22 Jan 2022

Longford's Laura Thompson on dealing with problem skin

Longford's Laura Thompson on dealing with problem skin

Last week I wrote about looking after your skin; this week I want to elaborate on how to treat problem skin. One of the most common skin conditions is Eczema. Eczema can begin in infancy and is more common in c-section babies.

This is thought to be caused by the lack of introduction to microbiome which occurs through a vaginal birth.

When a baby is in its mothers womb, their guts are completely sterile. As they make their journey through the birth canal, they get completely covered with bacteria kick-starting the beneficial microbiome. This in turn is vital for a healthy immune system, suggesting that these babies are less likely to develop allergies than those born by c-section.

Breastfeeding is another way in which new born babies get their dose of good bacteria, sometimes women who have had a c-section may not be in a position to breastfeed their babies and this is another blow to the immune system.

Let me stress that this is by no means meant to chastise those who opt for bottle feeding or indeed an elective c-section. If you have had a c-section or haven’t breastfed there are numerous probiotic formulas for new borns which will really help the gut. My favourite are Bio-Kult or Biocare Infantis - both available in your local health food store.

Also, just another point, sometimes even breastfed, vaginally-delivered babies may need a probiotic, particularly if they are very colic-y.

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As I stated in last week’s article the skin is a reflection on what is going on inside the body. A healthy diet is so important and, in some cases, having a food intolerance test can identify trigger foods.

Foods that can help:

*Fish is a natural source of omega3 fatty acids that can fight inflammation in the body. Good sources are salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines. It can be hard to get children to eat oily fish but a good supplement like Eskimo Oil or Mor EPA is a good alternative.

* Foods high in inflammation fighting flavonoids. Eat a rainbow. Basically, colourful fruits and vegetables such as cherries, broccoli, kale, carrots and spinach will feed the good bacteria and reduce inflammation.

* Foods high in probiotics such as Kefir or live and active yoghurt, miso soup, kombucha and sauerkraut.

Some trigger foods:

* Dairy and eggs can be a trigger for some people as can citrus fruits.

* Nickel can also be a problem, often found in trace amounts in the soil - typically beans, black tea, lentils and some nuts - and therefore present in foods.

An allergy test or food intolerance test will identify these foods, or you could do a food diary to see if there are flare ups after certain foods, but that's a bit time consuming.

Supplements that can help:

*As I mentioned above a good fish oil is vital

*Vitamin D: people who have eczema have lower levels of Vitamin D. The lower the Vitamin D, the worse the eczema.

* Zinc: like vitamin D, people with eczema tend to have lower levels of zinc. Zinc has many important functions within the body, including supporting the immune system and maintaining the cells lining the gut.

* Probiotics: that all important gut bacteria is always needed for any ailment.

Natural ointments:

* If your eczema is not affected by water then try adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your bath water. This is great for correcting the skin’s PH levels.

* Epsom salts or magnesium flakes are also a great way of soothing irritated skin.

* A large cup of oat flakes in a muslin bag can also be used, particularly for children. Immerse them in the water before applying.

* Coconut oil is a great moisturiser and very helpful unless there is an allergy to coconut.

* Aloe Vera gels also help as do calendula ointments. Check out your health food store for some natural products, avoiding harsh chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate, which can irritate the skin.

Finally, stress definitely aggravates any skin condition, so try to relax and get plenty of rest. Remedies like Avena Sativa or Passiflora or L-Theanine and Lemon Balsam will be of great benefit.

If you would like more informaiton on food intolerance testing, you can check out my website at

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