reversed through dietary changes. While diet is an important part of autoimmune issues as well, they are more complex and a number of things need to be ruled in or out that may be affecting the individual’s immune response.
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 1 in 10 people develop toenail fungus, which is even more common as we age. Topical applications may reduce its appearance or calm the condition temporarily, but they don’t get to the root cause, which is why most people have toenail fungus permanently. Like any other skin condition, fungus is a sign that something else in the body is going on.
The real contributor to toenail fungus and fungus problems in general is poor circulation. Without adequate blood flow to bring oxygen and immune chemicals to tissues, fungus grows more easily. There’s also a neurological and stress physiology component to toenail fungus, as unusual as that may sound. When the nervous system is in sympathetic response (fight or flight) mode, certain blood vessels tighten; when that happens, blood flow is constricted and the immune system’s white blood cells can’t get to the extremities to kill the fungus. Stress, particularly chronic stress, triggers the sympathetic nervous system to activate, causing a cascade of events that can take a heavy toll and lead to many additional health problems.
Learn more about skin Issues “Not Just Skin Deep”. Watch Episode 15 of The Root Cause Solution Radio Show, where I discuss “Skin Issues: A Detoxification Issue or a Result of Environmental Factors” and answer listeners’ questions. Short on time? Become a subscriber on YouTube for this and all episode trailers. Go to https://bit.ly/DrPucciYouTube
Dr. Douglas J. Pucci, Founder, Get Well Now, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition.
New to functional medicine? Register for my FREE Informational Series on Root Cause Solution and learn about functional medicine and “How to” avoid a lifetime of medications by visiting my website at Get Well Now.