As a Herbalist skin issues are something I have seen a lot of. The skin is sensitive organ, that when faults do appear the patient wants it resolved very quickly. The interesting thing is that the skin is a barometer of other health concerns that need to be addressed. This means that the health concern must be addressed before the sign will disappear. This is not something I like to know, as I stand in front of the mirror, before a meeting with a client and I have a massive zit. You’d think I should have all my health concerns under control, right? after all I sell health for a living. The truth is, I too get so busy that I forget to listen to my body, so my skin speaks up for the rest of my body systems.
When taking a case concerning a blemish on the skin, I usually begin my questioning around the gastrointestinal system. The reason for this is that the skin acts as an organ of excretion when the other excretory organs are battling (Shier, Butler, & Lewis, 2003). As part of the excretory system, supporting organs, such as the liver and pancreas will be considered. If these organs are not functioning optimally, they will affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal and urinary system (Bone & Mills, 2013).
Diet and lifestyle choices are not left out. What face products the client is using has a huge impact on the skin flare-ups. On the skin’s surface are millions of bacteria. Even the skin has a microbiome protecting it from invaders. These bacteria need to be balanced to prevent infections in the skin.(Murillo & Raoult, 2013). Products that are harsh, or washing the face too often rids the body of the balance. The skin is also very sensitive to insulin. In a diet that raises the blood glucose levels, necessitating the release of insulin, can result in the formation of an acne flare-up (Melnik, 2009). Clothing choices also affect the condition of the skin as raised temperatures and a change in pH can result in a flare-up (Curto et al., 2012).
Next, I move to the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is integral in the fight against contaminants that enter the body. If the lymphatic system is fighting a lot of stuff, it becomes slowed. Where the toxins are being held, the skin may flare up (Fife et al., 2017). When the lymphatic system is slowed, I see conditions such as eczema.
Stress is another factor that affects the skin. From acne all the way to hives, the inflammatory response associated with stress and anxiety affects the skin (Hechtman, 2012). In taking a case, I consider life events that may be impacting the persons wellbeing. For me personally stress has a very clear affect on my skin. This then leads towards hormone irregularities. Heightened stress increases testosterone levels (Sarris & Wardle, 2014). Testosterone stimulates sebum production, resulting in overstimulation and infection that develops the unlovable zit.
If your skin is a cause of concern for you, make an appointment with your Herbalist. They can help you find what it is that is leading to your skin condition.
Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine (2nd ed.): Elsevier Health Sciences U.K.
Curto, V. F., Coyle, S., Byrne, R., Angelov, N., Diamond, D., & Benito-Lopez, F. (2012). Concept and development of an autonomous wearable micro-fluidic platform for real time pH sweat analysis. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 175, 263-270.
Fife, C. E., Farrow, W., Hebert, A. A., Armer, N. C., Stewart, B. R., Cormier, J. N., & Armer, J. M. (2017). Skin and Wound Care in Lymphedema Patients: A Taxonomy, Primer, and Literature Review. Advances in Skin & Wound Care, 30(7), 305-318. doi:10.1097/01.asw.0000520501.23702.82
Hechtman, L. (2012). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine – E-Book. Chatswood, AUSTRALIA: Elsevier.
Melnik, B. (2009). Milk consumption: aggravating factor of acne and promoter of chronic diseases of Western societies. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft, 7(4), 364-370. doi:doi:10.1111/j.1610-0387.2009.07019.x
Murillo, N., & Raoult, D. (2013). Skin microbiota: overview and role in the skin diseases acne vulgaris and rosacea. Future microbiology, 8(2), 209-222.
Sarris, J., & Wardle, J. (2014). Clinical Natropathy (M. Davies Ed. 2 ed.). Chatswood, NSW: Elsevier.
Shier, D., Butler, J., & Lewis, R. (2003). Hole’s essentials of human anatomy and physiology: McGraw-Hill.