The Skin Microbiome – what is it and how to keep it healthy?

The Skin Microbiome – what is it and how to keep it healthy?

When the skin is healthy, it is covered by a diverse mix of microbes, including bacteria, viruses and fungi.  When in balance, these microbes have a symbiotic relationship with our body and interact with our genes to support immunity, barrier function and to help protect against disease.

In skin conditions such as eczema, the microbiome loses this diversity and becomes imbalanced.  These imbalances can affect immunity and barrier function, resulting in inflammation of the skin.  

So what can we do to keep our skin microbiome healthy and reduce the risk of eczema flares?

The good news is there are some simple dietary and lifestyle changes we can make that can make all the difference:

  • Time to get dirty– hygiene has its benefits but also its drawbacks.  Excessive cleanliness can reduce our exposure to diverse microbes, especially in the beginning stages of life.  Research shows that early exposure to animals, fresh plant foods and outdoor time can have a positive impact on our immune system and reduce risk of allergic diseases such as eczema.
  • Nourish your bugs– microbes won’t feed themselves.  Good bacteria rely on their host (that’s you) to eat a healthy diet to survive.  Plant foods in particular help to nourish the good bacteria, which means an extra  serve of fruit and veg a day can make all the difference
  • Put back what you take out– there may be times where your diet and lifestyle are less than ideal and may include foods or medications which reduce microbial diversity, such as alcohol, processed foods and antibiotics.   During these times it may be beneficial to top up your good bugs with a probiotic until you are back on board with steps 1 and 2!

For further information on the skin microbiome and how it can affect your eczema, contact the Psoriasis Eczema Clinic – the centre for Complementary and Alternative treatments for eczema Melbourne.

5 Benefits Of A Holistic Skin Consultation

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.

Celery Juice – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Celery Juice – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Celery Juice is the new “it” trend in health and wellness, but does it really live up to its reputation when it comes to skin health?

Who could have thought so much hype could surround the humble old celery stick? Until recently, celery has been the perfect platter veggie, the cracker replacement when you are in a healthy conscious state of mind. Now, celery is on trend and hailed by celebrities far and wide as the cure-all for chronic disease. Let’s dissect fact from fiction and see if this new trend has much to offer when it comes to improving skin health.

In the context of “food as medicine”, celery is considered a ‘cooling’ vegetable, which is handy given it is a great addition to a summer salad. ‘Cooling’ foods are considered particularly beneficial for ‘hot’ skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, certain types of psoriasis and eczema. ‘Hot’ skin conditions tend to present with significant redness and inflammation of the skin. According to Traditional Medical Systems such as Ayurvedic Medicine, celery is said to possess many medicinal qualities, some of which include;

  • Enhances digestion
  • Supports Liver detoxification
  • Purifies blood
  • Reduces excessive appetite
  • Promotes elimination of uric acid
  • Relaxes the nerves
  • Neutralises acids
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Maintains healthy  joints
  • Acts as a diuretic

Sounds pretty good so far.

Nutritionally, celery provides a dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Sodium, Silica and Folate as well as fibre if you are eating it raw (not juicing). Celery also contains additional antioxidants which have their own medicinal benefits.

Ok, so far we haven’t really found a reason NOT to eat it, so are there any down sides?

Apart from a rare group of people who may have an allergy to celery, most people can benefit from consuming celery in their daily diet. Despite being known for its liver supportive properties, celery is also one of the most highly pesticide-sprayed vegetables, and therefore taking care to adequately wash before use, choosing organic celery or growing yourself is advised if you wish to consume frequently. Celery is also very low in calories, which is beneficial for those wishing to lose but no so much for those who are underweight if it is at the expense of more calorie rich foods (*Quick fix – just add nut butter!).

So what is our official verdict here at the PEC? Celery is a fantastic addition to your daily diet, particularly if you suffer from a chronic, inflammatory skin condition.

Professor Tirant contributes to “Renew your body” feature article-Wellbeing Magazine

Feature article-Wellbeing Magazine

Professor Tirant has contributed to a special report on “Renewing your body” in the latest edition of Wellbeing Magazine. “Skin cells are in a constant state of renewal” Prof. Tirant says. “Free radicals, DNA damage and inflammation severely reduce the skin’s ability to regenerate”. Following steps such as getting enough sunlight (but not too much), antioxidants, hydration, nutrition, exercise and relaxation in your life can go a long way to improve signs and symptoms of skin conditions. For an optimal skin care regime, customization works best. Due to different skin types, conditions, presentations, ethnicity and environments, there is no one size fits all approach. For your copy of the magazine, see here:https://www.wellbeing.com.au/

Circadian Rhythm and Chronic Skin Conditions – What’s the link?

Circadian Rhythm and Chronic Skin Conditions

Keeping a chronic skin condition stable when your hormones are running wild can feel like a constant uphill battle.  Not only do we have fluctuating male and female hormones to contend with, but there are stress hormones, sleep hormones and glucose regulating hormones to name a few, all of which work together to create our natural internal rhythm or “circadian clock”.

When we are in balance, our circadian rhythm responds to external cues appropriately.  For example, we are energetic during the day light, sleepy at sun down, hungry during the middle of the day and if female, menstruating in a 4 weekly pattern.   In modern day life, where blue lit screens are often the last thing we see before bed, gyms are open 24/7 and the working day starts and finishes in the dark, it’s no wonder our rhythms go awry. 

So how does this affect the skin?

 Like many organs, the skin is regulated by a central clock known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus which receives light through the retina and passes messages along to other internal clocks via neural and hormonal pathways. It also has its own internal clock system which regulates changes in activity according to the time of day.  For instance, research has shown skin to do the majority of DNA and cellular repair work during the night time.  Skin cells also divide and proliferate more at night, are less hydrated, more acidic and at a slightly higher temperature than during the day, often setting the scene for an uncomfortable night’s sleep for many eczema and psoriasis sufferers.

What can you do to regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your skin?

It’s all in the timing:  Research has shown that the application of topical skin treatments is best timed at night to not only help alleviate the symptoms but to also help optimize repair at a time where the skin needs it most.

Routine, routine, routine:  A regular routine is essential to a healthy circadian and hormonal rhythm.  Chronic disruption to routine such as through shift work, irregular eating patterns or frequent travel can contribute towards flares.  Do your best to time activities within your control, such as regular meal times, breathing exercises, and limiting blue light exposure and/or caffeine before sleep.

Rise with the sun:  The best way to reset your rhythm is to rise with the sun.  Get your 15 minutes of vitamin D exposure and enjoy what nature has to offer before – there’s no better way to start your day. =2