Frances Phillips is a registered nutritional therapist, specializing in skin and beauty related issues. Having spent over a decade working as a model while also struggling with her own skin problems, she now offers private nutrition consultations and is a freelance health and natural beauty writer. Frances resides in London, where her practice is based.
People often walk through my door when they’ve exhausted all the conventional options available to them. You could say that I specialize in desperation. They've gone down endless rabbit holes Googling what to do. They’ve tried all the topical and oral products. And they're crazy frustrated.
I totally understand the frustration because at one point, that was me too. I had suffered from eczema since I was a child, and in my early 20s it became really aggressive. My skin would often be infected or bleeding. I was in constant pain and sleep deprived. Both my career and social life were put on hold. Nothing I did was working except using high-strength steroid creams, which I really didn't feel comfortable with using long-term. Oh, and at the same time I got acne (and I mean the horrible cystic kind). By most standards, I was a discerning health conscious young woman but I really didn't feel healthy at all.
As a nutritional therapist who specializes in beauty issues, I seek to address the root cause underlying common complaints. This usually involves dietary advice and supplementation to support the bodily systems involved plus natural topical recommendations.
Here are some of the most common complaints I see in my practice…
Without a doubt this is the top complaint I see. And surprisingly, it’s adult acne rather than teenage acne which seems to be more prevalent; women in their 20s and 30s, usually leading busy, successful lives but are blighted by stress. The severity and progression of acne is thought to be determined by a complex interaction among hormones (the primary factor), bacteria, and inflammation.
To help with this, I look at balancing blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation. This may involve switching excess animal protein for plant protein, increasing fiber intake, reducing simple carbohydrates, or balancing the levels of omega 6:3 in the diet. I also assess exercise regimes—while some clients need more, many are over-exercising which is negatively impacting their hormones—and help find ways to manage or eliminate stress.
I suffer from eczema myself and have been on a long journey to help clear it. Anything that I get my clients to try I’ve always road tested on myself first. Eczema is also a multi-factorial condition so they key for me is identifying what in particular may be exacerbating it for each individual. The majority of cases are thought to be allergy mediated, though this isn’t true for everyone, which is why I personally saw no effect when I stopped eating dairy.
That being said, I’ll firstly address possible food intolerances, the most common being: milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, soy, wheat, citrus and chocolate (sadly). I’ll then look at stress levels, gut health, omega 6:3 ratio and topical products. Depending on the root cause, the protocol will be different but I find stress management can go along way to helping in almost all eczema cases I see.
Some clients come to me with dry skin, that isn’t necessarily eczema. I treat dry skin a little differently, assessing the topical products the client may be using in addition to looking at their hydration levels (you know how important drinking water is, right?!), fatty acid intake and omega 6:3 balance. This is usually much easier to get quick results with compared to eczema, which is a bit more complex. Often climate plays a big role but the solution can be as simple as drinking more water or switching skincare products.
I see this condition slightly less often, but it still affects between two and five percent of the population. There’s a clear correlation between psoriasis and celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. So I’ll look at possible food intolerances as a first port of call with this one and whether gluten intolerance may be playing a role. Alcohol can also be a major aggravating factor for psoriasis sufferers. I’ll then assess gut health, the level of essential fatty acids, balance the omega 6:3 ratio and make natural topical product and supplement recommendations. Adequate sun exposure can also be beneficial.
No matter what your skin issues are, here's the good news: you don't have to live with it for good—it just takes a bit of detective work!
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