Ask Dr. Julie / Health & Wellness

Managing Eczema, Psoriasis, and Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions

"Maintaining Beautiful Skin to Minimize Chronic Skin Conditions"By Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D. – Integrative Medicine Physician

Many of my patients have inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis and they are always asking about supplements and diet to help with these skin conditions. I usually have them build a foundation of healthy skin with an anti-inflammatory diet that is mostly plant-based and low in processed foods and sugars. Then we layer on that foundation with regular physical activity and adequate sleep to build a thorough strong foundation of healthy skin functioning.

An anti-inflammatory diet mostly include a plant-based Mother Nature type diet. I usually will tell my patients that if what they are eating doesn’t look like it could have recently come off the tree or off the ground, then it might be more inflammatory than they want the food to be. Staying clear of processed foods is essential to clear healthy skin. A diet that is low in carbohydrates or sugars is important especially if you already have problems processing sugar intake. The excess sugar in your blood stream that your body can’t put away effectively is akin to poison floating in your blood stream that causes more inflammation to your skin.

Now, if you already do the healthy diet and exercise, what else can you do to help your skin stay clear?

You should start with a gentle facial routine with a gentle wash that doesn’t irritate or strip the skin of its essential oils which sometimes can cause more skin issues including acne eruptions. Then you should use a moisturizer and depending on your skin type, you should pick one that’s either oil-free for those with oily skin or a more emollient moisturizer if you have dry skin. Some of my patients with combination skin will use the oil-free moisturizer all over their skin and then add a more emollient one over the dry areas.

Finally, some of the supplements that help to keep our skin healthily creating its own protection layer are fish oil or flaxseed oil, low dosage of natural vitamin E, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory supplements like curcumin or ginger sometimes can help your skin if your entire body’s physiology is tending towards more inflammatory issues. These are just a few options and you should ask your physician or naturopath for other options if the basics aren’t enough. But just remember, that the essential foundations of an anti-inflammatory diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep and relaxation is always necessary for optimal skin conditions.

Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D. an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and is also fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine and the newest member of the WE magazine editorial Team. Dr. Chen will be the editor of our new “ASK DR. JULIE Column. If you have any questions for Dr. Julie, feel free to leave a comment below. She will reply to you directly. You can find out more about Dr. Julie at www.makinghealthyez.com.

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