Far from being a cosmetic issue, skin complaints can be frustrating, embarrassing and even distressing. When you’re suffering from any form of skin problem, it often feels as if you’re the only person dealing with it. Our practitioners look for clues in the skin when evaluating internal disease. So it’s no surprise that oftentimes treating the skin means uncovering and treating root causes of inflammation, imbalance and nutrient deficiencies.
Most people are surprised to learn that more than 60% of us are afflicted with some form of skin complaint.
As a functional medicine clinic, we see many patients who struggle with skin problems, and surprisingly, the one thing almost all of them have in common is gut dysfunction. Your gut and your skin are inextricably linked through the gut-skin axis. Research has shown that underlying gut dysfunctions such as leaky gut syndrome, yeast overgrowth, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and microbiome imbalance (dysbiosis) all contribute to poor skin health. When your skin breaks out, this is your body’s way of calling out to you for help. It’s a red flag from your insides to your outsides.
Here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, we see a range of conditions:
Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is where the skin becomes dry, itchy and cracked. It typically shows up on the hands, elbows, knees and scalp, but it can also cause inflamed skin across the body. Most people with eczema have ‘flare-ups’, during which their symptoms become more severe.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which skin cells turn over too quickly. This leads to distinct patches of red, flakey and crusty skin, which sometimes look as if they’re covered with silvery scales. The patches can appear anywhere on your body.
Once believed to be a teenage issue, we now know that acne affects up to half of adults too. It shows up as a range of blemishes on the face, chest and back, including blackheads and whiteheads. More severe forms of acne can also lead to deep, painful cysts.
Rosacea is often confused with acne, but it’s a very different condition. It causes redness and visible blood vessels on the face, along with pus-filled bumps. Rosacea can make your skin feel very sensitive and lead to burning or stinging when washing.
Eczema (see above) is a form of dermatitis, but there are other types too. Contact dermatitis occurs when you touch a substance your skin reacts to (causing a rash), while seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly patches and dandruff.
Skin Complaints and Disorders
Skin complaints arise due to a combination of factors, and they can affect anyone at any age. However, there are some patterns to when they emerge:
Skin Complaints in Children and Teens
Eczema is common in infants and children. Some children grow out of it on their own, while for others it persists and tends to be very stubborn. Other allergic-type skin conditions—such as hives—are often seen in childhood too.
Up to 85% of teenagers suffer from some form of acne.
Skin Complaints in Adults
Many autoimmune conditions become apparent in adulthood, and psoriasis is no different—most cases of this skin condition develop between the ages of 15 and 35. Rosacea typically appears after the age of 30.
A condition called acquired ichthyosis, when skin becomes thick and takes on a ‘fish-scale’ appearance, can develop in adulthood too. It typically accompanies other conditions such as hypothyroidism and kidney disease.
Skin Complaints in The Elderly
Not only does your skin gets naturally drier as you age, but you can also develop age spots (brown patches) and benign growths.
Although some degree of skin ageing is unavoidable, there’s a lot you can do to maintain its condition in your later years. Avoiding excessive sun exposure is one factor, as is prioritising a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Causes Of Skin Complaints
Your skin reflects what’s going on inside, so there’s rarely a single cause of a skin complaint. Rather, it’s the result of several interlinking factors, such as:
- Long-term stress
- Food sensitivities and intolerances
- Poor gut health
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Compromised detoxification and toxicity
- Traumatic events
As you can see, using a cream or lotion will never solve the problem long-term. For that, you need to address the root cause of the issue.
How Dangerous Are Skin Complaints?
Some skin complaints, such as squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma (types of skin cancer), are obviously dangerous and need to be checked out by a medical professional immediately.
The skin conditions listed above may not be dangerous in the same way, but they still need to be addressed. This is because they’re often a sign of internal imbalances that can progress to more severe conditions if left unchecked. People with psoriasis, for example, can go on to develop psoriatic arthritis—a condition that causes painful joints and deformities.
The psychological impact of skin conditions should not be underestimated either. Studies show teenagers with acne are more than twice as likely to think about suicide than their clear-skinned friends.
Treatment Of Skin Disorders
Conventional treatment for skin disorders usually involves prescribing an external cream or lotion. Sometimes drugs can be used to minimise symptoms too.
Here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, we do things differently. Our approach to good skin and general health is to offer full and ongoing support. To be able to offer this we have been looking into general health in greater depth and in particular the effect that our lifestyle has on how we look and how we feel. Using Functional Medicine, we were able to help improve and cure many chronic conditions that had been previously believed incurable. Lifestyle and nutrition are the cornerstones to better health. Applying conventional medical approaches alongside a Functional Medicine paradigm means that we can offer the best that both approaches have to offer.
We conduct a full assessment of your internal health to pinpoint the factors that are driving your skin condition. You get a personalised plan to nourish your body from the inside out, which may include:
- Dietary recommendations to enhance gut health
- Supplements and herbs to support detoxification
- Functional testing to identify nutrient deficiencies and other imbalances
- Lifestyle strategies to minimise stress
Your skin wants to be smooth and clear. We help you tackle the root cause of your skin condition—so you can escape the cycle of symptom suppression and enjoy a long-term solution instead.
Schedule an appointment in our London clinic, or via an online consultation
We offer a range of appointments in-person or online. Of course, with our virtual, online clinic, you’ll receive the same exceptional service from your expert Functional Medicine practitioner as you would seeing us at our London clinic.
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