A couple of weeks ago, I had a customer share her autoimmune story with me.
I share it with you because wherever you are on your journey to healthy living, you might already have some detective work to do if your skin is trying to speak to you. If you have some baffling skin issues, read on...
I could co-author a book on skin and autoimmune conditions.
From the age of 9 to around 15 I suffered from crippling “dyshidrotic eczema” on my hands and feet. The best guess now, after deciphering that I have Celiac disease, is that the blistering and insanely itchy rash was probably dermatitis herpetiformis (unrelated to the Herpes family of viruses), a cutaneous expression of Celiac. I occasionally still deal with that condition when I accidentally ingest gluten.
From around the age of 10 until age 17 I had a terrible case of acne on my face, back, chest, neck, and head. I was subjected to numerous topical scrubs, antibiotics, Retin-A creams, all either offering temporary minute improvement or creating worse inflammation. I also was subjected to oral antibiotics, prednisone, and finally Accutane. The acne receded to minimal after a longer than allowed now course of Accutane, but came back within a few years.
At age 9 I had my first case of impetigo (staph infection of the skin) diagnosed. I have had recurrences in the same spots since, erupting in times of great stress.
From my late 20s until age 40 I had what was called “adult acne”, the painful cystic type. Standard prescription topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory protocol did not touch the “acne”. I deduced that most of that condition was caused by a chemical in municipally treated water after a bout of campylobacter jejuni food poisoning. Since the treatment for the bacterial infection was to kill my gut microbiome, good and bad, I knew my skin should be radically different/improved after treatment. It wasn’t. It was the same. The only constant through that ordeal was municipal water. When I avoid municipal water, and food prepared with it (fountain drinks, water at restaurants, rice, beans, etc. that absorb the water) I do not have skin irritations of that variety.
In my mid 20’s I was a student at a medical school working on a degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, and had great access to medical journals and textbooks. My children, around 8-10 years old then, suffered from skin rashes and eczema. Their pediatrician routinely prescribed steroids, topical and oral, oatmeal and Epsom salt baths, and shrugged their shoulders. It was in my reading research journals at school, looking for clues to my children’s skin problems, that I came across two life-changing pieces of information.
1. Skin does not lie. The condition of skin is a direct reflection/result of gut health. Different skin conditions result from different areas of gut inflammation. (If the area that absorbs B vitamins is unhappy, you may develop sores at the corners of your lips, or apthous mouth sores for example.)
2. Many autoimmune conditions are reflected by skin.
Eczema and the Gut
One of my daughters has suffered from skin conditions ranging from eczema to aphthous mouth sores to very rare skin rashes. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 20. She is 28 and still tinkering with her diet to find her personal healthy place. I do so wish just one medical professional who we consulted for 15 years would have taken the gut-skin connection seriously, and at least had the courtesy to read the research I had dug out at the time.
Eczema and Kidney Health
My other daughter also has skin rashes and eczema, lifelong as well. She has found a connection between kidney health (she was diagnosed with stones at age 21) and skin condition. Kidney stones are often facilitated by gut imbalances and nutrients not being absorbed properly. She finds that her diet greatly influences her gut happiness and kidney health.
Eczema, Rash and Tick-born Infections
I am currently struggling with eczema and several other weird rashes. So far I have deduced that meat, all meats, contribute to the rashes. I am working on differentially eliminating dairy and egg to see if those contribute to the conditions as well and am hoping to hit on a diet resolution soon! I am waiting on lab results for tick-born infections that may help decipher my current skin condition.
My 17 year old son has gone down the western medicine trail for acne in the past two years, only to conclude on his own that the prescription antibiotics, retinoids, etc. cause irritation more than resolution. He has found the best treatment is to “wash” his face with oil (olive and castor), then steam with a hot washcloth and gently remove the oil. He has also found that his diet is greatly reflected on is face by acne—junk, refined carbs, processed foods, etc. result in increased breakouts.
So, my family has a host of autoimmune diagnoses, a plethora of skin conditions, and have found various gut-skin connections.
The skin never lies. Food is medicine. Medicine must be tailored to the individual. These are our main guides for (skin) health.
I apologize for the lengthy response, but I felt moved to spill our story. In review, I think this may be the condensed, hit the biggest points, version. I know so many people suffer with skin. I’m happy to answer any other questions you have.
Your products have been a constant in our lives for a good 20 years, I think, ever since my mom happened across your products and gave us some as gifts.
Thank you, thank you!!! We all are regular Made-On ambassadors when we pull our favorites out for use out in public.