Skin and Stress

Skin and Stress

Why is my eczema flaring up?

We are approaching spring and normally this time of year I would be discussing seasonal allergies and healing skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis) from winter exacerbation. Cold weather, dry homes and warm layers can make these conditions worse.


Self-Isolation & Fear of COVID-19

With the ongoing stress of isolation and fear of the Covid-19 virus, conditions that can be made worse by stress are a worrisome reminder that this is the new norm for a while. So why has your skin worsened?


Cortisol, which is our stress hormone and produced as a fight or flight response, can decrease our immune system. Prolonged stress actually can cause “leaky gut syndrome”, which allows foods that are poorly digested to form antigens in the blood stream, to which we form antibodies. This antigen/antibody complex is what causes inflammation on the skin.

Food Sensitivities

I always say to patients that certain foods react differently in the body depending on how much stress you are under. That vanilla milkshake that you enjoyed on vacation last summer never aggravated your eczema. Fast forward to today and you enjoyed another…big flare up. So what can you do now?


Here are 5 things you can do at home to help heal your skin:


1. Cut out potential allergens

Consider cutting down on dairy, eggs and gluten. These three foods are considered the three most common allergens. If you are in quarantine, it’s not necessarily the time to be picky about what you eat. Try rice, oats, quinoa; fresh or frozen veg, and some type of protein. Tofu, beans, meat or canned fish.

2. Over-hydration during meals

Try not to hydrate at meal time. Drinking large amounts of fluids dilutes your acid and enzyme levels, and can lead to poorly digested food.

3. Warm water and lemon

Start your day off with warm water and lemon juice. You can use one lemon wedge (make sure to wash it well first), or if you don’t have fresh lemons, about a teaspoon from a bottle is fine.

4. Supplements

Consider a B vitamin or multi vitamin if you have one a home. B vitamins can really help with our body’s stress response.

5. Eat gut-healing foods

Look at healing foods such as pumpkin seeds (full or zinc), fish (omega 3 fats), green cabbage (contains l-glutamine which helps to heal the gut), and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, tempeh and miso.

If you would like further information on how Naturopathic Medicine can heal your skin condition, we are currently booking telephone consultations. Stay safe and healthy!

Cathryn Coe, ND