“In order to have skin that glows and looks healthy and actually is healthy, you need to look at the whole picture and have a holistic approach to it. A lot of it is exercising regularly, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and keeping stress down.” – Allison Williams
I’ve always considered myself a very healthy woman with a sound knowledge of health and wellness. However, as you may have seen in my last post, even when you think you’re doing well things can change almost overnight and for seemingly no reason.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH CONTACT DERMATITIS
When I had my first moderate to severe contact dermatitis reaction it was a big wake up call for me – as you age, change climates, and even make minute changes in your daily routine this all adds up to a cumulative effect that often comes through in your skin as a first sign of bodily distress. The biggest thing for me in this list is age – yes I am not that old! – but we love to think we will be young forever. But things change and its best to be aware and respect your body as you age. I initially tried to heal myself with natural topical treatments, however after 2 weeks at home with very little improvement I turned to prescription medications. Of course, when you take oral steroids this seems to fix everything and your skin looks wonderful again, but when the reaction keeps coming back you have to expand your thinking to a more holistic view.
I started keeping a diary of everything I used on my face, hair, body, what I washed my hands with, what I used in the kitchen, what I ate, what exercise I did… This became a very long exhausting list and I began to feel lost in all this data. To help me understand this experience I was going through, I met with everyone I knew who worked in the holistic health industry – from lifestyle consultants to nutritionists to doctors to dermatologists – and the conclusion was always the same: You will have to drastically eliminate things from your diet and lifestyle to find out the cause and then slowly build back up again. So I decided to make my own way and began a dairy free, gluten free, low carb clean living diet along with healthy skin loving smoothies every day followed by at least 30 minutes of exercise. For my skin I cut back to only using my LUXE Botanics products coupled with a homemade argan and rosehip oil serum and organic hair care products.
2 months on, I will honestly say it has been hard but my skin has improved dramatically! I didn’t 100% stick to my plan the whole time, let’s face it I am human after all, so I did notice when things started to go backwards. The most important things I discovered was that I have very definite triggers: carbohydrates and an overload of dairy make me bloat which in turn causes inflammation internally and externally; and anything with phenoxyethanol definitely triggers the dermatitis (even handwash!). Dietary things that helped to resolve this were obviously sticking to my clean eating, green smoothies with natural oils and a daily dose of cider vinegar calmed my gut and my skin. Skin care wise, marula oil became my saviour when my skin flared – it was literally like my skin was drinking it. When my skin had healed I kept up an alternating nightly regimen of marula or argan & rosehip oil. If I thought there was too much redness and inflammation a dab of kigelia calmed it down and made sure it didn’t become infected when it was peeling.
To any of you out there who have gone through this or are going through this now, my only advice is to listen to your body. Try, test and learn (within reason). See what works and what doesn’t. Talk to people in the wellness community – they are a fantastic resource. And don’t be afraid to seek medical intervention if necessary. In my case it was very hard to be the face of a skin care brand when my skin was in such a dreadful state. Remember that you do change with time, climate and age, don’t get complacent.
My journey has just begun…
Global Ingredient Hunter
Founder of LUXE Botanics
Disclaimer: the information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always check with a qualified health professional.
This article was originally published on August 29, 2016 and updated on April 16, 2019