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3 Ways To Build Your Skin Barrier

3 Ways To Build Your Skin Barrier

On a daily basis, I’m faced with many questions such as, will my skin go back to where it was before?”, “how can I fix my texture?”, “what should I do to repair my skin? 

All of these questions drive me to continue to research, learn and understand the different ways to treat eczema, dermatitis and skin sensitivities. A commonality in all the research I review and conversations I have with my patients and customers is the continued practice of maintaining a skin ritual that helps repair their skin damage and support their skin’s natural building system. 

What this means is to have a regular skin practice. This skin practice may look different from person to person and day to day or week to week because our skin reflects how we are feeling, what we are eating and what we are using topically. So everyone will have their own unique practice.

 

What Affects Our Repair System

As our lifestyle fluctuates and changes everyday, some days feel more stressful and some days are more joyful than others. Our skin will present these cues like an emotional compass on our body and face. 

In our last blog, 3 Tips on How To Treat Eczema in Seasonal Changes”, we explained how to detox and build strength internally prior to seasonal changes, to prevent very harsh skin flare ups and reactions. 

This is the same for emotional fluctuations. By keeping an eye on our mental state and what is triggering our emotions, we can ensure that we are supporting our body on a biochemical level as well.

“People with atopic dermatitis are more likely to develop mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, have an increased rate of suicidal ideation…”  A study completed in 2022 by The International Eczema Council

Conversely, anger, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem can all be psychological effects of eczema. Stress leads to skin disease, and having a skin disease is very stressful, so the whole cycle between stress and skin disease is perpetuating.”National Eczema Society.

Unfortunately, as studies have shown, unstable emotions are another leading cause of skin disorders as they release chemicals that cause inflammation. Adversely, when these chemicals are released, a triggering habit most individuals take is to eat highly sugary foods in an attempt to self-soothe their emotional needs. Which then these sugary foods add additional molecules into the bloodstream causing more elongated periods of inflammation. Which explains the statement of a “perpetuating” cycle of stress-to-skin disease.

 

3 Ways to Start Rebuilding

Our body is naturally equipped with the tools necessary to rebuild its skin barrier, but due to some emotional interference, we can give our body the boost it needs to jump start the process.  

As I mention the most beneficial processes that I’ve experienced along with many of my patients, it is best to note that every person is different and has different needs. So it’s best to do your research, find and try what suits you and take your time in breaking down or identifying your emotional needs.

 

Circadian Rhythm

As research has shown, working with your body's natural circadian rhythm plays a huge part on your mental health. You’ll feel less tired and more energized to take on the day. Getting the right amount of sleep lowers cortisol levels, helps your brain flush toxins and supports your body in repairing itself overnight.  Waking in the morning with the rising sun helps to recharge the mind and absorb the essential Vitamin D prior to harmful UV rays being emitted! 

In addition to a better mood, you’ll also fall asleep easier at night, which is key for a better night's sleep.

 

Breathe Work

When we are stressed or depressed, our inhalation and exhalation becomes irregular. This inconsistent pattern doesn’t allow the proper amount of oxygen the heart requires to circulate blood throughout our body. Irregular breathing also known as arrhythmia can cause blood clots, heart attacks, organ failure and high amounts of stress. 

Through breath work practices we can help regulate our body’s circulation system and hormone production. My favorite practices include Kundalini Breathwork, Hot Yoga, Qi Gong, Running, Rollerblading and HIIT workouts. All collectively focus on deep breathing, slow to moderate movement of the body and a focused attention on the practice itself. 

 

Therapy

As times have changed, the word therapy has grown in popularity but also diversity. There are many different forms of therapy that can treat different needs versus the traditional form of therapy that utilized a lounge chair and the expression of our thoughts or traumas. In my personal experience of being a Reiki and Sound Healing therapist, I found that doing Inner Child Trauma work, and moving stuck energy within the body has greatly improved and confronted trapped emotions from my past. 

I have shifted and transmuted stuck energy within my patients and have seen transformative shifts from all types of people - no matter the level of experienced trauma. 

This also goes without saying though, mental health and therapy is a constant practice, there is no “one and done” action because we are constantly faced with challenges in our life. However, by constantly creating this space and practice for ourselves, it is easier to understand with certainty that some emotions are not always stemming from us and some accumulated emotions need a healthy outlet.

 

3 Ways to Protect What’s Repaired

The common trait to the eczema and dermatitis rollercoaster cycle is having to restart the rebuilding process after your hard work, and this is due to not protecting the skin while it's in the repair stage. 

Daily Skin Routine

Our skin has 4 main stages of eczema and while the skin goes through its stages to repair itself, in stage 3 to 4 you’ll experience a lot of flaking and dryness.  

This is the key stage in maintaining the moisture and oil because this is when the skin creates new skin cells to strengthen and repair the barrier.

The recommended skin ritual would consist of 3 Steps, Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Protect. Maintaining a low skin pH when using a pH conscious soap ensures the pores are closed and not absorbing any debris and dirt. Lightly exfoliating weekly with a dead sea salt scrub helps to remove flaking layers of dead skin and releases magnesium into the skin to help reduce itching and irritations. Lastly, using protecting and conditioning oils or butters on the skin will help maintain the barrier the skin is creating and prevent any loss of moisture throughout the day. 

 

Self-Care Days

Don’t wait for a crisis to rest and relax! Society, family expectations and workplaces make us feel guilty for taking self care days, even though our lives depend on it! It is no longer appropriate or recommended to wait a full year to take vacation days because this prolonged chronic low-grade stress is causing skin disorders and the constant state of inflammation in our body. 

Each week to every two weeks, I give myself a “Me Day”, this day allows me to give to myself unapologetically and not to do house duties. This day is to let yourself laugh, smile, sleep, pamper, eat and enjoy yourself. For the budget conscious like myself, I love to enjoy a cup of hot matcha latte in a coffee shop I haven’t visited before, go for a nature walk, and take care of my skin. 

This is a destressing day; a day to allow for the necessary exhalation and perspective we desperately need.

 

Clean Water Supply

Depending on the season, we are either consuming high amounts of coffee and lattes in the fall /winter or fruity cocktails and beer in the spring/summer. All of which throw our immune system completely off because of the high amounts of toxins. 

To optimize our body the best way, we need to maintain a clean water consumption. As we are noticing, drinking water straight from the tap is highly not recommended because of the lack of filtration. Typical water filters are no longer sufficient in removing the toxins in our water, hence why it is more important to update our water filtration systems in our homes and fridges. 

Due to the many old, rotting and unmaintained drains, installing a home filtration system like reverse osmosis, will purify your drinking water which will improve your gut health. Reverse osmosis filtration systems can be very expensive but now with the improvements of technology, these systems are now available in over and under the counter options at reasonable price points.

As we know there has been an increase of mental stresses within the last 5 years, addressing these concerns head-on is what’s going to prevent further increase of skin diseases.  

I hope this post provides a sense of understanding and clarity for continuing or starting your journey.

We invite you to send us an email or comment below if you have questions or concerns about your skin and would like some guidance regarding your skin care concerns.

As always,

Your beauty starts with self-care.

Mekisha

 

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