Dry patches, irritation, redness, soreness...if you've ever suffered from a skin condition (especially if you struggle with an autoimmune disease), you know how frustrating it can be to find a skincare regimen that makes sense.
What Does Our Skin Look Like?
For simplification, there are three primary layers of skin (Skin: Layers, Structure, and Function, n.d.):
- Epidermis: the outermost layer of the skin that protects our other layers of skin from outside bacteria.
- Dermis: the middle layer of skin where collagen is found, where the oil glands are, and where sweat is produced.
- Hypodermis: the fatty layer of skin where connective tissue connects to bone/muscle, where the nerves branch out to connect to our body, and helps to regulate our body temperature.
Image by brgfx on Freepik
How Does Autoimmune Disease Affect Our Skin?
One of the ways that autoimmune diseases can impact our skin is by causing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL occurs when water evaporates from the skin's surface, leading to dry, flaky skin. If our skin barrier has been compromised, it can lead to issues such as sensitivity or irritation.
One of the ways you can prevent TEWL is to use products that protect the skin barrier. This is why all of Soula's products were formulated with plant ingredients that hydrate the skin to keep moisture in without clogging pores. There are several ways to protect the skin:
- Moisturizers-->Lotions, creams, butters
- Ointments or Salves-->Vaseline, Aquaphor
Additionally, you also want to consider what irritates your skin. While we create products formulated with essential oils, we create them using the lowest and safest amount possible, but we also have fragrance-free options.
Also, be mindful of products that can damage your skin barrier such as alcohol-based products, certain exfoliators, and soaps. I love hot water, but I can't bathe in it....warm water saves the day and my skin every time.
It's important to note that autoimmune diseases can also cause specific skin conditions such as:
- Lupus: Lupus can cause skin rashes and lesions, especially on the face and skin of the scalp.
- Psoriasis: Psoriasis causes scaly, red patches on the skin, often on the scalp, elbows, and knees.
- Scleroderma: Scleroderma causes hardening and thickening of the skin, especially on the hands and face.
- Hashimoto's Disease: Hashimoto's Disease can cause dry skin and hair, as well as hair loss.
Know that you’re never alone.
Here are a few celebrities who also live with autoimmune conditions that impact their skin as well:
- Selena Gomez - Lupus: Selena Gomez has lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause skin inflammation and sensitivity.
- Tilda Swinton - Rosacea: Tilda Swinton has rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can cause redness and sensitivity.
- Zoe Saldana - Hashimoto's disease: Zoe Saldana has Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disease that can cause skin dryness and flakiness.
- Venus Williams - Sjogren's syndrome: Venus Williams has Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause dryness and sensitivity of the skin.
- Cynthia Nixon - Psoriasis: Cynthia Nixon has psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause patches of red, scaly skin.
To determine if your skin issues may be connected to an autoimmune condition, consider the following:
- Have you been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
- Do you have any other symptoms of autoimmune disease, see a list here?
- Do you have a family history of autoimmune disease?
- Do you have a skin condition that has not responded to traditional treatments?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, schedule a visit with your provider for further testing.
Skin: Layers, Structure, and Function. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10978-skin