A woman intensely scratches her neck, leaving welts, while waving a white flag in surrender.

Give It Your All

Whether you have mild or severe atopic symptoms, the tedious amount of hours spent trying to figure out what is wrong can make anyone feel like throwing in the towel.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and it's never a simple fix when something is wrong. And with any niche medical community, dermatology only looks at what is happening on the skin, not what may also be happening within.

Our bodies are trying to convey messages

We are such a beautiful and complimented structure, a confounding machine where all parts seem to be interconnected for our wellbeing. When we see our skin is painful, irritated, and red, we sometimes do not stop to think about what our outer body is trying to convey - a message.

But what message?

What is our inner being shouting to us from the other side?

Where to begin?

Honestly, there is no answer to that. When we see our skin waving an SOS banner, it is imperative that we investigate.  I sometimes like to pretend tiny gnomes are residing inside my body that make the machine run smoothly. Some are cleaners, some are makers, and some are just managers. I also think about how my gnomes function themselves, and when they are slacking off and causing my skin to proverbially 'call it quits,' I wonder if there is anything I can do to help my fellas out. What is it that I am not providing for them to be successful?

Doing the work to figure out what's wrong

That's where the tedious hours come in. We must do the work. And it could be tiresome work, aggravating, and sometimes, even lonely. However, if we change our attitude about our skin and the efforts it takes to keep her healthy, I think it will be easier to get through our skin journeys.

Our options

Man, are there many.

Allergies

I know a plethora of people who have patch tested and figured out if there was a real allergy issue at hand - this one I find to be the stinger. If you have an allergy, you tend to feel happy that you have finally found an answer. Nevertheless, having an allergy is not exactly a celebration. But, if you find yourself in this boat, cherish the gratitude in having an answer and taking time to find the best way to avoid your trigger.

Nutrition

I can not even count the number of times a specific diet has been thrown at me to help my skin. Paleo, carnivorous, vegan, et cetera. What many fail to realize is that we are human snowflakes -- no one alike. We vary in our needs. One diet may work for someone else, but not for you. I recently hired a nutritionist and have been so grateful to find things customizable to solely myself. I have been lacking some major nutrients, as well as certain gut functions (my gnomes have been on quite the siesta down there). Perhaps your own gnomes are in need of help, too.

TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Herbs and history to save the day. This long-time used method has done wonders for some. I gave it a shot for 5 months, but I couldn't continue (due to monetary reasons at that time). Despite my own lack of ability, I know others have found incredible TCM doctors who listen to every word and detail about their specific flares and skin. They have specific herbs that can be applied and taken orally that have been shown to lessen the severity of skin diseases. Acupuncture, too, has been shown to assist certain patients' emotions and need to itch.

Genetics

Good ol' genes! Sometimes, it's hard to pinpoint what is exactly wrong, especially when we may not be able to do much about it. If not sealed properly, our skin barrier can be the reason for much of our atopic dermatitis. Filaggrin, a vital protein that helps keep our skin barrier strong and safe, if weakened, can wreak havoc for our skin.1 It's like a dam having its walls crushed in. There will be leaks and spills. L-histidine, an amino acid, plays an important role in filaggrin support. A study showed that oral use of this amino acid did show improvement in patients' atopic dermatitis.2

Still lost?

You and me, both! However, when working with a professional, in whichever route you end up taking, do so with all you've got. With this condition, we tend to give up a lot in our lifetime. From missing parties to abstaining from delicious desserts, we keep drawing the short stick to what we feel we "deserve."

We deserve to be healthy

At the end of the day, though, what we deserve is health. We deserve to be free of itch and redness and flakes. If avoiding alcohol, cutting out dairy completely, or keeping to a custom TCM herbal remedy for a year is what you need to achieve health, then do it. And I don't mean sort of, kinda, mostly do it. I mean 100%. Your health is so important, meaning your comfort, your energy, and your emotional state. Do what your little gnomes need so they can function at their optimal level. If they are, then you will, too.

Never give up hope. You deserve success.

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