By Sue Ingebretson
Have you ever had a rash, bug bite, blemish, blister, or dry flakes on your skin? For some of us with fibromyalgia and chronic illness, skin issues are a common (and annoying) occurrence. Dealing with the pain and fatigue of chronic health challenges causes us to prioritize our problems. We may put lesser issues on the back burner. Unfortunately, symptoms thought of as minor are put off because major symptoms get the lion’s share of attention.
But, can skin issues indicate dangerous concerns that shouldn’t be ignored?
Whether itchy, bumpy, scaly, or painful, skin concerns can serve as an indicator that there is something that’s attention worthy. Like the Check Engine light on your car, your skin is an early warning system designed to let you know that something is out of balance.
Why is the fibromyalgia body prone to skin issues?
If you have a fibromyalgia diagnosis, you won’t be surprised to hear that your body is hyper-sensitive to your surroundings. You’re probably more sensitive than the average person to environmental chemicals, food additives, artificial fragrances, glaring or flashing lights, and loud noises.
If I wanted to get esoteric, I could point out that you’re also more likely to be hyper-sensitive to the moods, energies, and intentions of others. But that’s a topic for another day.
This article focuses specifically on the hyper-sensitivities affecting the skin.
What we eat, wear, breathe, and absorb affects us at a cellular level. It then spreads throughout the body – either promoting balanced health or the potential for illness.
When the body is compromised (as is the fibromyalgia body), it’s no longer healthy and balanced. Symptoms begin to emerge. Various systems of the body begin to show signs of imbalance which can ultimately lead to the skin.
To view nearly 100 of these symptoms, review this article, “Do You Have These Fibromyalgia Symptoms of Systemic Dysfunction?” and see if any of them (or perhaps many of them) look familiar to you.
You may notice that quite a number of these symptoms relate to the skin. Fibrofolk are super-sensitive souls – and that’s a good thing! Many people apply chemically toxic sunscreens and drink beverages laced with artificial sweeteners and seemingly get by unscathed. But that’s not so. Their bodies simply haven’t demonstrated the effects of these toxins in a way that’s apparent – yet.
But the super-sensitive among us become symptomatic from various triggers, either right away or later as the cumulative effect of toxic exposures builds. It’s a good thing to know what exposures are potentially harmful and our skin is one way to monitor this tendency.
You may consider bragging about it in this way….
super power, what’s yours?
My cousin, who makes her own skin care products, often comes across people who lament about their sensitive skin. She tells them how lucky they are. When they respond with incredulity, she says, “You’re lucky that when it comes to skin care products, your skin is telling you what to use and what to avoid. And, your skin may indicate that something else is wrong, too.”
What’s your skin trying to tell you?
Skin issues can occur from topical exposures to elements that cause an allergic or sensitive reaction.
Topical/Environmental causes may include:
- Bug bites and stings
- Clothing, blankets, sleepwear, etc.
- Detergents, soaps, shampoos, etc.
- Plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, grasses, stinging nettle, etc.
- Metals such as nickel found in jewelry, glasses, and dental appliances
- Herbicides, pesticides, solvents, etc.
- Inks/dyes including those use for hair, tattoos, and hennas
- Health and beauty products including cosmetics
- Tick-related infections (Lyme disease)
It may surprise you to learn that many common skin issues result from internal systemic problems that find their way to the surface. These problems may include:
- Yeast, candida, fungus, and/or bacterial overgrowth
- Food sensitivities and food allergies
- Dietary malnourishment/malabsorption
- Leaky gut
- Chemical toxicity from foods, medications, skin care products
- An impaired immune system
- Impaired organs and glands including thyroid, adrenals, liver, kidneys, etc.
- Viral / bacterial infections
When it comes to skin issues that stem from systemic internal problems, it’s always a good idea to approach them from both an internal and external perspective. For example, addressing food sensitivities can improve acne, rashes, and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. And, applying natural remedies topically can help to soothe the skin and help it to heal.
for systemic causes of skin issues.
The following topical remedies can be very helpful, but be sure to address any potential underlying causes at the same time. Topical remedies alone cannot overcome the root causes of systemic problems.
The benefits of natural remedies
Pre-packaged skin care remedies are expensive. And, while they may have one or two active ingredients to solve one problem, the “inactive” ingredients can often trigger others. Preservatives, artificial fragrances, dyes, thickeners, stabilizers, foaming agents, etc. are used in skin care products in order to make them look, feel, appear, and smell the way you expect. They’re also manufactured to stay shelf-stable for months or even years.
The very ingredients that keep something “fresh” in the tube for years on end can very well make you ill.
As with anything you eat or drink, it’s important to read the label. Here are just a very few (there are many more!) ingredients to avoid:
- SLS/SLES (sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate)
- Artificial colors
- Propylene glycol
It’s time to stop dumping toxic chemicals onto (and into!) your body through packaged and prepared products containing chemical-based toxic ingredients. Especially when it’s so cost-effective and simple to stir up natural remedies in the comfort of your home.
If you deal with frequent skin issues, what sort of remedies have you tried? Some remedies are meant to cover up or slow down the progression of the problem. Other remedies are meant to heal the problem at its root cause.
Natural home remedies often tackle the problems they address at the root cause. They can be made with simple ingredients in small batches. This means, fresh and natural ingredients go to work right away to help your skin overcome its challenge.
There’s no question that store-bought medicated remedies can work fast. Natural solutions may take some time to work (although some do take effect right away), but they oftentimes work to heal the systemic cause of the issue as well as the topical concern.
the body’s innate healing ability.
Many natural ingredients help the body to restore a primary state of wellness. They help to balance the skin’s natural pH levels and moisture levels. As your body’s largest organ, your skin plays a vital role in your overall wellbeing. Healthy, unbroken skin is designed to act as a barrier against bacteria and infection-causing agents, and allow for proper detoxification (through sweat) of internal toxins.
While the remedies listed below may not replace every lotion, salve, or ointment you own, the money savings tips are sure to benefit you – even if you try just a few.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Just because the ingredients in the following remedies are natural, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically free from possible irritations for your skin. We’re each unique and your skin has a personalized threshold of what works best for you.
It’s advisable to test any remedy you make on a small patch of skin, first. This is particularly true for ingredients that you’ve never before used topically. Also, sensitive skin can’t tolerate frequent use of any remedy. Use these remedies as needed and refrain from overuse.
Top 8 Natural Remedies for Healthy Skin
1) Lip Dryness Exfoliator
You’ve probably heard of the benefits of skin exfoliation, but have you ever tried it for your lips? Lips can become chapped, dry, and flakey from dietary issues, candida overgrowth, and medication side effects. Try this exfoliation remedy to slough off dead skin and rejuvenate your lips.
Mix ¾ tsp extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil, ¼ tsp fresh coffee grounds, ¼ tsp Celtic sea salt. Add more coffee grounds and salt if mixture is too runny.
(NOTE: If your room temperature is warm enough to liquefy your coconut oil, you may wish to place a small amount in your refrigerator to allow it to slightly solidify.)
Rub the mixture over the lips in small circular motions with a dry washcloth and let it sit for a few minutes. Wash off with a warm washcloth and apply more coconut oil to moisturize.
2) Acne/Blemish Remedy
Mix together a small amount of brewer’s yeast powder, a smidge of water, and a squeeze of lemon juice into a paste.
Add more powder or more liquids to get the right consistency. Apply this paste over the blemish and leave for 10 minutes or so. You may leave it uncovered or apply a bandage for a more intense treatment.
Rinse off and wash your face as usual.
3) Rash Remedy
Mix 1 tsp ground cinnamon powder (NOT cinnamon oil) and 1 tsp lemon juice. Optional: add a drop or two of pure lavender essential oil. Mix into a paste and apply to affected areas. Let it sit 15 minutes and rinse.
If the rash does not improve, try other one-ingredient remedies such as applying pure aloe vera, or an oatmeal paste, or dabbing on diluted apple cider vinegar.
4) Yeast/Candida/Fungus Remedy
Skin manifestations of candida overgrowth can appear in warm areas of the body such as underarms, around the waistline, or where skin folds such as under the breasts for women. Cracked lips (especially at the sides) can also indicate yeast/candida infections.
Blend a few drops of tea tree (melaleuca) pure essential oil and lavender pure essential oil with a good carrier oil such as extra virgin, unrefined coconut or argan oil. (Coconut oil is known for its antifungal properties.) This remedy is for external use.
Apply to affected area and let the oils absorb. Don’t use around or near the eyes and make sure to also address the candida overgrowth issue through dietary protocols.
5) Psoriasis/Eczema Remedy
Soothe itchy, dry, and scaly skin by applying extra virgin unrefined coconut oil. Rub onto the skin using dime-sized dabs as needed to cover problem areas. It will absorb quickly and improvements may be seen within a few days to a few weeks. Of course, if the problem areas worsen, discontinue use.
Weeping or open skin sores from psoriasis or eczema may do better with drying remedies rather than moisturizing remedies. Simple sprays can be made with ¾ cup warmed distilled water, 1 Tbl Celtic sea salt, ½ tsp Epsom salts, and an (optional) drop or two of lavender essential oil. Add this to a small spray bottle and shake until salt is dissolved. Spray onto the skin and allow to dry.
6) Face Mask for Dry Skin
To reduce the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles, and typical signs of aging skin, try this easy to make face mask.
Mash ½ medium avocado. Add 1 Tbl extra virgin, unrefined olive oil, 1 Tbl raw organic honey, a squirt of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and 1 egg white (optional).
Apply a thin layer of this mixture all over the face (carefully avoiding the eyes). Leave it on until dry, and then rinse off with warm water.
No time to make this recipe? Get a quick hydrating facial by simply applying the mashed avocado alone.
7) Facial Scrub Remedy
To create a quick and easy facial scrub, mix together 2 tsp Celtic sea salt and 4 tsp raw organic honey.
Apply the scrub to the face with a warm, damp wash cloth using small circular motions. Do this gently! Wash as usual and apply your favorite moisturizer when finished.
Try this scrub on your hands and feet, too.
8) Toenail Fungus Remedy
Although this recipe is not technically skin-related, I wanted to include this as toenail fungus is common for those with immune system challenges and chronic illness. Why? For the same reason as many of the other health challenges listed above, an internal imbalance such as candida overgrowth can manifest external issues such as toenail fungus.
Be sure to address food sensitivity issues, leaky gut, and candida issues simultaneously through dietary measures along with topical treatments to make sure that the root cause is addressed.
Mix a drop or two of pure tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil to a small amount of extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil. Apply to the affected toenail(s) with a cotton ball. Apply morning and evening until you see improvement.
For stubborn infections, try adding a few drops of oregano essential oil to the recipe.
Which of these recipes will you try first?
Looking for solutions in your own cupboards rather than on the pharmacy shelves can help you save time and money – not to mention help your body restore its natural state of balance.
Top 10 Tea Tree Oil Uses and Benefits
10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid
8 Natural Recipes for Amazing Skin from a Plastic Surgeon
6 Rash Natural Remedies
13 Best Ingredeients for Your Natural Skin Care Ritual
DIY Skin Care – Natural Home Remedies Found in Your Pantry
27 Home Remedies for Treating Rashes
Sea Salt Spray for Healthy Skin
Sue Ingebretson is the Natural Healing Editor for ProHealth.com as well as a frequent contributor to ProHealth's Fibromyalgia site. She’s an Amazon best-selling author, speaker, and workshop leader. Additionally, Sue is an Integrative Nutrition & Health Coach, a Certified Nutritional Therapist, a Master NLP Practitioner, and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. You can find out more and contact Sue at www.RebuildingWellness.com.
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