Dermatological diseases are now one of the main reasons for consultation in primary care, which is indicative of the prevalence of these conditions among the population in developed countries.
Some of the most common skin diseases are:
Acne: A common disease that causes pimples.
Psoriasis: This condition causes itchy or painful patches of red, inflamed skin with silvery scales.
Dermatitis: also called eczema, encompasses several different types of skin rash. Most types cause dry, itchy skin.
Anything that inflames, clogs, or irritates the skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, burning or itching.
Our skin is a kind of ecosystem made up of living biological and physical components that occupy diverse habitats. Disturbances in the balance on either side of the equation can lead to skin disorders or infections. In the past, poor hygiene has led to a number of skin diseases such as leprosy, smallpox, plague, and even today in Latin America, Chagas disease. And sometimes still some forms of herpes, pool fungus or molluscs.
Nowadays, however, the equation is shifting more towards excessive hygiene or the use of overly aggressive soaps and cosmetic products that disrupt the natural balance of our skin’s bacterial barrier. This is leading to a completely different type of skin ailments.
Interestingly, the common element in most skin diseases in industrialised countries has to do with the regulation of the skin’s sebum. In the case of acne, there is an overproduction of sebum coupled with poor detoxification by the body or insufficient elimination of toxic waste through the body’s natural pathways. In these cases, the skin would not be adequately fulfilling its function of eliminating waste in the form of salts through sweat or through the sebum secreted by the sweat and sebaceous glands, although deficient elimination through the kidneys (urine) or liver (bile) could also be involved. In the case of dermatitis, the problem of sebum regulation is often rather the opposite, with deficient elimination of toxic substances. And this internal problem of purification and regulation of the skin’s sebum is dramatically aggravated by inflammation, swelling and scaling in the case of psoriasis.
Therefore, to return to the subject at hand, atopic skin or skin affected by eczema generally has a problem of skin sebum regulation combined with deficient internal detoxification.
For this reason, in order to treat them, it is very important to intervene on three different fronts:
- Daily hygiene with “soap-free soaps”, i.e. with products that do not alter the skin’s natural bacterial barrier and, therefore, its protective lipid layer.
- The application of emollient cosmetic products and regulators of the skin’s natural skin barrier.
- And internal supplementation that contributes to detoxification and regulation of the skin’s natural sebum.
STONEWASHING: GLOBAL TREATMENT FOR SENSITIVE, ATOPIC OR DERMATITIS-AFFECTED SKINS
If you suffer from dermatitis or, more complicated still, psoriasis, have you thought about the option of stonewashing like jeans?
No, we’re not kidding. We want you to know that recipes for mild soaps and gels may be necessary when we come back from the gym after working up a sweat. But, let’s face it, are we really that dirty when we shower every morning?
Hasn’t it occurred to you that a little hot water and a couple of “hygienic” stones, which I’ll tell you about next, might be enough to keep you clean during a 20-degree spring day?
And, best of all, without the need to use harsh soaps that alter our natural skin barrier and aggravate our dermatitis problems.
These stones are:
Himalayan salt stone: We recommend it especially between the toes to avoid fungal problems and blisters as this salt stone has the ability to purify and harden the skin of the feet. It can also be used on any other area we feel we need to cleanse.
Natural alum stone: It is especially recommended to use it every morning in the shower in the underarm area. If you follow this ritual, you will probably not need any other type of external deodorant, unless you go on a trip to the African savannah and sweat like a bull.
And after your daily shower, there is nothing better than using a moisturising body oil in a spray bottle.
Immediately after getting out of the shower, and before drying off, we apply the oil which, as we are still wet, spreads very easily. In addition, the oils do not need preservatives, just a few drops of vitamin E to prevent them from going rancid. And if we use jojoba oil, not even that, because this oil practically does not go rancid.
Making a homemade after-shower body lotion is much more complicated because, due to the high-water content of a body lotion, it is necessary to use strong preservatives, and this always complicates tolerance in the case of atopic skin.
If you want to make a body lotion, it is advisable to use only hypoallergenic preservatives such as Leucidal, GSE (grapefruit seed extract) or potassium sorbate. There is talk of a new broad-spectrum hypoallergenic preservative, as the ones mentioned above are not as effective as Cosgard, Geogard, Rokonsal, etc., but personally we have not yet tried it.
It would be DERMOSOFT 1388 eco, whose INCI: Glycerine, Aqua, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate… details a natural origin as the mixture of levulinic acid and anisic acid is obtained by fermentation.
In any case, it is possible to make very good light creams that can be applied indiscriminately all over the body and that can be preserved without the use of extra synthetic preservation agents. This subject will be developed at length in a future article dedicated to recipes for hypoallergenic creams and soaps. In this post we did not want to include them because we considered that we would exceed the normal length of an article in this category. Therefore, we recommend that you read our next article on hypoallergenic recipes for sensitive skin in which we discuss in depth the topic of smart homemade formulations to treat this skin type.
RULES FOR MAKING HYPOALLERGENIC HOMEMADE COSMETICS
Arguably, today, with the urgency of climate change and the importance of implementing eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable solutions, natural cosmetics is becoming an increasingly desirable trend for a wider audience.
In the case of problem skin, as well as being fashionable, it is an absolute necessity. Atopic skins or skins affected by dermatitis are skins with an internal problem of repairing the natural skin barrier and it is important not only to treat them topically with the appropriate creams and products but also the internal use of supplements that contribute to this repair, which we will discuss in the following section.
As far as topical products are concerned, it is very important that we minimise the use of products containing aggressive preservatives or a large amount of essential oils, whose biocidal capacity should not be disregarded. We should also avoid perfumed cosmetics, i.e. fragrances, or the use of active ingredients of chemical origin. With sensitive skin, we can apply the maxim “the more natural the better” one hundred percent.
Avoiding the use of commercial antiperspirant deodorants is also especially important because these skins have a problem of toxic elimination and if we use a deodorant that prevents the natural perspiration of our skin, we will logically find an aggravation of the problems and, probably, greater skin itching and dryness.
In practical terms, simple creams with butters and oils are particularly favourable as they do not contain preservatives or chemical active ingredients.
HYPOALLERGENIC RECIPES WITHOUT AQUEOUS PHASE
A universal recipe that will never give you any problems consists of taking 50 grams of shea butter to which we add a little almond oil (about a third) and working it in a bowl with a wooden spoon until both ingredients amalgamate perfectly and we are left with a light paste that we can apply to the driest areas of our face and body.
Another idea, perhaps easier to keep out of the fridge, is to melt beeswax and oil and add a little shea butter. In this case, we would take three parts of a cold pressed oil of our choice and a third of the amount of oil in the form of beeswax and shea butter. We would start by melting the wax in a bain-marie, to which we would add the oil and, finally, the third part of shea butter.
As you will see, shea butter appears in almost every recipe for treating this type of skin, as it is probably the best treatment butter for dry and sensitive skin that we know of.
And for body lotion you can use solid cosmetics and make these solid body lotion sticks, which do not need synthetic preservatives and are 100% moisturising.
For a batch of about 100 grams, we will need:
80 g cocoa butter
20 g cold-pressed sunflower oil (or any other quality oil)
A few drops of vitamin E
And, optionally, if you add a couple of drops of orange EO, they will smell great.
Preparation procedure: Start by melting the cocoa butter in a bain-marie and, when it is melted, add the sunflower oil and integrate it with the butter. Remove from the heat and add the vitamin E and then you can mould it. Remember that you will need silicone moulds to pour the mixture once it has melted.
And if we want to make a cream with an aqueous phase, given that they are especially moisturising, we will try to prepare small quantities to avoid the use of preservatives or we will make intelligent cosmetic formulations with minimally aggressive preservatives such as natural Leucidal or Grapefruit Seed Extract. As mentioned above, we will expand on these recipes in our next post on hypoallergenic cosmetic recipes.
If we are going to include an essential oil for treatment, we should always remember to use, preferably, a hydrolat that contains the qualities of this essential oil, but in a milder form.
And only a very small amount of the essential oil (a couple of drops are usually enough) because, as we know, essential oils are highly concentrated, and their rule of use can be summed up as follows: “less is more”.
For example, four drops of EO would be more than enough in a 100-gram cream, and in a 50-gram cream, two drops of essential oil would also be enough. It would be more important, for example, to use a desensitising hydrolat such as German chamomile or a regenerating one such as rose geranium in our preparation. Patchouli, cedar or frankincense may also be of interest depending on the type of eczema and skin type.
Neutral, nourishing oils, such as sweet almond oil, tend to work well for all skin types, especially sensitive or atopic skin. And natural, non-deodorised shea butter is possibly the best treatment butter for these skins.
Apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil or even coconut oil may also be of interest, as well as, of course, hemp oil. Some people claim that black seed oil (nigella sativa) has worked very well for them in treating this type of problem.
In the case of psoriasis, olive, safflower, tamanu or avocado oils seem to be among the preferred oils.
And the additive par excellence for treating this type of skin is cannabidiol for its excellent antioxidant, moisturising and anti-inflammatory benefits. This cannabidiol, extracted from hemp (sometimes grown organically), is suitable for treating dry, oily and problematic skin, as it helps to eliminate skin disorders such as pimples or rashes caused by herpes, repairing and restoring the skin more quickly.
Hemp oil is particularly suitable for oily or acne-prone skin (hemp seed oil is an excellent sebum regulator), according to expert Nuria Tenas Marín, Biotechnological Development Manager at PFC Cosmetics. But it is also recommended for dry and devitalised skin as it strengthens the skin barrier, says the expert:
“CBD cosmetics can be suitable for both dry and oily skin, as they contain beneficial properties for both. And in the case of sensitive skin, cosmetics based on cannabis sativa seed extract, being rich in fatty acids (Omega3) and antioxidants such as vitamin E, are able to soothe skin irritations, eczema problems, reduce trans-epidermal water loss, increase hydration and elasticity, and reduce flaking and roughness”.
INTERNAL SUPPLEMENTATION: NUTRACEUTICALS. VITAMINS FOR THE SKIN
You will tell me that using natural emollient creams and washing with non-aggressive products is enough to keep the problems at bay. But this is not always the case, sometimes the problem can be quite serious. If this is your case, do not hesitate to inform yourself and implement the necessary supplements to improve your quality of life.
Supplementation begins with eating a diet that is appropriate to our needs. This means that if we have acne, we will avoid saturated fats, and if, on the other hand, as is the subject of this article, our skin is rather dry or sensitive, we will try to provide it with the healthy fats it needs. And, in this sense, when the daily diet is not enough, we can provide ourselves with supplements according to our deficiencies. For example, a very useful supplement for this type of skin is evening primrose and borage capsules which, taken daily, contribute to the internal regulation of our skin’s lipid barrier.
Another problem that dermatitis and atopic skin sufferers often have is the problem of itching and irritation, as this same problem of elimination of toxins and impurities that they suffer from contributes to their hypersensitive reaction to numerous stimuli called allergens. In these cases, we are talking about chronic allergies or an allergic background, as we like to call it, which is the case with eczema, allergic asthma or autoimmune diseases.
These allergens can be anything from plant pollen to pet hair, insect bites, dust or certain types of food. Under normal circumstances, your body would not react to these basically harmless stimuli, but if you have an allergic background, your immune system regards allergens as a threat. The allergic condition revolves around the body’s hypersensitivity to these types of stimuli which, when they occur, trigger the immune system to start acting accordingly and, as a result, the following symptoms may appear: watery eyes, itching, difficulty breathing, skin rashes, sneezing and even nasal congestion…
Conventional treatment of allergy usually consists of antihistamines often combined with corticosteroids. Unfortunately, this type of medication produces high side effects. This explains why science is turning to more natural substances such as cannabidiols (CBD or hemp oil) to treat allergies naturally. The natural support provided by cannabidiol contributes to the quality of life and well-being of people affected by dermatological problems, which is why thousands of patients use various CBD products to support the daily care of their skin conditions.
In addition, internal cannabinoid supplementation has been shown to have not only an anti-allergic effect but also an anti-inflammatory and skin sebum-regulating effect that has alleviated skin problems for many people.
Cannabidiol-based products are offered by a variety of shops and brands. In general, when purchasing a product, it is worth knowing that CBD supplements can be found in the form of the isolated CBD cannabinoid, which tends to be the least interesting; or in the form of full-spectrum CBD, which contains different cannabinoids in small amounts in addition to CBD, making it the most similar type to the cannabis plant. This type of supplement may contain THC, although it will not cause the psychotropic effects of THC (the effect of being high) because it will not exceed 0.3% of the total.
For example: https://nordicoil.es/collections/suplementos-cbd
From the list of supplements offered by this shop, we have found the supplementation of CBD oil, together with a small part of melatonin to improve night-time sleep, to be particularly effective. This type of drops, or suckable tablets, are available in different formats and brands.
Simply put, the use of a lightly ozonated (edible grade) hemp oil has enormous benefits in treating atopic skin and psoriasis.
Healtline reviews the best supplements: https://www.healthline.com/health/best-cbd-capsule
Personally, I also find the daily use of evening primrose and borage capsules, as well as drinking oat milk, which contains mucilage that is very valuable in preventing skin irritation and inflammation, very interesting for the regulation of fatty acids and sebum in the skin. Colloidal oatmeal, apart from being a very interesting complement to our topical creams and masks, in its vegetable milk form, also has a very favourable internal emollient effect on the intestinal mucosa.
Healthline. September 2020. Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD: Which One Is Right for You? https://www.healthline.com/health/full-spectrum-vs-broad-spectrum-cbd
MedlinePlus. December 2020. Skin diseases. https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/skinconditions.html
National Library of Medicine. 2006. Cannabinoids inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation through a non-CB1/CB2 mechanism and have a potential therapeutic value in the treatment of psoriasis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17157480/
Canna Foundation. Cannabinoids and Inflammatory Skin Diseases. Eduardo Muñoz, PhD in Medicine and Surgery, Professor of Immunology at the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the University of Cordoba https://www.fundacion-canna.es/cannabinoides-y-enfermedades-inflamatorias-de-la-piel
We hope this article has been of interest to you.