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Using Integrative Medicine for Treating Chronic Skin Conditions

It’s hard to be the skin you’re in, and sometimes quite literally. Chronic skin conditions can affect the quality of life for people of all ages. From acne to mysterious rashes our skin shows us signs of irritation, infection, and inflammation in the most unpleasant ways. Constant itching and scratching will drive anyone crazy, but chronic conditions can really get under your skin. It’s not uncommon to notice a new rash, weird looking bumps, or blemishes and worry that it might be a sign of something serious. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to outline the basics and give you useful tips for treating chronic skin conditions. As the largest and most visible organ of the body, our skin can act a reflection of our health, letting us know there is a problem that needs closer attention.

Common Chronic Skin Conditions

One of the most recognizable signs of a chronic skin condition is a recurring rash.

A rash can look like an inflamed red patch of skin or a group of bumps or spots, which can be caused by irritation, allergy, infection, chronically blocked pores, or an underlying disease. Different types of rashes include acne, dermatitis, eczema, hives, pityriasis rosacea, and psoriasis.


Eczema (also called dermatitis) is an inflammatory skin disorder that results in red, dry,  and itchy skin. It can even cause the skin to weep, bleed and crust over. Eczema and dermatitis are often used to describe the same thing. Dermatitis indicates a more acute to subacute flare-up while eczema can indicate more chronic skin inflammation. Affected skin areas include the folds of the arms, the back of the knees, wrists, face, and hands.

Dermatitis is the most common skin rash. Causes can be topical irritants such as perfumes, soaps, detergent, cosmetics, dyes, mold, animal hair, pollen, temperature shifts, dust & dust mites, metal, chemicals, latex, wool, synthetic fibers, or mineral oils.

Skin Infections

Skin infections can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus.  They can infect the superficial to deep layers of skin.  Some viral skin infections includes herpes, shingles, and warts typically remain contained within a certain area. Bacterial infections, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body. Some examples of bacterial skin infections include folliculitis, cellulitis, and tick-borne rashes. Some examples of fungal skin infections include athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.  

Antibiotics are often used to treat infections. A weak immune system, though, can cause an infection to become chronic and/or more serious.

Treating Chronic Skin Conditions 

Sometimes we come into contact with something that irritates our skin, but do not always recognize the connection. Once the rash starts making a regular appearance, it can become a frustrating guessing game. Don’t lose hope!

Although many topical skin treatments including lotions, ointments, creams, antibiotics, and antifungal agents, are available to temporarily relieve itching and superficial inflammation, it is important to know these topical treatment do not address the root of the problem. Here’s are some tips are what you can do to treat chronic skin conditions from the inside out:

It’s important to note that dietary changes alone cannot get rid of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and even acne. It is best to combine complementary chronic skin condition treatments to relieve symptoms and effectively reach the root of the problem.

Be Proactive About Treating Chronic Skin Conditions 

Don’t wait around for your skin to figure itself out. If you have been doing everything you can to no avail (or feel overwhelmed and just don’t know what to do), you may need some more professional guidance to get to the bottom of your chronic skin condition. Integrative functional medicine physician, Dr. Payal Bhandari, M.D blends diagnostic and medical expertise with evidence-based complementary therapies for people with chronic diseases. By better understanding the root cause to your rash, we can define a personalized treatment that helps resolve the rash permanently. Dr. Bhandari prescribed a personalized treatment plan will drives quick and effective positive results. She will guide you through how your symptoms can be directly impacted by your lifestyle and other environmental factors. Healthy living for patients is dear to Dr. Bhandari’s heart. She loves to help people take back control of their health through simple tips we can each be empowered by.

Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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