Itchy itchy scratchy scratchy

My per­son­al pas­sion for natur­o­path­ic medi­cine developed due to my own struggles with atop­ic dermatit­is, or eczema.

Eczema
Dry skin patches as typ­ic­ally occur in eczema, or atop­ic dermatit­is

For those of you who are unfa­mil­i­ar with these terms, atop­ic dermatit­is or eczema is a con­di­tion where the skin is very dry and itchy, of which the itch­ing can cause fur­ther rashes ini­ti­at­ing an itch-rash cycle. For suf­fer­ers, it is incred­ibly dif­fi­cult to stop scratch­ing once they start as the itch really is from with­in, and as such top­ic­al sup­ports such as cortisone, Elidel, and Protopic can be help­ful and sooth­ing but of course do have side-effects. Also, the source of the itch is nev­er addressed with these inter­ven­tions as they can reduce inflam­ma­tion ( cortisone ) and calm an over­act­ive immune sys­tem ( Elidel and Protopic ) from the skin sur­face. While this does allow improved san­ity, we have to won­der : what ini­ti­ates this itch­ing ? Can we get long-term reduc­tion of itch­ing trig­gers ?

I wrote about this recently, the con­nec­tion between atop­ic dermatit­is and the innate immune sys­tem, which if you are inter­ested, please click here. Here is my short and quick syn­op­sis for those who are inter­ested but would like a sum­mary:

  1. Our skin provides a bar­ri­er to the out­side world, and the innate immune sys­tem ( the part of our immune sys­tem that we are born with, that responds quickly to “ for­eign invaders” such as bac­teria or vir­uses on the sur­face ) is also found in the lungs and the gastrointest­in­al tract
  2. The skin and the gastrointest­in­al tract “com­mu­nic­ate with one anoth­er”
  3. If we can influ­ence the gastrointest­in­al tract by emphas­iz­ing anti-inflam­mat­ory and immune-sta­bil­iz­ing mech­an­isms, then we can improve the skin indir­ectly even when using med­ic­a­tions on the skin sur­face.

There are sev­er­al anti-inflam­mat­ory and immune-medi­at­ing things that can sup­port our immune sys­tem and in turn, our skin from a deep­er level. High potency omega-3 fish oil, excel­lent and spe­cif­ic pro­bi­ot­ic strains ( good bac­teria ), and vit­am­in D can get us star­ted on improved health. Also, a more sup­port­ive diet for skin con­di­tions which I will elab­or­ate on in a future post. There are many causes and trig­gers for atop­ic dermatit­is, how­ever think­ing below the sur­face of the skin is really the best way to get long-term relief.

I will con­tin­ue to dis­cuss more over the com­ing months — stay tuned.

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