Rashes and skin discomfort / irritation have a variety of causes. Some are caused by diet while others may stem from external factors such as exposure to irritating or harmful chemicals in our environment including clothing detergent or soaps, cleaning agents and other commercial products.
How can I prevent skin rashes?
Some people find they develop rashes from commercial dish washing and / or clothing detergents.To help avoid rashes caused by external, environmental sources, avoid commercial cleaners, soaps and detergents and opt for something clean and natural.
Use natural and non-toxic soaps and / or shampoos and other cleaning agents for skin, body, hair and other personal or beauty needs. Soaps made with coconut, olive or palm oils and lye are typically safe, with essential oils and few or no other ingredients are safe and effective for daily or weekly cleansing.
Dietary sources of skin irritation
Our diets can contribute to inflammatory conditions in our bodies which can easily translate to skin rash or irritation. Eczema is a common disorder that can arise from consuming products that may irritate the digestive tract and gut lining and produce raised areas or eruptions, itching and discomfort in the skin.
Eliminate processed and packaged foods and opt for a real food, organic diet with traditional foods:
- Consume grassfed and finished meats and pasture-raised poultry and eggs without antibiotics, hormones, and no exposure to chemical pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs
- Consume organically-produced vegetables and fruit, legumes, nuts and grains
- Eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Avoid “food products” and opt for single, real ingredients, and homemade preparations and meals
- Eliminate modern industrial fats and oils such as canola, corn, soy, cottonseed, peanut, safflower and replace with real, traditional fats including butter, ghee, beef or chicken fat from animals raised on pasture, olive oil, coconut oil, olive oil or palm oil
- Avoid GMOs (genetically-modified foods) in food and other products which have been observed to contribute to or cause health issues
Supplements and probiotics
- Probiotic and fermented foods support the immune system and digestive tract. Recommended probiotic brands include Complete Probiotics (Dr. Mercola), MegaSporeBiotic and GUTPro (see probiotic link for more suggestions). Consuming beneficial bacteria can correct imbalances in the digestive tract or gut lining that may directly or indirectly lead to skin irritation or disorders.
- Liposomal Vitamin C for anti-oxidant and immune system support. Vitamin C is a normal component found in the dermis and epidermis skin layers.
- Collagen and gelatin from pasture raised animals is vital for healthy skin. Recommended is Vital Proteins and Perfect Supplements
- Nettle tincture or nettle extract and consume daily. Make your own nettles infusions and drink a few ounces daily if you are experiencing hives or other skin eruption / irritation.
- Cod liver oil. Recommended: Green Pasture Products or Carlson Labs cod liver oil.
Consider other areas in your environment which may produce sources of skin irritation
Consider whether you come into contact with other environmental exposures such as clothing, furniture/upholstery or bedding that may be treated with irritating chemicals. Depending on your situation or health condition, opt for natural or organic fabrics, coverings, and upholstery, or place a layer of something non-toxic between you and the suspected item that may be a source of inflammation. Always wash bedding and clothing several times in a natural detergent to remove any chemicals or substances that may cause irritation before wear/use.
If you have a commercial mattress and aren’t in a position to replace with a natural or organic mattress, consider organic sheets and pillow cases for covering, mattress covers and pads that can provide a barrier between you and the mattress.
Natural methods to treat and heal skin rashes
Aloe vera plants or gel or liquid that can be purchased in most health food stores can be very effective for healing skin rashes. Aloe is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory for skin ailments and healing skin abrasions, wounds and rashes. If you have a plant, simply cut off a small piece of the plant and squeeze the gel found inside the leaf on the affected area. Apply several times daily, or as needed. You may consider using a gauze bandage with tape to keep aloe on the area for several hours or until applied again, depending on the severity of the rash.
Coconut oil is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, very effective for healing and soothing. Apply to skin with 1-2 drops of essential oils such as tea tree (anti-septic, anti-fungal) or lavender (soothing) several times daily.
Chamomile tea compress
Use dried chamomile in a tea bag or cheesecloth compress on the affected area. Prepare tea by boiling water, adding the dried herb in a tea bag or cheesecloth to prepare a compress. Allow the collected herbs in the bag or cheesecloth to cool until warm and then apply to affected area for 5-10 minutes. Repeat as needed, 2-4 times daily or more for acute or chronic conditions.
Also having anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, calendula essential oil can be applied with a carrier oil (coconut, almond, jojoba, olive oil or palm oil, for example) several times daily or as needed.
Cocoa butter and castor oil
This combination is soothing and healing for most any skin rash or irritation. Apply liberally, several times daily, as needed.
Oatmeal is particularly soothing and healing on skin abrasions. Fill the tub with warm (not hot water) and fill a sock with organic oats). Place the sock under water to fill with water and in a few minutes it will become slippery and soapy-feeling. Use all over body or on affected areas for healing.
Epsom salt baths
Epsom salt baths are beneficial for overall health, but they are soothing to the skin if you have had exposure to something toxic that may produce a rash or flare up or varying types. Soak in epsom or magnesium salt bath flakes and warm water as needed, which can be purchased in the vitamin/beauty/supplement section at most health food stores.
Use bentonite clay mixed with water and make a paste to apply to affected skin areas. Allow to remain for 20 to 30 minutes minimum or longer – up to several hours if needed, and then rinse off.
Cover image by Jakob Owens: https://unsplash.com/photos/nKFPNayRbFE