There are no medical tests to differentiate between various skin conditions, and doctors generally rely on what they see and their clinical experience. It’s difficult to pinpoint your little girl’s exact skin condition without seeing it, but it sounds as if it may be a form of urticaria, which is commonly known as hives. Urticarias are sensitivity reactions, where the skin develops raised, red, itchy patches, usually on the arms, legs and body.
Human beings depend on sunlight in many ways, both direct and indirect. As well as being vital for growing the food we eat and maintaining the earth’s temperature, the sun’s rays influence our skin, eyes and blood vessels and control our sleep-wake cycle through the production of melatonin. Even our moods are influenced by sunlight as sufferers of seasonal affective disorder know. One much overlooked role of sunlight is in preventing calcium deficiency: ultraviolet rays help the skin to synthesise vitamin D, which is essential in absorption of calcium in the colon.
Sunlight is also employed – both in a natural state or in controlled medical conditions – to treat psoriasis, lichen planus, vitiligo and jaundice in children. Additionally, lasers, which are an intense form of light energy, are used in many therapeutic procedures. However, sunlight can also be harmful if you are exposed to it in excess or are run-down. Additionally, the chemicals in some foods (eg citrus fruits, figs, pineapple, parsley, celery, and spices such as turmeric in excess), pharmaceutical drugs (eg, certain antibiotics, tranquillisers, diuretics, the contraceptive pill and HRT) and cosmetic products (particularly ones that are fragranced with bergamot) can make the skin oversensitive to ultraviolet rays. Many skin diseases are induced or exacerbated by the sun, including sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer, cold sores, urticaria and other skin sensitivities. The sun can also fast-forward the ageing process, leading to wrinkles, ‘liver’ spots and dryness.
If there is an overgrowth of candida in the gut, its tentacles can penetrate the intestinal wall, so toxins in the gut can then easily slip through into the bloodstream. These molecules are too large to be excreted through the kidneys, so they have to be eliminated through the skin. This is more likely to happen when the skin is exposed to sun, because the blood vessels dilate and become more permeable, making it easier for the toxins to come out. Itchy, red patches tend to form where the toxins are released.
Here are my suggestions for helping your daughter:
- Give her one cup of freshly juiced apples, carrots and peeled root ginger daily.
- Include foods such as watermelon, grated raw papaya, spring onions, cucumber, courgettes, watercress and squash, which are used in traditional medicine to protect the body against strong sun.
- Avoid foods that make the skin more sensitive, such as citrus fruits, pineapples, mangoes, figs (and juices containing these fruits), rhubarb and celery, canned foods with preservatives, canned drinks containing caffeine, shellfish, smoked fish, sausages, chips and fried bacon. Avoid yeast-containing foods (eg, bread, pizza, Marmite, gravy granules) because they may cause candida overgrowth. Also avoid fungal foods such as cheese (except for cott4ge and goat’s or sheep’s milk cheese), Quorn products, mushrooms and vinegar, and sugary foods, which feed candida.
- Monitor her reaction to eggs and cow’s milk products, to see if she is intolerant to these; if she is, leave out eggs and try goat’s or sheep’s milk (or soya, though some people are intolerant of soya too).
- Vitasorb multivitamins (Biocare): five drops daily for two months.
- Hypericum 30 homoeopathic remedy in tincture: two drops three times daily for seven days. (Available from Ainsworths Homoeopathic Pharmacy, 36 New Cavendish Street, London Wl, tel:020 7935 5330.) If possible, consult a qualified homoeopath.
- Massage the neck and back with my Junior Massage Oil, or Weleda Calendula Baby Oil from health stores nationwide, for five minutes at bedtime to help her relax and sleep well.
- Protect her from the sun as much as possible, and use sun preparations with a physical screen, preferably zinc oxide, which is the most effective.