However, skin diseases can be difficult to cope with and have a big psychological impact on patients. Even mild skin diseases can have an adverse effect and disrupt the enjoyment of life for those who have the diseases. Such disruption can range from embarrassment and concerns about self-image to low self-esteem and severe depression.
Patients with eczema, vitiligo, or psoriasis face embarrassment, worry, and depression. A survey of patients with psoriasis revealed that many deliberately avoid swimming. In addition, few wear short sleeves, shorts, or skirts because they feel that people regard them as 'untouchable' or 'contagious'. Playing sports is a problem for psoriasis sufferers. Children with psoriasis are more likely to be bullied. As adults, many with skin conditions have difficulty dating and finding friends.
We used to ignore flare-ups and work through the pain. It’s taken a long time for us to start prioritizing ourselves and our bodies, but we’re finally accepting that we need to take care of ourselves. We struggle to put ourselves first, but when it comes to skin conditions, we’ve learned that we have to.
Treatments can be frustrating and difficult
The treatment of skin disease can be complicated and will often place restrictions on the lives of those who have a skin disease. We know that we need to nourish our skin to keep it as healthy as possible.
Although sometimes necessary, creams and lotions are used as treatments. These can be hypoallergenic, unscented, and medicated. Not only can these be very messy to use by the patient, sometimes it is increasingly difficult to apply especially in hard to reach areas.
The effectiveness of topical treatments often depends on the patient as well. Some of the factors include skin thickness, skin barrier, absorption rate, even ingredient concentration:
Thin skin absorbs more than thick skin — skin thickness varies with body site, age and the specific skin disorder
Skin barrier function — this may be disrupted by dermatitis, ichthyosis, and keratolytic agents (such as salicylic acid), so it may absorb more medication than intact normal skin
The absorption of the active ingredient is greater where there is occlusion, such as in the skin folds, under dressings, or when a greasy, ointment formulation is used
Small molecules are more easily absorbed through the skin than large molecules
Lipophilic compounds are better absorbed than hydrophilic compounds
Higher concentrations of the active ingredient may penetrate more than lower concentrations
Other ingredients in the formulation may interact to increase or reduce potency or absorption rates.
Some topical treatments also have a white tint and unpleasant smell that comes with being medication. These hinder many patients from going out and even reduce their self-esteem and damage their mental well-being.
Unpleasant, expensive, and often difficult to apply, could these be the only treatment we can use for skin conditions?
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is good for our whole body, including our skin. The ideal way to get the nutrients we need for a radiant and clear complexion is eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C, E, and A can curb the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. These molecules can harm skin cells and cause signs of aging. One of the best ways to get more antioxidants is to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. But are we getting enough of the right nutrients from the foods we eat?
Could we benefit from taking a supplement or trying an antioxidant-packed lotion?
Another good idea is to stock your grocery cart with foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, including wild salmon, sardines, fortified eggs, and walnuts.
We suggest taking an over-the-counter daily multivitamin with minerals to boost our nutrient intake if we're not eating a balanced diet. It's also a good idea if we spend a lot of time outdoors or are exposed to high levels of air pollution and secondhand smoke.
Overall, promoting healthy skin with diet is all about adopting good nutritional habits.
The studies on diet and skin don’t reveal anything we don’t already know. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are good for us, skin included. Superfoods appear to reduce inflammation and decrease the likelihood of flare-ups.
There is no exact definition of what makes a “superfood.” However, superfoods are considered to be nutrient powerhouses that provide large quantities of antioxidants, phytochemicals (chemicals in plants responsible for colors and smells), vitamins and minerals. Recent research suggests that certain superfoods reduce the symptoms of skin disorders and block flare-ups.
Here are a few superfoods that more and more people are adopting to treat skin conditions:
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice often used in curries, mustards and teas, has gained quite a reputation as a superfood. It’s been touted for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and hailed as a natural defense against cancer and skin conditions.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric means it can relieve flare-ups. It can also reduce symptoms from other inflammatory conditions like bursitis and rheumatoid arthritis with curcumin. Eczema and psoriasis sufferers may take a supplement to reduce the severity. Other skincare products contain curcumin because it soothes blemishes and irritation. Turmeric also has antibacterial qualities.
Moringa is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and protein. It also contains eight essential amino acids, more than 90 nutrients, including 46 different antioxidants (ascorbic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic compounds) and 36 anti-inflammatory compounds (isothiocyanate and phenolic derivatives), which can help boost skin healing function. And, much like turmeric, it’s been known to be successful in curing skin infections and sores.
Moringa oleiferais rich in various antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid. Moringa leaf powder can increase blood antioxidant levels. Moringa seed oil is beneficial for protecting skin against free radicals and keeps it clean and healthy. Moringa also contains protein, which means it is helpful in protecting skin cells from damage. It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost the skin and hair.
To get results, give it time. It may take three months to a year to really see an improvement in your skin. Go with what's tried and true and give it a solid chance to work.