5 Benefits Of A Holistic Skin Consultation


It can be a daunting experience starting a new treatment.  

 “Will it work this time?”  “How much will it cost?”  “What will I have to change?”

These are all valid questions we deserve to have answered before we commit to a new therapy and practitioner.  Whilst there are no guarantees, knowing what to expect can help make the process that little bit easier and put in place some realistic expectations.

Many patients who decide to take a more holistic approach to their skin treatment often share a similar story of past experience, some of which include;

  • “I’ve tried everything and nothing worked”
  • “I just didn’t feel listened too”
  • “I’m concerned about the side effects”

Whatever the story, the motivation behind taking more holistic approach is to find a safe, effective and natural treatment which takes into consideration the whole person and not just the symptoms.

When it comes to the skin, a holistic approach can have many benefits, including;

1. Getting to the root cause:  Chronic skin conditions can have multiple triggers, including those coming from inside and outside the body.  Addressing the triggers as well as the skin itself, helps to get to the root cause, ensuring longer lasting results

2. A treatment designed for you:  A key benefit of a holistic approach is that it takes into consideration the uniqueness of the individual being treated.  Therefore, instead of a one size fits all approach, treatments can be customised according to your needs

3. Feel listened to: Holistic consultations typically allow for longer appointment times so that a thorough examination can take place and your story can be heard.  After all, you know your body better than anyone and therefore sharing your story can provide key insights for your practitioner

4. Promote healing, naturally:  Holistic treatments typically take a more natural approach, utilizing nutritional, herbal, dietary and lifestyle medicines to not only promote healing but to restore balance and strength to the body’s systems

5. Feel empowered:  A holistic practitioner aims to empower the patient with knowledge, so that they can not only understand the nature of their condition better, but also play a key role in managing, preventing and healing the condition going forward.  Often patients with chronic skin conditions feel powerless and that their body is ‘broken’ or misbehaving in some way.  The alternative perspective is that your body is simply reacting in a protective manner in response to your current environment.  By understanding your body’s needs you can make more informed decisions and take back that control over your health.  

Psoriasis Eczema Clinic is a leading holistic skin clinic Melbourne.  For further enquiries please contact reception on (03) 9770 5337.

Topical Steroids: Are they safe long term?

Topical Steroids: Are they safe long term?

An Natural Health Practitioner’s Perspective

Written by Jessica Simonis – BHScNutMed, AdDipWHM

Topical Steroids (TS) are one of the most frequently prescribed treatments in Dermatology. Their fast acting, anti-inflammatory actions make them popular treatments for patients and prescribers alike.  They are typically prescribed as a short-term treatment to assist with the management of an acute flare. However, in many cases this becomes extended, or the original prescription strengthened if the desired results aren’t achieved.   Many patients prescribed ongoing topical steroids are often concerned about the long term safety and potential side effects.

So what are the risks associated with ongoing TS use how can you avoid them?

Like any medication, Topical Steroid use comes with a list of potential side effects.  These can be short term or long term and often depend on the type of TS you have been prescribed, the frequency and duration of use and the body location they have been applied to.  Understanding the signs and symptoms of TS side effects can be useful in preventing a negative outcome and ensuring that you are getting the most beneficial treatment for your condition.

What are the different types of TS?

TS are classified according to strength:

Class I – super potent – (Clobetasol propionate)

Class II – potent (desoximetasone)

Class III – upper-mid strength (amcinonide)

Class IV – Mid strength (flurandrenolide)

Class V – Lower-mid strength (fluticasone propionate)

Class VI – Mild (Betamethasone valerate)

Class VII – least potent (hydrocortisone)

Why does body site matter?

Different body sites have different skin thickness and therefore absorption rates of topical treatment.  Therefore, stronger TS are typically reserved for areas of thicker skin such as the palms and soles and should be avoided near thin areas of skin such as around the eyes or in young children.

How long should you use TS?

This very much depends on what they have been prescribed for and therefore your prescribing practitioner will advise you on the best course of action.  General recommendations suggest that TS treatment should last no longer than 2 weeks on the face and 3-4 weeks for the rest of the body.  For longer treatment, intermittent therapy such as ‘every other day’ application is advised.  Long term continuous topical therapy use should be avoided where possible, particularly in children.

What are the possible side effects?

  • Skin atrophySkin atrophy, or thinning, is one of the most frequently occurring side effects of long-term TS treatment.  Visible signs can include broken capillaries, stretch marks, and easy tearing or bruising of the skin.  The skin barrier becomes more permeable and can result in lipid content depletion.  Short term skin atrophy changes can be reversed, whilst long term, such as stretch marks may be permanent.
  • TS ResistanceIt is frequently reported that loss of clinical improvement can occur after a period of use.  Recent research suggests this could be due to the presence of bacterial toxins in the skin known as superantigens
  • Topical Steroid Withdrawal – also known as “steroid addiction”, TSW can present with symptoms of significant skin redness, burning sensations, pain, pruritus, heat exacerbation scaling and/or oedema.  The skin goes through continuous cycles of redness and then scaling (also known as erythematous-desquamation-resolution cycle), similar to that of a skin burn.  This condition can be severe and may require medical monitoring for hydration and infection.
  • Skin Inflammation/infection – The use of TS has been associated with the initiation and/or exacerbation of various skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, perioral dermatitis and skin infections.  Correct diagnosis and prescribing helps to avoid this scenario.

I think I have TS side effects, what should I do?

Firstly it is important to discuss this with your prescribing doctor so it can be documented.  If it is decided that you will withdraw from TS use, a safe withdrawal plan is advised.  Abrupt withdrawal can lead to rebound flares, which can be more severe than the original skin condition.

I would prefer to take a natural approach – will this still work?

Natural treatment approaches are best used in chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis and vitiligo. Typically they are most suited to those who are unresponsive to conventional treatments or where conventional treatments are contraindicated or not the preferred treatment option for the patient (yes, you have the right to make an informed choice).  In the case of a natural treatment approach, it is recommended you see a professional who specializes in the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) for the treatment of chronic skin conditions.  A CAM practitioner can also safely integrate conventional treatments in with natural treatments when required.

Steroid-Free Treatments for Chronic Skin Conditions:

At the PEC our unique treatment protocols combine the best of both a conventional medical understanding with evidence-based natural medicines for the treatment of chronic skin diseases.  We pride ourselves on our holistic approach which focuses on treating the whole person, including the symptoms, underlying triggers and other conditions associated with your condition.  All treatments are steroid-free and use natural ingredients which not only promote healing of disease but also improve the overall health of your skin.

For enquiries, contact the clinic on 03) 9770 5337.

How does collagen help skin health?

How does collagen help skin health?

Jessica Simonis – Nutritionist and Western Herbalist

Collagen is a protein and a vital ‘building-block’ of skin and joints. For this reason has become a popular supplement in the health and beauty industry. So how does collagen help with skin health? In today’s blog we will break down the facts about collagen and whether this latest craze is really worth the hype.

Skin benefits of collagen

Translating to the word “glue” in Greek, collagen has been well known for its role in tissue renewal and wound repair for many years. Some other skin benefits of collagen can include;

  • improved skin structure
  • Improved skin hydration
  • Improved skin elasticity

For those with chronic skin conditions, wound repair is an important part of healing and therefore optimal nutrition is essential to help restore healthy barrier function. Whilst collagen supplementation is lacking research in regards to specific skin conditions, having enough protein in your diet to support healthy skin function is a good place to start.

How do you know if you are getting enough collagen?

The human body has the ability to self-regulate collagen production. Therefore, a healthy individual will typically have enough collagen to maintain good skin and joint health, simply by eating a healthy balanced diet. However, during times of increased emotional and/or physical stress, the body’s ability to supply enough collagen can be impaired. *For other ways in which stress can affect your nutrition – see here.

Other factors that can increase demand in collagen can include:

  • Low protein diets
  • Conditions affecting digestion or absorption (eg. coeliac disease)
  • Certain medications (eg. antacids or protein pump inhibitors)
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • If you have a chronic, inflammatory skin or joint condition which requires ongoing repair

If you say yes to any of the above, chances are you could do with some extra collagen.

So, should you join the collagen powder craze?

Not necessarily.

Collagen proteins come from both animal and plant sources and therefore a balanced diet, rich in proteins will generally supply you with what you need. One of the richest sources of collagen is bone broth, a traditional food that is both nourishing and restoring. The perfect remedy for skin repair!

For vegetarians and vegans, it is recommended to eat a balanced diet including legumes, nuts, seeds and dairy (if tolerated). Where diet is insufficient, spirulina is a great supplement rich in vitamins, minerals and plant proteins. *See here for more science behind the health benefits of spirulina.

To conclude, collagen forms plays an important role in skin health and adequate amounts of collagen can be obtained by consuming a healthy balanced diet. In cases where diet is inadequate or demand is high, dietary supplements such as spirulina or collagen powders may be of benefit.

For the best advice on natural psoriasis and eczema treatments in Melbourne, contact our friendly reception staff on 03) 9770 5337.