If you’ve ever been plagued by a skin problem, you will know how annoying it can be. From being concerned about what it looks like (nobody really cares) and the itching, swelling and sometimes pain, skin problems are on the rise. This is thought to be in part, due to the added chemicals in our cosmetics, cleaning products and in life generally. Wearing organic cotton and hemp clothing is a good idea, as the fibres have not been treated with irritating chemicals.
The three main types of skin problems are acne, eczema and psoriasis. Let’s look at each, then discover a few natural helpers, that don’t require buying chemical concoctions from big beauty companies, often with irritating ingredients.
What Is Acne?
Acne is a very common skin condition, especially with teenagers and people in their 20s. And in pregnancy, when hormones go all over the place. Milder cases are usually about lots of blackheads and whiteheads, but serious cases can cause raised painful red cysts, similar to boils. Although most acne eventually goes away on its own, the risk is permanent scars, if too much damage is done to remove it.
The issue of using harsh acid products is that it tends to make the skin try to produce more oil, to compensate. It’s better to go gently and not wash your skin more than twice a day, avoid squeezing spots or blackheads and keeping your skin clear of make-up.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a common condition where the skin is red, dry and cracked. Very common in children, often it can be due to food allergies like dairy (even coming from breast milk). Again it often clears up on its own, but for those who have it long-term, it can flare up, especially when certain foods are eaten, or with stress. Most creams contain steroids.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is far less common (affecting around 2% of the population). It also has red flaky skin, but also there is a ‘crust’ with silvery scales. It is usually due to the skin overproducing skin cells (turning over every week, rather than every month as with normal skin). Believed to be an immunity issue, it can also be genetic. It is not contagious, so don’t avoid people with it, as it will just make them even more self-conscious. Again, steroids are often used.
Tips To Heal Problem Skin (naturally)
Most of these work for any of the above skin conditions and for others like rosacea. This is because rather than just ‘throwing stuff at your skin’, these are holistic methods that often work inside out, or to just let your skin work out how to heal itself. Common triggers for irritation are avoided in this list (like tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe vera and apple cider vinegar). These may work for some, but can actually make the problem worse for others. Don’t hit skin problems with a sledgehammer, use more gentle methods:
- Friendly Soaps’s Tea Tree & Turmeric Soap is free from animal ingredients and palm oil, and contains 2 ingredients to help acne. Or try their Charcoal Detox Bar.
- Purechimp Facial Oil is sold in a glass bottle, with 5% of profits helping to rescue apes from zoos, circuses and vivisection labs. It won’t clog your pores and is good to reduce inflammation.
- Eat a good diet of nourishing food and drink plenty of water to flush out your system. Drinking too much alcohol can give you a ‘flushed face’ that resembles acne. Try replacing dairy with plant milk and up your essential fatty acids with plant-based ones (you can buy algae supplements at NothingFishy).
- Use a gentle face cleanser, as harsh products will make your skin produce more oil to over-compensate. Try this for a month with nothing else, before looking to chemical products. Avoid items with too much scent (or any, if your skin is sensitive).
- Green tea won’t cure acne, but is good to reduce inflammation. Just apply the tea to your skin using a compress, then let it dry, before rinsing with water.
- Stress can trigger acne. So get a good night’s sleep and take up yoga and/or meditation.
- Cut out refined sugar, which has a high glycemic index. That’s why lots of people find that outbreaks are worse are drinking coke, or eating cake and chocolate.
- Add some oatmeal or baking soda to your bathwater.
- Sea salt in the air is good remedy, so take a walk by the beach.
- Read The Acne Diet by natural beauty expert Julie Gabriel. This book is packed with tips to use the power of food and natural skincare to help. Learn which foods to eat (and avoid) and how to make remedies using kitchen cupboard ingredients.
Healing Products for Problem Skin
- Lyonsleaf Calendula Cream make waterless creams, packed with rich plant oils and homegrown herbs. This tub has gamma linolenic acid (often lacking in people with eczema) and is also good for post-surgery and chemo/radiation, insect bites and nettle rash. Suitable for children over 3, avoid for allergies to nuts, daisy and aster. Not sterile so avoid near broken skin, mucous membranes and weak immune systems.
- Frogleaf is a natural blend of botanical plants formulated by scientists, which is used by thousands of people with eczema and similar skin problems. It’s made with hemp, chickweed, flower and chamomile, with lavender, rose and calendula.