Skin problems often have an inner cause. The sentence: "The skin is the mirror of the soul" makes this aware. This shows how the inside feels on the outside. Skin problems do not necessarily have to occur in connection with an illness. Nutrition, psychological stress and improper care often play an important role here.
The skin from a holistic perspective
Hippocrates and Paracelsus already associated skin problems with pathological internal processes. Remedies already prescribed at that time, such as sulfur, are - or still are - part of the portfolio of a naturopathic therapist.
The skin represents the shell of the human being and, from a holistic perspective, is the physical boundary of the ego, the boundary to the outside world, so to speak. It is a protective coat and serves as a defense. Tenderness and warmth, but also pain and cold are felt through the skin. Everyone knows phrases such as "it gets under my skin", "have a thick coat" or "I can't get out of my skin", which illustrate the connection between the organ and the psyche.
From a naturopathic point of view, skin problems or skin diseases are signs of disorders that affect the entire organism. As if the body had to look for a kind of valve to bring relief. Accordingly, the skin is used in naturopathy for excretion purposes, as is done for example by cupping or building animals. This is supposed to bring harmful things to the outside.
The entire organism is involved in skin problems that are treated with the help of naturopathy. Therapy methods that are frequently used include homeopathy, phytotherapy, nutritional therapy, TCM and orthomolecular therapy.
Skin anatomy and physiology
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and consists of three layers: epidermis, dermis, hypodermis. Their area is approximately 1.5 to 2 square meters, they are between 1.5 and 4 millimeters thick and weigh 3.5 to 10 kilograms. The skin separates the inside from the outside and thus protects the body from environmental influences, pathogens, foreign substances, heat and cold. With its tactile bodies and sensory cells, it is a sensory organ that can perceive pain sensations, changes in temperature, but also emotional feelings. So that the body does not overheat, the skin can give off sweat to create cooling. It also ensures a constant body temperature by narrowing or widening its vessels. The skin represents a kind of communication organ. Especially in naturopathy it is called the "mirror of the soul". Sometimes even looking into a strange face reveals how this person could feel (see also facial diagnosis).
Efflorescences - skin problems
Efflorescences are understood to mean pathological skin changes that ultimately express skin problems and skin diseases. The primary efflorescences are distinguished from the secondary ones. The former are skin symptoms that were triggered directly by a skin disease. The secondary skin symptoms appear as a kind of further development of the primary lesions, for example as inflammation as a result of skin injuries caused by scratching.
In diagnostics, a distinction is made between the size, shape, arrangement, limitation and extent of the skin flowers. So they can be sharply or unfocused, grouped or confluent (confluent), localized or generalized. Depending on the appearance, the skin appearance is also given names. A spot, for example, is a color change that is at skin level. Raised, palpable cell proliferation of the skin, depending on its size, are referred to as papules, nodules or nodes. There are also vesicles or blisters, these are fluid-filled cavities, or pustules, the contents of which consist of pus, and there are also wheals, cysts, scales, crusts, scars, rhagades (split skin tears) and ulcers (plural of ulcers, ulcers). . All of these skin symptoms differed from one another in shape, size, nature, arrangement and extent.
The skin problems also include inflammatory redness, also known as erythema. There are no efflorescences, but the skin is supplied with more blood due to an existing inflammation, usually limited to small areas of the body. A general term for all inflammatory changes in the skin is rash. This can occur, for example, in connection with childhood diseases, such as rubella or measles, and show up together with skin symptoms, such as wheals, blisters or spots. Eczema occurs when the skin “blooms” with an inflammatory component. This is almost always associated with an extremely unpleasant itchy rash. Pruritus (itching) is one of the well-known skin diseases. This is often the only symptom of various skin and general diseases. Itching can be very stressful and must be checked with a doctor. This can sometimes indicate liver diseases or a metabolic disorder.
General skin symptoms
General skin problems include oily, dry and combination skin. Hormone fluctuations, which occur especially during puberty and during the menopause, can cause the skin to become upset.
Dry skin is the most common. This is characterized by weariness and a feeling of tension, especially after washing. The skin can be cracked and flaky, which is often associated with itching. Wrinkling occurs earlier than with normal or oily skin. With dry skin, the regulation of fat content and moisture is disturbed. Neurodermatitis can develop on the bottom of this always dry skin. However, with age, the skin generally becomes drier, and not just on the face. This is because the skin becomes thinner in old age and the ability to retain moisture continuously decreases. Women in menopause suffer from dry, flaky and itchy skin all over the body.
Another skin problem is oily skin. The cause is excessive sebum production, the skin shines and tends to blemishes, such as pimples and blackheads. Adolescents in puberty in particular suffer from it. Combination skin is the combination of both skin types. Forehead, nose and chin are mostly greasy here, with the rest being rather dry.
Regular cleansing of the facial skin, with products tailored to the complexion, is the be-all and end-all. Care should be taken to ensure that the care products used do not contain any chemical additives and preservatives and that they are best natural. Further skin care should also depend on the skin type. Here, a beautician can help and advise.
Skin problems are not mandatory in connection with skin diseases. General diseases can also cause a wide variety of skin symptoms. At this point, only a few explicit skin diseases should be mentioned, since overall a very large number of diseases can cause skin irritation.
Neurodermatitis, also called atopic eczema, endogenous eczema or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin disease with an inflammatory component, with skin problems such as redness, oozing, scaling, crust formation and itching. The cause is still not entirely certain. An interplay of various factors is being discussed, whereby there is always a genetic disposition. The disease can begin in infancy, but it can also start later in childhood or adulthood.
Psoriasis is also known as a possible cause. Here too, genetic predisposition is assumed. The cause is not exactly clear, but is characterized by a multifactorial process. This skin disease usually runs in episodes. Classical psoriasis spots are reddened by inflammation, sharply demarcated and covered with silvery, shiny scales. The predilection sites are elbows, knees, sacrum and the scalp. The psoriasis can spread to the nails and joints.
Acne is one of the most common skin diseases. Skin problems such as pimples, blackheads, oily skin and even papules and pustules are particularly evident in adolescents during puberty. Here, the ups and downs of the hormones are responsible for the development of acne. Bacteria, chemical pollutants such as oils and tar products or medications (e.g. glucocorticoids) can also lead to acne. This skin disease increasingly affects the male sex and can also apply outside of adolescence, in adulthood.
Allergic skin complaints are relatively common. Allergy occurs when a so-called antigen-antibody reaction takes place in the body, which then causes a wide variety of skin problems. Those affected usually already suffer from other allergic diseases, such as a food allergy or hay fever. Allergic contact eczema in particular is becoming increasingly common. Professional groups such as hairdressers, painters, bricklayers or nurses are affected. Daily contact with certain substances can lead to massive complaints. In many cases, only the change of profession helps.
Skin diseases can also be of viral origin. This includes shingles, triggered by the herpes zoster virus. Once you've had chickenpox infection, a weakened immune system can cause another zoster infection, in the form of shingles. The patient suffers from an extremely painful rash, which in the worst cases can cause years of pain.
Causes of skin problems
The causes of skin problems and skin diseases are diverse in nature. This can result from improper cleaning of the skin, for example through frequent washing or the use of aggressive cleaning substances. But allergic reactions to a wide variety of substances, such as disinfectants, latex, paints, paints, hair dyes or the consumption of certain foods, are also possible triggers for skin problems. The main symptoms also include infectious diseases such as measles, chickenpox and rubella, reddening, blistering, dandruff, itching and other skin complaints. The itchy rash in particular is often associated with general diseases. Pruritus that has been around for a long time should be clarified.
Cirrhosis of the liver (chronic liver disease with destruction of the liver architecture), cholestasis (accumulation of bile within the bile ducts), diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism), renal insufficiency (underactive one or both kidneys), neuropathies (diseases of the peripheral nervous system), all of these are examples of Diseases that can be accompanied by severe itching. A lack of vital nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A or biotin can also lead to rashes.
But the psyche can also be felt through the skin. The skin is often rated as an indication of the state of the soul. Sensitive people in particular, who cannot easily “out of themselves”, are prone to skin problems in connection with stress, anger, worries and fears. The red spots on the neck and cleavage, known as "hectic spots", triggered by psychological stress, make this quite clear.
Conventional therapy for skin problems
A detailed medical history is particularly important for skin problems so that the right therapy can also lead to the desired success. In the case of allergic components, intolerances in the area of food, but also the environment in which the patient lives and works, are questioned. So both food and substances from home and / or work can be the culprits for skin problems. Some allergy tests are available for diagnosis. If itching is severe, an antihistamine is used. Ointment therapies are said to soothe the skin and have an anti-inflammatory effect. In this connection, treatment with a preparation containing cortisone is necessary in persistent cases. Antimicrobial therapeutics, gammalinolenic acid preparations and UVA radiation on the skin are also used. Conventional treatment is increasingly being supplemented by naturopathy.
Naturopathy for skin problems
Since the skin, from a naturopathic point of view, is related to the entire organism, the therapy of skin problems aims at measures that stimulate the body's mood and detoxification. In addition to the skin, the excretory organs kidney, liver, lymph and intestinal tract are also included. The psyche also has a high priority in naturopathic treatment. With therapy, with the help of a detailed medical history, mental stress and stressful situations of the patient are precisely queried and, if necessary, treated with suitable methods. Relaxation exercises, autogenic training, yoga or meditation round off the therapy.
A so-called retuning of the body aims to change its willingness to react. This is used more often, especially for allergic skin reactions. These include extensive therapeutic procedures, such as cupping, bloodletting and Baunscheidtiere. Autologous blood therapy is also part of the retuning process. A tiny amount of blood is drawn and re-injected into the body unchanged or processed. The autologous blood treatment can also be carried out orally with potentized autologous blood. This is a pain-free, gentle, effective method, especially for children. Important therapeutic components are also changes in diet, acupuncture, phytotherapy, homeopathy and physical therapies.
A change in diet is often necessary, as many complaints arise in connection with certain foods. Especially in the case of neurodermatitis, there is often a food intolerance, especially milk, milk products, egg protein, nuts, fish, citrus fruits, seafood and cereals. A diet in which certain foods are avoided and, above all, natural food without preservatives, emulsifiers or coloring is preferred is recommended.
Since the skin reactions are closely connected to the entire organism, a homeopathic constitutional treatment can also serve well. Orthomolecular therapy should also not be forgotten during treatment. This therapy procedure is concerned with giving the body the right concentration and dose of missing vitamins, minerals, trace elements, fatty acids, amino acids and enzymes. Skin problems can arise from a lack of vital nutrients, which are treated by substitution as part of orthomolecular therapy. In addition, with its many different medicinal plants, phytotherapy also has one or two herbs ready for healing the skin and the entire organism. Of course, the therapy from the outside, with the help of suitable ointments based on plants, should not be missing. Naturopathy strives to treat both the "outside" and the "inside" at the same time. The choice of suitable treatment approaches should be left to experienced therapists and should always take into account the individual needs of the patient. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- National Health Service (NHS): Common skin conditions (accessed: October 8, 2019), nhs.uk
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Skin Diseases (accessed: October 8, 2019), niams.nih.gov
- Marion Sonnenmoser: Skin diseases: interaction between skin and psyche, Deutsches Ärzteblatt PP 11/2002, aerzteblatt.de
- Mercedes E. Gonzalez: Dermatitis - An Overview, MSD Manual, March 2018, msdmanuals.com
- Wolfram Sterry: Short Textbook Dermatology, Thieme, 2nd edition, 2018