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 Natural Psoriasis Treatments You Can Try At Home Today
Psoriasis is best known as a skin condition however it can also be considered a systemic illness due to the involvement of the immune system, joints, nails and comorbidities such as heart disease, obesity and depression. Most treatments target the skin which can be effective at providing relief. However, for longer lasting results, it is also important to address the internal factors that drive the condition.
Psoriasis can benefit greatly from a holistic approach that takes into consideration the total impact of the condition, including mental, physical, social, emotional and financial wellbeing. This is why diet, lifestyle and other natural psoriasis treatments can play such an important role in the treatment and management of this condition. Better yet, many of these treatments are inexpensive, can be found around the home and are readily available for all to try; so why not start today?!
Ditch the fats – obesity is not only a risk factor for psoriasis flares but psoriasis is also a risk factor for obesity. Research has showed that psoriasis patients may have poor tolerance of foods high in saturated fatty acids – such as fried foods, processed foods and high fat animal produce. Instead evidence supports high intake of veggies and fresh fish.
Salty skin – If you have psoriasis, then you may have experienced that it often improves with the sun and salt (aka ocean swimming). Another word for this is ‘thalassotherapy’ and you can introduce this into your skin care routine by having an Epsom salt bath 1-2 times per week. Just add 2 cups to your next warm bath and soak away. Helps with stress too!
Huff and puff – We know exercise is good for us, but it is especially good for psoriasis. Research has shown that vigorous exercise for up to 3 hours per week can help to reduce the risk of psoriasis. Some examples of beneficial exercises include jogging, dancing, bike riding, walking up hills, aerobics, skipping rope and sports like football and tennis. For those prone to friction and injury as a trigger of their psoriasis, it is best to avoid exercises such as rowing or contact sports.
A little ray goes a long way – As we spend more and more time indoors, our skin often misses out on receiving its daily dose of vitamin d, a key player in regulating psoriasis inflammation. To get your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, aim for 15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin during low UVB times (mid-morning or late afternoon). Leave at dawn and get home at dust? No problems – just roll your sleeves up and enjoy your lunch break outside. If UVB is strong, limit exposure to about 5 minutes.
Turn wine into water – Psoriasis causes very dry, flaky skin that sheds frequently. Staying hydrated helps to keep your skin hydrated and improves skin barrier function. On the other hand, frequent or excess alcohol consumption has been strongly linked to psoriasis severity as well as association nutrient deficiency, liver damage and obesity. Why not challenge yourself to 4 weeks alcohol free and instead replace it with 2L water daily.
Sometimes the simplest of changes can make the biggest difference!
The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic is a leading clinic offering Complementary and Alternative therapies for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea and other chronic skin complaints. With over 30 years of clinical practice, we are recognized for our effective natural psoriasis treatments Australia wide.
The keto diet is one of the most popular diets for those trying to lose excess fat. It is also well known for its positive health benefits for conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. But how does the evidence stack up when it comes to the keto diet and psoriasis?
Given psoriasis is associated with increased rates of metabolic syndrome and obesity, one might assume that any successful weight loss regime is a good one. However, a recent study has shown this may not be the case when it comes to keto.
According to co-lead investigator, Barbara Kofler PhD, it’s all in the types of fats. A well balanced keto diet rich in long chain triglycerides such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocado, did not worsen skin inflammation, however it also did not improve the skin. In addition to this, a keto diet rich in medium chain triglycerides such as coconut oil, increased skin inflammation.
The other concern over keto diets and psoriasis is when they are not followed consistently. High fat consumption combined with substantial carbohydrate consumption was also shown to promote the progression of psoriasis- like skin inflammation as well as spontaneous dermatitis in mice.
Several other studies on diet and psoriasis have also confirmed high fat intake to worsen psoriasis inflammation, such as the amounts associated with the typical Western Diet.
So what is the best diet for psoriasis? Our PEC nutritionist recommends those with psoriasis to follow a modified Mediterranean style diet with plenty of olive oil, fresh fish and plant foods and less processed foods and animal proteins such as eggs and meat. Read more about the benefits of fresh fish and psoriasis here
Felix Locker, Julia Leitner, Sepideh Aminzadeh-Gohari, Daniela D. Weber, Philippe Sanio, Andreas Koller, René Günther Feichtinger, Richard Weiss, Barbara Kofler, Roland Lang. The Influence of Ketogenic Diets on Psoriasiform-Like Skin Inflammation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.jid.2019.07.718
Since checking in with you last the clinic has been open, closed and open again! No matter what comes our way in 2021, we are pleased to offer our patients consistency of care via our Telehealth and postal services. This has provided convenience and flexibility during lockdowns but also helps us to care for our distance patients around Australia and the globe, from Ireland all the way to Qatar.
For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, we hope you have all had a restful summer, with some time to recuperate from 2020, For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, we hope you are keeping safe and warm as this cold snap passes through.
At the PEC, we now look towards Autumn, a transition season which allows us to prepare for the more extreme changes of weather to come. The theme of this months newsletter is therefore PREPARATION. If your skin typically flares in the winter or summer, now is the time to take preventative steps to build and strengthen your immunity and skin barrier function. A combination of self care, a great topical therapy routine (we have you covered) and functional foods (see below tips) should see you fully prepared for a healthy and happy Autumn/winter season.
Jessica Simonis – PEC Practitioner/Manager
Functional Foods for Stronger Immunity
If you have skin disease, then you also have immune imbalance. Your immune system, when in good health, is your defense against injury (think scratching), toxins and infection. In chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema, your immune system is chronically activated against a perceived or actual threat. This constant state of activation increases the demand for energy and nutrients, making it even more important to consume a balanced, nutrient-rich diet in order to support optimal immune cell function.
Functional foods are foods that have demonstrated positive health effects, beyond basic nutrition. They can promote enhancement of well-being, improve quality of life and/or reduce risk of disease. Best of all they are foods which can (and should) be consumed as part of your everyday diet.
Here are our top 3 functional food suggestions to get your immune system in top shape this Autumn.
1) Dietary fibre –Found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains, dietary fibre supports the immune system by helping to regulate intestinal bacterial balance and gut barrier function. This has shown to reduce allergic inflammation (great for eczema)
2) Home grown fruit and veg – Nothing tastes quite as good as your own home-grown food. Not only is it rewarding to spend time in nature, but home grown food is also free of herbicides and pesticides. It also hasn’t been frozen, cooked or radiated. In other words, it is in its natural state with all the beneficial nutrients and microbes to help encourage a diverse microbiome and healthy immune system. Eat a mix of raw and cooked plant foods for full benefits.
3) Eat ‘Mediterranean style’ – There is a reason why the Mediterranean Diet is one of the most researched diets for inflammatory conditions. With a focus on plant oils, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fish, this diet is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds including essential fatty acids and polyphenols. NB Skip the red wine and tomatoes if your skin is itchy!
Make it your goal to eat more immune building, functional foods this Autumn
Meet our newest team member – Susan!
We feel very lucky to have Susan join us as part of the PEC Team. She brings with her a great deal of warmth and empathy, as well as a wealth of knowledge from her many years of experience as a qualified natural health practitioner and educator. Susan will be working in reception and dispensary.
Product Special- 5 + 1 FREE
Our Moisturising Bar has been one of our most popular clinic products for decades and has more recently become a top seller through our Soratinex OTC range – no surprises there. If you haven’t tried it, you are seriously missing out.
Soratinex Moisturizing Bar is a gentle soap and shampoo alternative, perfect for those with sensitive skin of the body and scalp. Rich in natural oils and antioxidants, this luxurious Bar gently cleanses whilst nourishing the hair and skin. Contains Vitamin E, Lavender oil, Sweet almond oil, Evening Primrose oil, Avocado oil and Chamomile Oil. Clinical trials have shown these ingredients help promote the healing of dry, rough and flaky skin.
We have a 5+ 1 Free offer on this product, only available through clinic purchases. Replace your current body wash/soap with the Moisturising bar and you will help improve your skins lipid profile and reduce dryness as you prepare for weather changes ahead.
Purchase in clinic or place your order by phone – 03) 9770 5337 or email – email@example.com.
Key Dates to Remember
Monday 8th March – Clinic Closed for Labour Day
Friday 2nd April – Clinic closed for Good Friday
Monday 5th April – Clinic closed for Easter Monday
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;
Supports Liver detoxification
Reduces excessive appetite
Promotes elimination of uric acid
Relaxes the nerves
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.