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Dr. Fong's FREE
ECZEMA GUIDE

How to Cure Eczema Permanently

From the Inside, Out

Root Cause #4:

Leaky Skin

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What is Leaky Skin?

Leaky skin, also known as impaired skin barrier function or increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), refers to a condition where the outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum, becomes compromised, allowing water and other substances to escape while making the skin more susceptible to irritants and allergens. This phenomenon can contribute to various skin issues, including eczema, dryness, redness, and inflammation. Understanding the science behind leaky skin and its underlying causes is essential for effectively managing and addressing this condition.

THE SCIENCE

The skin serves as the body's first line of defense against environmental stressors, pathogens, and dehydration. The stratum corneum, composed of layers of dead skin cells embedded in a lipid matrix, acts as a barrier that regulates water loss and protects against external threats. When this barrier becomes compromised, as in the case of leaky skin, it can lead to increased sensitivity and susceptibility to skin issues.

Genetic Factors & Leaky Skin

baby with eczema

Genetics plays a significant role in determining an individual's susceptibility to skin conditions, including leaky skin. Variations in certain genes can influence the structure and function of the skin barrier, making some individuals more prone to experiencing disruptions in barrier integrity. Two genes, KIF3A and FLG (filaggrin), have been particularly implicated in skin barrier function and may contribute to leaky skin.

KIF3A Variants: KIF3A is a gene involved in the production of kinesin family member 3A, a protein essential for intracellular transport and maintenance of cell structure. Variants in the KIF3A gene have been associated with alterations in skin barrier function and increased susceptibility to skin conditions such as eczema. Individuals carrying certain KIF3A variants may have a compromised skin barrier, leading to increased permeability and susceptibility to leaky skin. (ML Stevens et al. 2020)

FLG Variants: Filaggrin is a key protein involved in maintaining the integrity of the skin barrier by facilitating the formation of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis. Variants in the FLG gene can impair filaggrin production or function, resulting in a defective skin barrier and increased susceptibility to dryness, irritation, and inflammation. Individuals with FLG variants are more likely to experience conditions such as eczema and may be at higher risk for developing leaky skin. (Boguniewicz and Leung, 2011)

Epigenetics: Leaky skin might seem like a daunting issue, but don't worry! There's something you can do about it. Enter epigenetics: the fascinating field that reveals how our lifestyle choices and environmental factors can influence gene expression without altering our DNA sequence. Understanding the role of epigenetics empowers us to appreciate how factors like diet, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins impact skin health and contribute to leaky skin. By making conscious lifestyle choices and adopting healthy habits, you have the power to positively influence your skin's gene expression and support its natural barrier function. Small changes in your daily routine, such as nourishing your body with nutrient-rich foods, prioritizing stress reduction techniques, and minimizing exposure to environmental toxins, can lead to significant improvements in your skin's resilience and overall well-being.

Leaky Gut = Leaky Skin

leaky gut

While leaky skin and leaky gut are distinct conditions affecting different barrier systems (skin and gut, respectively), they share underlying genetic and environmental factors. Genetic variants associated with impaired barrier function, inflammation, and immune dysregulation may predispose individuals to both leaky skin and leaky gut. Disruptions in the gut barrier, characterized by increased intestinal permeability, can contribute to systemic inflammation and immune activation, potentially exacerbating skin conditions like eczema and leaky skin. Learn more about Leaky Gut and Eczema here.

Microbial Imbalance Leads to Leaky Skin

microbial imbalances

Disruption of the skin's microbiome, the diverse community of microorganisms that inhabit the skin's surface, can have profound implications for skin health, including the development of leaky skin. The skin microbiome plays a crucial role in maintaining a balanced and resilient barrier that protects against external threats and regulates immune responses. When this delicate balance is disrupted, typically by factors such as antibiotic use, excessive hygiene practices, or environmental stressors, harmful microbes can proliferate while beneficial bacteria are diminished. This imbalance, known as dysbiosis, triggers an inflammatory response in the skin, leading to increased permeability and compromised barrier function.

In a healthy microbiome, beneficial bacteria help regulate immune responses, produce antimicrobial peptides, and reinforce the skin barrier through the production of essential lipids and proteins. However, dysbiosis disrupts these protective mechanisms, allowing pathogens and toxins to penetrate deeper layers of the skin and trigger inflammation. This chronic inflammation further weakens the skin barrier, perpetuating a cycle of damage and dysfunction. Additionally, dysbiosis can alter the composition of lipids and proteins in the skin, further compromising its integrity and increasing susceptibility to environmental stressors.

By addressing microbial imbalances and restoring a healthy microbiome, it's possible to mitigate inflammation, strengthen the skin barrier, and promote overall skin health. Learn more about the connection between eczema and microbial imbalance here.

Environmental Factors

Industrial Smoke

Environmental factors also play a significant role in its development and exacerbation. Understanding and addressing these external influences is crucial for effectively managing leaky skin and supporting overall skin health. Here are some key environmental factors to consider:

Pollution and Air Quality:

Exposure to air pollution, including particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals, can damage the skin barrier and increase susceptibility to leaky skin. Pollutants can penetrate the skin, triggering inflammation and oxidative stress, which compromise barrier function and contribute to skin issues.

 

UV Radiation:

Chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can accelerate skin aging, impair barrier function, and increase the risk of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. UV radiation induces oxidative damage, DNA mutations, and inflammation, leading to cellular changes that weaken the skin barrier and promote water loss.

 

Climate and Weather Conditions:

Harsh weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, low humidity, wind, and dry air, can strip moisture from the skin and disrupt barrier function. Cold temperatures and low humidity levels can cause dryness and flakiness, while hot and humid climates can exacerbate sweat-related skin issues.

 

Chemical Exposure:

Contact with harsh chemicals found in skincare products, cleaning agents, detergents, and personal care items can irritate the skin and compromise its barrier function. Ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and fragrances can strip away natural oils, disrupt the skin's pH balance, and trigger inflammation.

 

Lifestyle Factors:

Certain lifestyle choices can also impact skin health and contribute to leaky skin. Factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, inadequate hydration, and lack of sleep can weaken the skin barrier, impair its ability to retain moisture, and increase susceptibility to environmental damage.

 

Stress:

Chronic stress can take a toll on skin health by triggering inflammation, disrupting barrier function, and exacerbating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Stress hormones such as cortisol can impair the skin's natural repair mechanisms and compromise its ability to defend against environmental aggressors.

 

Occupational Hazards:

Individuals working in certain occupations, such as healthcare, cleaning, construction, and manufacturing, may be exposed to occupational hazards that can damage the skin barrier. Contact with irritants, allergens, chemicals, and physical agents can lead to occupational dermatitis and contribute to leaky skin.

HOW TO EVALUATE IF YOU
HAVE LEAKY SKIN

Glowy Skin

Identifying whether you have leaky skin involves assessing various signs and symptoms that may indicate compromised barrier function and increased skin permeability. While leaky skin can manifest differently for each individual, there are several common indicators to look out for. Here's how to evaluate if you have leaky skin:

Skin Sensitivity:

Pay attention to any increased sensitivity or reactivity of your skin. Leaky skin can make your skin more prone to irritation, redness, itching, and burning sensations, especially when exposed to environmental triggers or skincare products.

Dryness and Dehydration:

Leaky skin often leads to impaired moisture retention, resulting in dry, flaky, or rough patches of skin. If you frequently experience dryness and dehydration despite moisturizing regularly, it could be a sign of compromised barrier function.

Increased Skin Permeability:

Leaky skin allows for increased transdermal absorption of substances, including skincare products and environmental pollutants. If you notice that your skin easily absorbs topical treatments or becomes irritated by certain ingredients, it may indicate heightened skin permeability.

Flare-Ups of Skin Conditions:

Conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis are characterized by inflammation and barrier dysfunction, which can be exacerbated by leaky skin. If you experience frequent flare-ups or worsening of these skin conditions, it could be a sign of underlying barrier issues.

Skin Texture Changes:

Leaky skin can alter the texture and appearance of your skin, leading to roughness, scaliness, or a "crepey" appearance. Pay attention to any changes in skin texture that persist despite skincare interventions.

Sensitivity to Environmental Triggers:

Individuals with leaky skin may be more sensitive to environmental triggers such as sunlight, extreme temperatures, humidity, and pollution. If you notice that your skin reacts strongly to environmental factors, it may indicate compromised barrier function.

Increased Skin Irritation:

Leaky skin can make your skin more susceptible to irritation from common skincare products, detergents, and fabrics. If you experience heightened skin irritation or allergic reactions, it could be a sign of underlying barrier issues.

Consultation with our Team:

If you suspect you have leaky skin or are experiencing persistent skin issues, consider consulting with our team for a comprehensive evaluation. 

Understanding Your Genetics:

Understanding your genetic makeup, including any variations that might make you more susceptible to conditions like eczema, can offer valuable insights into your health. However, it's important to note that genetic testing for specific variants, such as those in the KIF3 and FLG genes associated with eczema, may not be widely available to the general public beyond research environments. Beyond genetic testing, it's crucial to consider other factors that could influence eczema, such as environmental exposures, lifestyle choices, and personal health history. By adopting a holistic approach to evaluating your risk factors, you can gain deeper insights into the interplay of genetic and epigenetic influences on your health.

HOW TO FIX LEAKY SKIN

Addressing leaky skin involves a multifaceted approach that encompasses nurturing the skin barrier, restoring microbial balance, and mitigating external factors that contribute to increased permeability

Protect your Skin Barrier & Improve Your Skin's Microbiome 

The CleanSKIN Kit is a revolutionary 3-part system meticulously crafted to alleviate itchiness, protect the skin barrier, and provide comprehensive care for irritated skin. Developed by our founder, Dr. Fong, naturopathic doctor and eczema survivor, this kit embodies years of research and personal experience. Each product within the kit is thoughtfully formulated to deliver gentle yet potent relief, drawing from Dr. Fong's expertise and journey with eczema.

CleanSKIN Calm:

Kickstart your skincare routine with CleanSKIN Calm, a mild yet powerful skin cleanser. Infused with gentle hypochlorous acid, renowned for its anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties, this cleanser effectively eliminates bacteria without disrupting your skin's natural healing process. Say goodbye to irritation and hello to refreshed, revitalized skin.

CleanSKIN Restore:

Pamper your skin with CleanSKIN Restore, a rejuvenating probiotic skin spray. Crafted from a proprietary blend of 12 potent probiotic strains derived from organic botanicals, this serum nurtures your skin microbiome, promoting balance and resilience from within. Probiotics have been shown to help lower itchiness, providing relief from discomfort and restoring harmony to your skin.

CleanSKIN Protect:

Seal in moisture and shield your skin from external aggressors with CleanSKIN Protect. Enriched with nourishing organic ingredients like jojoba oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E, this protective balm soothes and hydrates while supporting the skin barrier. By fortifying your skin's natural defenses, CleanSKIN Protect helps to lower itchiness, ensuring lasting comfort and confidence with every application.

Avoid Triggers

Cleaning Supplies

Identifying and avoiding potential triggers is crucial for managing leaky skin and minimizing eczema flare-ups. By recognizing and steering clear of irritants, allergens, and other triggers, you can protect and support your skin barrier's integrity. Here are some common triggers to be mindful of:

Harsh Chemicals:

Many skincare and household products contain harsh chemicals that can strip away the skin's natural oils and compromise its protective barrier. Avoid products containing ingredients like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Instead, opt for gentle, non-toxic alternatives that are less likely to irritate the skin.

 

Fragrances:

Synthetic fragrances found in perfumes, lotions, soaps, and detergents can be particularly irritating for individuals with sensitive skin or eczema. Choose fragrance-free or hypoallergenic products to minimize the risk of skin reactions. Natural essential oils may also trigger sensitivities in some individuals, so use them cautiously or avoid them altogether.

 

Certain Fabrics:

Some fabrics, such as wool and synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, can cause friction and irritation, exacerbating eczema symptoms. Opt for soft, breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo that allow the skin to breathe and reduce irritation. Wash new clothing before wearing it to remove any residual chemicals or dyes that may trigger a reaction.

 

Environmental Allergens:

Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and other environmental allergens can aggravate eczema symptoms and contribute to skin barrier dysfunction. Take steps to minimize exposure to allergens by keeping indoor spaces clean and well-ventilated, using air purifiers and allergy-proof bedding, and avoiding outdoor activities during peak pollen seasons.

 

Temperature and Humidity:

Extreme temperatures and low humidity levels can parch the skin and disrupt its barrier function, leading to increased water loss and dryness. Protect your skin from harsh weather conditions by wearing appropriate clothing and using humidifiers to maintain optimal indoor humidity levels.

 

Stress:

While not a physical trigger, stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms by weakening the immune system and triggering inflammatory responses. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness to promote relaxation and support skin health.

Address the Other Root Causes!

Healthy Diet

Optimize Lifestyle:

Prioritize managing stress levels and ensuring adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water, as these factors are pivotal in maintaining a robust skin barrier.

Optimal Nutrition:

Enhancing your dietary intake ensures that your body receives the essential nutrients required to support a resilient skin barrier and overall skin health.

Address Leaky Gut and Microbiome Imbalances:

Leaky skin often originates from underlying gut issues, where disruptions in microbial balance and compromised gut integrity can compromise the skin barrier. By fostering a healthy gut environment, you can bolster your skin's natural defenses and counteract the effects of leaky skin.

Decrease Toxic Burden:

Minimize exposure to environmental toxins and harmful chemicals, which can exacerbate skin barrier impairment and contribute to leaky skin.

Seek Professional Guidance

Dr. Fong with a patient

Consulting with our team  can provide personalized guidance and support on your journey to better lifestyle choices that improve your Epigenetic factors. Our team at Cleanbody offers one-on-one consultations with Dr. Fong and Cleanbody Nutritionists to assess your individual needs, develop tailored nutrition plans, and address any underlying health issues contributing to poor nutrition. Attend Dr. Fong's next live Q&A session to ask questions or schedule a consultation to start your journey towards optimal health.

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Conquer your Skin Condition FOR GOOD

5 Year Old with Severe Eczema

child with eczema on their back

Day 0

child who is eczema free

5 Months

17 Month-Old with Eczema

arms before and after

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Yajaira's Journey to "Clean" Skin!

Yajaira B.

Overcoming Eczema, Autoimmune Disease, Gut Health Imbalances & Getting off Dupixient

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Get off your Skin Disease Medications FOR GOOD

KG Before and After

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1 Month

KG Before and After

2 Months

4 Months

“I’ve had eczema and skin issues all my life, since literally the day I was born…. Working with Dr. Fong and her team gave me a new outlook on medicine, on my health, on my body and on myself. This whole new side of health and medicine is something I hope for every person to experience and know. Thank you Cleanbody Team!”


-KG (Completed Cleanbody Program Feb 2023)

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MEET MORE ECZEMA WARRIORS!

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Overcoming Eczema & Getting Off Eczema Medications

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Overcoming Eczema, Swelling, Headaches, Low-energy, Anger

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Overcoming Mold to Address the Root Cause of Eczema

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Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this guide is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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