Usually, when it comes to conditions that we struggle with but prefer not to discuss, skin conditions aren't the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, skin conditions can be the second leading cause of living with disability in most parts of the world.
Of all skin conditions, the most commonly observed and reported ones include fungal illnesses, conditions that originate in the subcutaneous layer and acne. If this list already makes you think of someone you know, it just goes to show how prevalent these conditions are.
The greatest issue with treating skin conditions as chronic illnesses, or manifestations of a deeper imbalance, is the fact that skin diseases are often considered cosmetic in nature.
For example, acne is a condition often associated with teenagers or with cases of obesity. In both cases, the idea that acne could be treated by observing the issue as a whole is often ignored.
As for prevalence and treatment modalities, skin conditions are the fourth most expensive condition treated by doctors and healthcare workers worldwide and represent a significant burden on the medical system. This burden is further compounded as people only seek treatment for skin disease when it begins to interfere severely with their daily life, as is seen in the case of eczema, psoriasis or allergic skin conditions such as urticaria.
Common Skin Conditions in The United States
In the United States, acne is the most common skin condition, and it affects nearly fifty million people every year. It's estimated over 85% of the population experiences acne at some point between the ages of twelve and twenty-five. The same study indicates that acne cases are rising steadily every year, sometimes affecting people up to the age of forty.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the next most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 10% of the population. However, eczema is also more common in children, affecting one in every four children. Eczema can be set off as an allergic trigger to almost anything, including food, weather conditions, and more. This makes eczema management particularly hard, as even excess heat and sweating can result in a flare-up.
However, both eczema and acne are shadowed by psoriasis, affecting eight million people in the United States today. While it can occur in any age group, those over the age of forty-five often exhibit the most severe symptoms.
That psoriasis is only a sign of a systemic illness is evident from the fact that 30% of people with psoriasis also produce arthritis symptoms.
Another slightly rare condition affecting the skin is rosacea, which affects the face most often. In severe cases, it can lead to thickened skin and acne.
The Skin-Gut Relationship
Research today shows us that all health begins in the gut. Immune mechanisms that are diverse and complex often influence organ systems as 'far away' from the gut as the skin.
Today, there is enough evidence to show that people with rosacea are ten times more likely to have a lesser-known condition called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO. Moreover, treatment for SIBO usually causes a complete reversal in rosacea symptoms in these people.
Studies linking gut health to inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema show that restoring gut balance can help reduce the severity and frequency of these illnesses and their symptoms.
Moreover, it is also understood that restoring gut balance helps in the reversal of several chronic inflammatory conditions beyond the skin as well.
Since gut health modulation involves lifestyle changes and works to reduce dependency on medication, these long-term solutions can help individuals achieve a better quality of life, reduce the burden on healthcare systems and lead to a lesser probability of debilitating future illnesses.
At Digbi Health, we also understand through patient findings that obesity is a risk factor for psoriasis.
However, a personalized approach to weight loss involving the gut biome analysis and genetic analysis can help target inflammation at its very root, leading to significant results not just in weight management but other associated conditions triggered by obesity and inflammation.
For example, members in this program who achieve their 5% weight loss milestone also report significant reduction or reversal in their chronic skin issues. Over 80% of participants report a reduction in eczema, acne and other rashes, and nearly a third of them have achieved a complete reversal of these conditions as well.
A third of participants with psoriasis also report a reduction in psoriasis symptoms, and we're hopeful that many more will experience these benefits through the Digbi Health program.
To find out more about how the Digbi Health program works, please see here.