If you’re struggling with a skin condition, you are not alone. we repeat, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! A recent study shows that skin disease in Canada has increase by 18% since 1990.1 That means millions of other Canadians are afflicted with at least one skin disorder. Let’s talk about the most common skin conditions, how to treat them and the stigma surrounding them!
Top Three Skin Conditions in Canada
There are now more than 3,000 skin conditions known in dermatology. Below we’ve cataloged the three most common in order from most common to least common.
Acne is the most common skin condition seen by dermatologist with 20% of Canadians experiencing symptoms. And no, chronic acne isn’t just seen in teens, the Canadian Dermatology Associate shares that 20-30% of adults ages 20 to 40 have acne too. So what is a pimple? It’s actually your natural skin oils and dead skin cells plugging your hair follicles. The three main causes are having a naturally oily skin type, your dead skin cells not shedding properly, and bacteria penetrating your skin barrier.
Eczema is medically known as atopic dermatitis. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, “Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is hereditary and the most common type of eczema. It is estimated that up to 17% of Canadians will suffer from AD at some point in their lives.” Eczema is characterized by red, itchy, and swollen sometimes with fluid-filled bumps that ooze and crust. If you have it, you know just how painful it can be! The most common causes are genetics, stress, immune system responses and allergic reactions.
Our third most common skin disorder is rosacea which afflicts 6% of Canadians which roughly equates to around 2 million Canadians diagnosed with rosacea. Rosacea presents as redness or flushing, as well as small red bumps and small visible blood vessels. Frustratingly, the cause is unknown, but some believe genetics, immune systems responses and environmental factors are at play.
Five Clean Skincare Treatments for Acne, Eczema and Rosacea
Let’s talk about your skincare! If you’re suffering from chronic acne, eczema, or
rosacea, you’re going to want to customize a clean skincare routine to best heal your skin barrier. Unfortunately, many times those afflicted with skin disorders are prescribed harsh and sometimes harmful topicals to address their conditions.
For example, topical steroids are a common prescription for eczema. While these can be effective for a short amount of time, they’re not a long-term solution and can come with a handful of side effects like itching, burning, redness, skin thinning, stretch marks, easy bruising, and spider veins. I don’t know about you, but that has me saying “Thank U, Next” like our girl Ariana, and looking for more natural solutions. Let’s look at the top five clean skincare ingredients that can help treat eczema, acne, and rosacea.
Tea Tree Oil – Great for all Three! Tea tree oil helps fight the two most common types of bacteria that can cause pimples and worsen eczema infections.2,5,8 Healthline shares that “in one study, tea tree oil was proven equally effective at reducing pimples as a lotion containing 5% benzoyl peroxide, a common chronic acne medication.” Plus, you get the bonus of avoiding the common side effects of benzoyl peroxide like burning, itchy, dry, peeling, or flaky skin. Tea tree oil also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Green Tea— Great for all three! This tea is a powerhouse to drink or apply topically! It contains flavonoids, tannins and is high in the EGCG antioxidant. Combined, it tackles inflammation, skin bacteria and reduces oil production.4,6
Aloe Vera – Great for all three! We all know that aloe vera is great for treating sunburns, but did you know those same anti-inflammatory properties are also great for your acne, eczema, and rosacea? On top of that, it contains lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur to tackle bacteria and promote healing.4
Our go-to’s is our Hyaluronic Acid serum.
Coconut Oil—Best for Eczema. Beth Goldstein shares “coconut oil can help with cracks and water loss in the top layer of the skin by providing key essential fatty lipids. These lipids improve the barrier function of the skin, allowing it to feel supple and hydrated as a result.” A 2013 study looked at the effects of applying virgin coconut oil to the skin in children. It found that using the oil for 8 weeks improved the symptoms of eczema.”3
Our Sweet Like Mango body butter is packed with coconut oil and other intense moisturizers.
Lavender Oil – Best for Eczema and Rosacea. Lavender oil has pain-relieving and numbing effects, as well as beta-caryophyllene which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Debra Jaliman says “Lavender is particularly good for people with redness due to rosacea and skin that is irritated by eczema.” An added bonus, lavender oil is full of antioxidants which tackle free radicals and provide anti-aging effects.
How to Naturally Treat Acne, Eczema and Rosacea with Diet & Nutrition
While you’re healing your skin disorders from the outside through skincare, it’s also important to consider your diet and nutrition to tackle it from the inside. Some top things to consider include:
- Zinc – It’s recommended to add this as a supplement (specifically zinc citrate and zinc picolinate, 40-50 mg/day) if you have acne because you’re most likely deficient and you can’t have too much. Zinc maintains the integrity of collagen, kills skin bacteria, anti-inflammatory and helpful in times of high stress.
- Omega 3’s– These are essential fatty acids, meaning we cannot produce them ourselves. They are anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and essential to healthy, clear skin. You can get your omega 3’s through your diet by adding salmon, cold-pressed olive oil and chia seeds, walnuts to your daily routine, or take a fish oil supplement.
- Vitamin A – Known for supporting your immune system, new cell generation and collagen production. AKA your skin LOVES vitamin A! You can get this from orange foods with beta-carotene which is then metabolized into Vitamin A within your body. Add foods like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and carrots to your diet.
- Avoid Dairy – Many skin disorder sufferers notice that their symptoms subside when they cut back on dairy. This is because most adults actually have an aversion to dairy, especially cow’s dairy, which means every time you ingest it, you’re activating your immune system. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, this shows up on our skin in one way or another.
- Amino Acids – These play a role in the hydration of our skin and collagen production. You get amino acids from protein. The minimum recommended amount of protein you should eat is determined by multiplying your weight by 0.8 g per kilo or 0.35 g per pound. So, if you weigh 60 kilos, you need at least 46 grams of protein per day.
The Stigmas And Emotional Toll of Skin Disorders
Aside from some of the discomfort like constant itching and pain from open wounds the likelihood of experiencing perceived stigma was 1.6 times higher for those with eczema compared to those without eczema, and the likelihood of experiencing perceived stigma was 3.19 times higher for those with acne compared to those without acne.7
Trying to Cover Up
Mental Health Disorders
If you suffer from any of the skin conditions above, you know that there is a huge amount of embarrassment that comes along with it. Whether you notice someone staring when you’re struggling with a particularly bad breakout or step away from you when they notice your itchy, bumpy, or broken skin. It can be absolutely mortifying living with a chronic skin disorder.
Individuals with skin conditions are absolute masters of covering and hiding their skin. Some spend a fortune on foundations and never let their friends or S.O.’s see their bare skin. Others completely alter their clothing choices and avoid certain social activities, so they don’t have to reveal problem areas like arms or legs or go out in public during a really bad flare up.
The CDA shares “a Canadian study of nearly 500 patients with acne, found that even having mild acne can evoke feelings of low self-esteem, depression and thoughts of self-harm.” Sadly, acne sufferers are the only ones susceptible to higher rates of mental health disorders. According to AtopicDermatitis.Net, “adults with eczema have a higher incidence of anxiety and depression compared to their healthy peers. Anxiety and depression also aggravate AD, worsening the symptoms such as itching.” It’s a vicious cycle!
The desire to heal skin disorders obviously goes far beyond vanity or appearance. They can carry a heavy emotional burden, social affliction, and sometimes they’re downright painful! Fortunately, organizations and high-profile individuals are continuing to raise awareness to battle the stigmas skin disorder sufferers bear. Thanks to celebs like Kim K speaking out about psoriasis, countless stars like Rihanna, Mandy Moore and Selena Gomez battling acne, the gorgeous Cameron Diaz fighting rosacea, and even the legends Brad Pitt and Adele being open about their eczema, we’re getting closer to normalize skin disorders. And thank God because all of us deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin!
- Bridgman, Alanna C, et al. “Canadian Burden of Skin Disease from 1990 to 2017: Results from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 Study [Formula: See Text].” Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, SAGE Publications, 29 Jan. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7109598/.
- Carson, C. F., et al. “Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, vol. 19, no. 1, 2006, pp. 50–62., https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.19.1.50-62.2006.
- Evangelista, Mara Therese, et al. “The Effect of Topical Virgin Coconut Oil on SCORAD Index, Transepidermal Water Loss, and Skin Capacitance in Mild to Moderate Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Clinical Trial.” International Journal of Dermatology, vol. 53, no. 1, 2013, pp. 100–108., https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.12339.
- McDonell, Kayla. “4 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Pimples as Fast as Possible.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 3 July 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/get-rid-of-pimples-fast#aloe-vera.
- Orchard, Ané, and Sandy Van Vuuren. “Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–92., https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4517971.
- Pazyar N, Feily A, Kazerouni A. Green tea in dermatology. Skinmed. 2012 Nov-Dec;10(6):352-355. PMID: 23346663.
- Roosta N, Black DS, Peng D, Riley LW. Skin disease and stigma in emerging adulthood: impact on healthy development. J Cutan Med Surg. 2010 Nov-Dec;14(6):285-90. doi: 10.2310/7750.2010.09053. PMID: 21084021.
- Sinha, Priyam, et al. “New Perspectives on Antiacne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, 2014, pp. 1–19., https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/301304.