Your rash won’t go away… Horrible reddish patches of itchy, flaky skin just looking to be triggered any moment now are wrecking your life.
Beach or pool time? Nope.
Exercise? Sorry… sweat probably makes it worse (and then you’ll have to shower sooner which dries it out even more).
Summer heat? Save me!
I get it.
Skin rashes are a form of personal torture. I’m not sure what level of Hell they qualify as, but they’re life wreckers. Skin rashes leave you itching in your sleep and wanting to hide every affected part of your body from the light of day. No one needs to see it and you certainly have no interest in their stares.
The oozing… the nonstop itching… the flaking, red skin. Lovely, right?
If your rash won’t go away, you may have already realized that they’re pretty much like an undiagnosed form of cooties.
So yeah… rashes that won’t go away really stink.
And unfortunately, conventional dermatologists don’t really know how to crack the ever elusive skin rash code. If they had, then you wouldn’t be reading this.
Because I’ve personally overcome chronic eczema, I wanted to share what key nuggets of wisdom that were completely (and repetitively) overlooked by dermatologists.
This way, you can stop the flares and finally heal your skin.
Bottom line? When your rash won’t go away, it’s time to ask yourself what else could be triggering your rashes that doctors aren’t telling you.
5 Reasons Why Your Rash Won’t Go Away
Before we go into the five reasons why your rash won’t go away, you probably have what’s known as “leaky skin.” Ongoing, chronic skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and other “mystery” rashes are signs that your skin barrier may be permeable.
Ongoing, chronic skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and other “mystery” rashes are signs that your skin barrier may be permeable.
I first heard the term “leaky skin” several years ago on a post about overcoming struggles with eczema.
You could certainly equate “leaky skin” to “leaky gut”.
It implies that your skin is struggling to keep things out of your body similarly to leaky gut syndrome. In the case of leaky gut syndrome, the gut barrier becomes permeable. This state allows various foreign items (food particles, bacteria, yeast, viruses, etc.) to enter your body in ways that aren’t appropriate that end up triggering your immune system.
Your skin is similar to your gut in that it is also a barrier meant to protect you from outside objects and organisms.
But when its ability stay sealed tight is compromised, then you can end up with easily triggered skin rash flares.
So if you’re wondering how you can stop eczema (or psoriasis or any other rash) from spreading, you’re not asking the right question.
And that’s an important point.
The questions that you ask about how to get better mean either managing symptoms or actually resolving them.
If getting better is important to you, then maintaining some sort of semi-sick state via a slew of “band aids” isn’t going to heal your skin. That might be the way of conventional medicine and pharmaceutical drugs, but not that of a functional nutrition approach that more often gets better results.
That’s why it’s time to look at the pieces to your skin mystery that are being overlooked so you finally live rash-free.
Looking At Your Skin From The Inside Out
While this concept flies in the face of everything you’ve experienced with your skin so far, it’s true. That’s why all those creams and ointments don’t seem to work.
It’s why treating the way the skin looks and the symptoms you hate barely manages to tame them.
At some point out of itchy desperation, I thought to myself — but is there a way to actually resolve this?
I was tired of masking the unending eczema symptoms I had. My dermatologist didn’t seem to think that there were any other options even though my rash won’t go away whatever we tried.
“There’s no cure. You just have to live with it. We can try different things to see if we can get it under control.”
It’s 2017 and this is the best we can do?!?!?
Frankly, I think that’s rubbish.
It’s time to look at healing chronic rashes from eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis (and others) from a different perspective.
You deserve it after everything you’ve put up with.
In my own case, I addressed gut issues and have witnessed a 90% resolution to my chronic dyshidrotic eczema.
No amount of steroid creams and vaseline would fix it.
To be entirely forthright, going gluten free and dairy free just wasn’t enough to even make a dent.
In the process of figuring out how to heal eczema on my hands, I discovered five terribly overlooked (yet game-changing) spots that dermatologists miss.
They follow the “inside-out” concept and address the missing pieces often ignored by conventional approaches to skin rashes and problems.
#1 – Leaky Gut Syndrome
If you really want to follow the theory of “inside-out”, then the first place to look is your gut.
The gut is the main area of your body responsible for absorbing nutrition from food. However, it’s also the spot that’s susceptible to certain foods and agents that can increase how “leaky” the intestinal wall is.
To be clear, you do not want your gut wall to be leaky.
Items like NSAID drugs and gluten both increase the leakiness or permeability for everyone. You do not have to be gluten sensitive or have celiac disease to be at risk of increased leaky gut as one ground-breaking study demonstrates.
If you find the whole topic Leaky Gut confusing, you’re not alone. There’s a great explanation of leaky gut from a non-medical perspective HERE that will break it down for you.
When your gut lining no longer has the capacity to maintain strong, fortified walls, chronic rashes are one of the common symptoms that can result. (source)
Leaky gut also has the capacity to trigger to autoimmune diseases that directly impact the skin such as dermatitis herpetiformis, vitiligo, psoriasis, dermatomyositis, lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and even eczema (which is sometimes categorized as an autoimmune disease). (source, source)
To resolve Leaky Gut Syndrome, you’ve got to determine your unique triggers. Then a customized plan is devised to remove them and work to reseal your gut so that your body is less reactive and inflamed.
#2 – Nickel (In Your Food)
“Do you wear any jewelry or watches?” asked the dermatologist.
The doctor looked surprised. She assumed that I wear some sort of cheap metal that was triggering my rash that won’t go away.
To be fair, it’s the first question most non-medical people will ask you as well because it’s pretty common that nickel in that cheaper jewelry to irritate skin.
But what you might not realize is that there is also nickel in certain foods.
So if you are sensitive to nickel, ingesting it could cause similar problems as when you wear a $5 watch.
Some very common foods in the gluten-free diet are rather high in nickel. This could be another reason why going gluten free (and even Paleo) isn’t enough to resolve the problem. (source)
Foods high in nickel include chocolate, millet, rice, almonds, buckwheat, gluten free oats, peanuts, various nuts, dates, raspberries, and pineapple. (source)
If you’ve reacted in the past to cheaper jewelry and want to know what metals in your diet could be a problem, check out the MELISA test. It looks for reactions to metals that could show up as skin rashes.
#3 – Filaggrin Gene SNPs
Though it would take some serious googling to find this out, you might have “leaky skin” due to an issue with your gene that dictates the production of Filaggrin.
Filaggrin is a protein that’s necessary to maintain a healthy skin barrier. But when Filaggrin isn’t properly produced… well..
Houston, we have a problem. Namely, a rash that won’t go away.
This is important to talk about here because “twenty to thirty percent of people with atopic dermatitis have an FLG gene mutation.” Currently, 36 different genetic SNPs have been identified that directly impact those us wondering why the rash won’t go away.
In case you didn’t know, a SNP (pronounced “snip”) in the gene that produces Filaggrin (noted in scientific papers as FLG) means that the outer layer of your skin will have structural challenges. (source)
If this seems complex, allow me to share an analogy that will simplify what’s happening.
Imagine the roof of your house.
The shingles are critical to keeping water and rot from entering your home. The cells on the outermost layer of skin are like your shingles.
If the 30-year shingles you had installed were defective and started to disintegrate after 6 months, it would be a major catastrophe, right?
You’d end up with leaks and damage to your ceilings and walls. Mold grows through the drywall.
It’s bad news all around.
The bottom line here is that one of the main barriers to your home from the elements has been compromised.
And that’s what happens to the outermost layer of your skin called the epidermis. Those cells are defective in some way due to the way Filaggrin is being made.
This critical layers of your skin can’t protect the tissue underneath from pathogens like bacteria and yeast. Allergenic substances like pollen or dust mites become a chronic problem. It can’t maintain proper hydration which contributes to drying. Nor can this layer keep the pH of the skin where it should be.
Forget about maintaining soft, balanced, moisturized skin!
Your outermost layer can’t maintain proper hydration that leads to dry skin. Nor can this layer keep the pH of the skin where it should be.
Wanna get tested? Here’s the genetic test that can help you determine if you have any Filaggrin SNPs and if so, how many.
Oh and by the way — this totally shouldn’t come as a surprise…
If you have SNPs in the genes that determine your Filaggrin production, you’re more likely to be sensitive to nickel and have food allergies. (source)
#4 – Food Sensitivities
Since I just mentioned a nickel sensitivity and food allergies, I have to add that food sensitivities can trigger rashes.
I had round rashes on my arms and legs that were red, itchy, dry and scaly before removing gluten, dairy, and eggs from my diet in 2008. They popped up as moderate and severe food sensitivities on a blood panel that I had run.
After three months of staying 100% compliant, the rashes disappeared on their own as did my need of creams that barely made a dent on them.
If I get glutened, I develop a very distinct red, scaly, dry rash across my cheeks and nose that appears overnight. Even though it’s quick to appear, it takes nearly a week to subside.
These types of reactions that we call food sensitivities are known as IgG reactions and differ in many ways from IgE reactions. IgE reactions are truly allergic in nature that result in symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling and even anaphylaxis.
IgG reactions can sometimes take days to appear and can be difficult to pinpoint. IgE reactions are typically pretty immediate and much easier to determine the culprit.
Though IgG food sensitivities (or intolerances) are not root causes to gut and skin issues, they certainly are triggers.
That’s why knowing what foods you react to is critical to healing your rashes (as well as your gut). (source) And thankfully it’s much easier (and much less expensive) to find out what they are.
#5 – Gut Infections
Though most people searching for answers often think that food sensitivities and food allergies are to blame, I’ve found this to short-sighted.
When removing food triggers doesn’t work, the next step is to look for gut infections.
Before you jump off the deep end, let’s qualify something.
Even minor gut infections can cause chronic skin rashes like eczema and psoriasis.
Minor infections from bacteria, yeast, parasites or viruses can all impact the inflammation within your gut. This action contributes to Leaky Gut Syndrome (which you’ve probably heard of before).
The toxins and irritation produced from these infections can contribute to rashes and flares.
And they have the capacity to trigger other symptoms like GI complaints (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating), brain fog, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, congestion, and low immunity (to name a few).
In this instance, you are the landlord over your gut.
Like any good landlord, you’ve got to know what is living in your gut.
When you discover that there’s an imbalance (or dysbiosis) OR unfriendly residents, addressing them can stop the never-ending flares and rash that won’t go away.
And finally… with a deep sigh of relief… heal your skin.
Don’t worry if you’d like to avoid antibiotics!
You don’t need to necessarily rely on them to deal with the bad gut bugs. Many pharmaceutical anti-microbial drugs are based on naturally occurring herbs. There are plenty of formulations available that have anti-microbial properties that can be used in their place.
I use them successfully as a clinical nutritionist with clients who come to me with chronic complaints that are blown off by doctors.
Here’s what to do next
Use the hidden triggers I just listed off as a guide to help you get to your unique combination of skin rash root causes.
But if this is overwhelming and you’ve already spent tons of time trying to figure this out without success, it’s time to ask for help.
You don’t have to continue to suffer alone… I know because I’ve been there and I’ve also worked with clients who’ve experienced remarkable changes as a result of getting a helping hand.
Since most chronic skin cases are a result of underlying gut issues, click the link below to book a “Gut Strategy Session” with me. During this session, we’ll drill down to identify root causes you’re at risk for and what to do next.