5 Common Skin Conditions, 5 Natural Healing Alternatives


Got a Rash? These five common skin complaints have five natural solutions easily found in any health food market.

It goes like this: Somehow, you’re covered in an itchy, red rash and you’re racking your brain to remember which soap, lotion, medication, supplement or cosmetic you might be allergic to. A week later, it’s still there, so you take yourself off to the dermatologist who sends you home with a prescription for Western medicine’s skin cure-all, the topical corticosteroid – but you’re still trying to remember what it was that might have caused it.

Rashes come in all shapes and sizes, and most of us will experience one at some point during our lives. Much like the over-prescribed antibiotic, steroid creams may bring about rapid improvement, but they don’t actually cure the condition. Not to mention (and your dermatologist certainly won’t) that prolonged use of topical corticosteroids are thought to increase the risk of skin damage, most commonly, making skin thin and fragile.

You’re right to be wary. Its worthwhile spending a bit of extra time to consider your health and to go ahead and ask further questions before applying that prescribed cream. Have you been under stress recently? Eaten anything in excess? Stress can really take its toll on the skin, and dairy and wheat are notoriously inflammatory to the system. Adding anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids into your diet like flaxseeds and chia seeds are a great way to reduce oxidative stress. Taking a supplement high in Gama-linolenic acid (GLA) such as evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage oil helps to nourish the skin from the inside out.

The good news is there are similarly natural topical solutions for those who want to skip the steroids, mineral oil and chemical-laden dermatologist creams. Here are five common skin complaints and five natural solutions that are easily found in any health market:

1. Keratosis Pilaris – Known not-so-flatteringly, as chicken skin, this condition tends to run in families and is characterized by red, bumpy skin mostly found on the back of arms and thighs. Moisturizing is key to treating it–most dermatologists will recommend heavy-duty creams and petroleum-based salves. One alternative that many help is Sea-buckthorn oil. It’s high in the beneficial fatty-oil, omega-7, which helps keep both the bumpiness down and helps fade the redness.

2. Schamberg’s disease – You may not have heard of Schamberg’s disease, most doctors are also unfamiliar with the relatively common rash. Completely benign, the little “cayenne pepper” shape discolorations, spreads slowly most often affecting the legs. No one knows what causes it and there is no known cure, however recent research indicates that taking 500mg of vitamin C twice a day, and 50mg twice a day of the powerful antioxidant, rutin, has therapeutic benefits.

3. Eczema – Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM is an organic source of sulfur, a mineral critical to the health of our skin and nails. Many have reported stubborn causes of eczema having cleared up after using MSM cream. Its ability to promote protective antioxidant activity within the skin means it soothes irritated skin and seems to promote healthier, more resistant new skin.

4. Acne Vulgaris – Treasured in India for its healthy skin benefits, neem oil is particularly effective as a treatment for acne prone skin. Studies have shown that neem contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefit, which help to remove bacteria from the surface of the skin, clearing up spots and reducing redness and scarring. We recommended you utilize neem oil for nighttime treatments only; this powerful natural dynamo is considerably pungent.

5. Aging – As far as most dermatologists are concerned, the vitamin A derivative, retinol is the best thing you can do to treat photo aging caused by sun exposure, and to prevent the formation of new wrinkles. While the heavy duty exfoliating effect does encourage the formation of fresher, better-looking skin cells, many cannot tolerate the harsh and drying effects of prescription strength formulas. A gentler, more natural alternative is rosehip seed oil. Widely studied, the oil beloved by the Andean Indians of Chile has been proven to keep skin youthful by encouraging skin turnover, fade sun spots and preventing fine lines in the same manner of retinol.

Image: Dermatology.com


Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.