What are skin problems?
Skin problems are very common in children and may even be evident at birth due to some exposure or infection in utero. The early infant-toddler years are a risk period for diaper related skin problems, thrush and many skin disorders that develop due to many environmental exposures and immune related issues that young children may experience. Some common childhood skin problems may include:
- Diaper rash
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Fifth disease
- Rashes from bacterial or fungal infections
- Rashes from allergic reactions
What will your doctor tell you about skin problems?
If your skin problem is serious enough your doctor will tell you to see a dermatologist (specialist) who will be able to identify and treat difficult cases. In most cases your doctor will view your skin problems as a skin issue in isolation to anything else going on with your body. The treatment protocol may be topical creams or lotions and may require some removal such as warts or cysts. In more serious cases your doctor may suggest steroid or antibiotic creams to topically eliminate the problem. In the case of a rash developed from an allergy, your doctor may tell you that you have “contact dermatitis” which is the general name when the specifics are not understood and an antihistamine may be recommended.
Another way of thinking about skin problems:
Before treating skin symptoms with a steroid cream or other treatments that suppress the immune system, consider doing a little detective work to identify the root cause of the symptom or symptoms. Problems seen on the skin usually indicate one or more underlying imbalances that need to be addressed. Your skin is your body’s first line of defense. It is also a major excretory organ that your body uses to eliminate toxins. If you see skin symptoms it is a good indicator that your body is trying to eliminate something such as a toxin (chemical or microbial). It is also very common for heavy metal toxicity to show up on the skin. For example, arsenic contamination can result in keratosis pilaris which is yellow calluses on the feet and hands, split skin between the toes, or marks on the skin. Mercury poisoning can cause red rashes. Viral, bacterial and fungal infections can cause various types of rashes or may show up at the end of an acute illness. If a rash is persistent or is recurrent, it could be a chronic infection such as strep, Human Herpes Virus#6 (roseola) or Lyme disease and other vector-borne illnesses such as bartonella, babesia or erlichia. Persistent rashes are not normal and underlying causes should always be explored.
There can also be multiple causes for any given skin symptom. For example, peeling skin on the feet is often associated with a fungal infection but it can also be a sign of a chronic strep infection, which occurs when the immune system is overburdened and dysregulated. In order to eliminate skin problems it is important to address toxicity, yeast overgrowth and Candida, fungus and mold, parasites, viruses, bacteria, nutritional deficiencies and other imbalances that may be going on with the immune system.
Skin problem check list to start:
- Make dietary changes. Eat whole foods; buy organic. Remove all GMO, fast and processed foods and those with colors, artificial ingredients, preservatives, phenols, salicylates and inflammatory foods such as casein, gluten, soy. Strictly limit sugars, salt, and white refined carbohydrates. Join the Feingold Association www.feingold.org to learn more.
- Include plenty of good quality fats, such as coconut and olive oil, avocados, wild salmon, organic chicken and turkey, ghee, eggs, etc. including Essential Fatty Acids.
- Heal the gut with GAPS, PALEO, or GF/CF diets, a good probiotic, Keifer non dairy yogurt, digestive enzymes with DPPIV for gluten and casein sensitivities, zinc picolinate, coconut oil with MCT (medium chain triglycerides) and eating fermented vegetables and foods.
- Clean up your environment. Remove animals (both live and stuffed!), carpets. Use non-toxic cleaners, building materials. Green your home!
- Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests that give information about possible food sensitivities and allergies, Test for IgG,IgA,IgE and other testing could show deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, bacterial overgrowth and gluten and casein sensitivities.
- Use homeopathy specific for skin rhus tox, graphites and sulphur.
- Add fermented foods and probiotics daily to keep the gastrointestinal system and microbiome healthy and strong which in turn will keep the immune system strong. Eat keifer yogurts and fermented vegetables, umeboshi plums (very alkalizing) and miso soup. Some good probiotics are VSL#3, Gut Pro, Dr. Ohirra’s Live Cultured Probiotics, Garden of Life, and Culturelle.
- Digestive Enzymes such as betaine hydrochloric acid, Vitalzyme Complete with DPPIV for gluten and casein intolerances, proteolytic enzyme, BiCarb, bromelain and papaya.
- Use herbs, essential oils and natural supplements such as pycnogenol, garlic, ginger, micelized A (water soluable vitamin A), chlorophyll, beta-carotene, zinc, biosil, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, DMAE, selenium, vitamin E, aloe vera, chamomile, witch hazel, lavender, germanium, frankincense, tea tree oil, cypress, and jojoba.
- Take Vitamin D3, Vitamin C and sulphur – N’acetylcysteine (sulphur), MSM transdermal cream, vitamin C and Epsom Salt Baths to treat infections.
- See a well-trained acupuncturist to help treat the kidneys and liver which are the elimination organs to help the skin.
- See a NAET practitioner for an allergy elimination treatment to eliminate skin problems.
If you have addressed these issues and still have skin problems:
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- nutritional deficiencies
- microbial imbalances (and infections)
- immune system dysregulation
For further references:
da Costa Baptista IP, Accioly E, de Carvalho Padilha P. Effect of the use of probiotics in the treatment of children with atopic dermatitis; a literature review. Nutr Hosp. 2013;28(1):16-26 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23808426
Drago L, Toscano M, De Vecchi E, Piconi S, Iemoli E. Changing of fecal flora and clinical effect of L. salivarius LS01 in adults with atopic dermatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2012;46 Suppl:S56-63 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22955359
Eichenfield LF, Tom WL, Chamlin SL, Feldman SR, Hanifin JM, Simpson EL, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis: section 1. Diagnosis and assessment of atopic dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;70(2):338-51 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24290431
Oh SY, Chung J, Kim MK, Kwon SO, Cho BH. Antioxidant nutrient intakes and corresponding biomarkers associated with the risk of atopic dermatitis in young children. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(3):245-52 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20104235
Orivuori L, Mustonen K, de Goffau MC, Hakala S, Paasela M, Roduit C, et al. High level of fecal calprotectin at age 2 months as a marker of intestinal inflammation predicts atopic dermatitis and asthma by age 6. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25758537