new skin, who dis?

Barefoot Health

When I was around 10 years old I developed a rash all over my body. After a few days of trying to treat it at home with baths and creams, my mom took me to a doctor. The primary care doctor didn’t know what it was and sent me to a dermatologist, who also was stumped and needed to ask another doctor to come in and look at it too. Imagine being 10, itchy, mortified, and repeatedly told by doctors that they didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to fix it.

Finally, they landed on Eczema, or Atopic Dermatitis. I was given an ointment and told to avoid long showers and baths.

The initial all-over rash disappeared with the ointment. Every now and then a dry, red patch would appear on my elbows, and sometimes on my chest. I was told it was just an Eczema flare up, and I could expect this to continue off and on forever. I learned to live with it, and it became just an annoying thing that happened from time to time.

Fast forward 12 years, and I’m sitting in my Teacher’s home during my 200 hour yoga teacher training, getting my first lesson in Ayurveda. The guest teacher who was presenting said that a common ailment experienced by people dominant in Pitta dosha is frequent skin outbreaks and rashes. My heart exploded. This woman had my full attention. I had never, NEVER been given any sort of reason as to why I was plagued with this condition, and then there it was. Could it actually be possible that managing my Eczema could be as simple as managing my Pitta?

Barefoot Health

Let’s skip ahead another 5 years to when I really got serious about an Ayurvedic Lifestyle. I developed my Ayurvedic kitchen, complete with spices, teas, ghee and high-quality oils. I quit buying packaged, processed foods and chose fresh, seasonal produce, as much local and organic as possible. I learned to cook for myself mostly, and eat mindful meals, avoiding snacks and eating on the go. I began regularly oiling my skin and practicing Abhyanga, eliminating the need for store-bought lotions packed with weird chemicals and fragrances.

One day it dawned on me; I had not found a patch of Eczema on my body since….I don’t know when! My skin was MY skin, and it felt great, and it was because of the choices I was making for MY OWN body.

I look back on Young Me, and how scared and out of control I felt, how little comfort or even help I was given by the adults in charge, and I feel so happy that the person who finally actually helped me was ME. How empowering, that we can be our own healers.

Eczema is not strictly a Pitta disorder. It can be a symptom of imbalance in Vata and Kapha as well. Deciphering what sort of condition it is takes looking at the nature of the rash, noticing what type weather tends to bring it out most, and which types of foods too. Healthy skin starts on the inside, and what we put into our bodies will be reflected on the outside, in one way or another.

If you deal with a skin condition and feel ready to take control of it, let’s find a plan that will work for your unique body and life.