When friends turn foe: Autoimmunity and skin problems

You must be wondering what do I mean by ‘friend turning foe’ and who is the friend and who is the foe? Well, all of you must be aware that our immune system protects us every time there is an invasion of a foreign intruder such as a bacteria or a virus. It is our immunity which identifies, kills and eventually eliminates the pathogens. But, imagine what would happen in this scenario if your own immunity turns against you and starts treating your healthy cells as foreign intruders. Well, this is how the friend immunity becomes a foe autoimmunity leading to various skin problems which are termed as autoimmunity disorders.

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Autoimmune problems of the skin
Generally, autoimmune diseases can affect any part of the body such as heart, brain, kidney, lungs, muscles, nerves, eyes, joints, glands and digestive system but this article specifically talks about the skin related autoimmune disorders. Researchers have found a definitive link between the autoimmunity disorders and skin conditions or symptoms such as rashes, plaques, lesions, and general inflammation of the skin. The autoimmunity disorder has been studied to leave huge impact on the presentation function and immunity of the skin.

There is a wide range of skin conditions which can result from an autoimmunity disorder starting from skin inflammation and reaching up to psoriasis, sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Vitilago is another problem which arises from autoimmune disorder. A brief discussion of these skin conditions is discussed below.

Inflammation is the first and foremost condition which arises when the body tissues are injured or diseased in some way resulting into swelling, redness, heat, pain and eventual loss of function. Psoriasis is another condition which occurs when the outer cell layer in the skin starts replicating faster than others. One major problem with this condition is that it is chronic in nature. Scleroderma or sclerosis is that autoimmune disease where there is an abnormal growth of the connective tissue in the skin and other blood vessels. Lupus erythematosus is a skin condition mostly affecting younger women and it is known to affect multiple organs in the body. There is an appearance of red scaly patches on the facial skin in patients suffering from lupus. Vitilago is another condition in which the skin cells making pigment commonly known as melanocytes are destroyed causing white patches on different areas of the body.

How do you know your skin is suffering from an autoimmunity disease?
Most of the autoimmune diseases do not restrict themselves to the any one part of the body. The most tell-tale sign of an autoimmune problem is the inflammation which is a result of the autoimmunity disorder. This inflammation can cause redness of the skin producing heat, pain and even swelling. When the skin is affected, rashes, blisters, color changes of the skin become visible and sometimes even function of the skin is lost.

Is there a way to treat autoimmune skin disorders?
Yes, treatment is available for autoimmune disorders of the skin. Conventional treatments use chemotherapy which acts by suppressing the autoimmune diseases thereby preventing the functioning of the immune system completely. But this treatment comes with various side effects and disadvantages.

Added to this a large range of natural and alternative remedies are also available which can not only provide relief from the symptoms of the disease but also from the condition. These are proper use of nutrients, regular exercise, calming exercises or meditation, fixing your digestive system and detoxification. There is an array of herbs and minerals which can be used for the completely natural treatment of autoimmune skin disorders.

Use of herbs and minerals
A number of herbs and mineral supplements such as Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds, green tea, flavonoids, alpha lipoic acid, rose hip and andrographis have been evidenced to be of use in treating the skin condition arising as a result of autoimmunity disorder.

Vitamin D is of therapeutic significance because it initiates the inhibition of the pro inflammatory response of the skin cells. It is of high significance in conditions such as sclerosis. Fish oils, fish eggs and flax seeds all are known to bring down the inflammatory response of the skin. Green tea is not only an anti-inflammatory compound but it also brings about changes in the immune events which may lead to the process of autoimmunity. Flavonoids obtained from plants have various effects in bringing about results in treating the autoimmune conditions of the skin. Rose hip and andrographis have proven to be significant plant medicines in the treatment of autoimmune skin diseases.

Proper diet and nutrition
Healthy diet and proper nutrition has been considered to be a safe and appropriate means to treat as well as prevent autoimmune skin diseases. These diseases are characterized by what we eat and hence a high intake of good food such as green vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and fresh fruits has a good scope of preventing the occurrence of these disease conditions. Antioxidant rich food can bring down the level of oxidative stress thus steering the skin clear from any disease conditions. Antioxidants can alleviate the symptoms of inflammation.

A high nutrient diet combined with some food supplements is a good way to eliminate the cellular toxins and to alleviate the inflammation. Nutrients such as fish oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and probiotics should be used regularly to help you in improve your natural immune response.

Regular exercise
Exercise regularly because of its anti-inflammatory effect. Exercise also helps in flushing out toxins through sweat from the body.

Meditation
Deep relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback or massage are good ways to reduce stress and bring about the calming effects. Aroma touch massages are known as one of the best ways to de-stress and to reduce the chances of disruption of natural immune response of the body.

Detoxification
Environmental toxins and toxic chemicals can result in the autoimmune disorders of the skin. An assessment of the toxicity level of the body is the first step towards initiating the cure of autoimmune skin disorders. Toxic wastes such as mercury, cadmium and lead can lead to enormous problems related to skin. The detoxification of the body through different natural processes is important to treat the autoimmune skin condition.
A regular assessment of hidden food allergens should be made to prevent autoimmune skin disorders.

As always it is imperative to mention here that none of these treatment modules or substances should be used without the advice of a medical practitioner. This article is intended only for information purpose.

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