081: Managing Expectations For The Skin Rash Journey Ahead

When the going gets tough, it can feel too easy to throw in the towel. You might think you're doomed and that nothing can help you.

But the truth is, addressing your skin rashes and rebuilding healthier skin takes time… a lot longer than it does for other issues. And you need to know that so that you can manage your expectations.

There's nothing worse than believing that the path forward would be short and sweet when there were lots of potholes along the way that no one bothered to tell you about.

Depending on what's going on with your own health, you journey may be shorter or longer than someone else's.

Regardless, I want to share with you my own tips to help you manage your expectations so that you CAN stick to the path ahead and see it through.

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In This Episode:

  • What it means to take the scenic route when addressing your skin rashes
  • How long does it take to get better (generally speaking)
  • Why you should never compare your journey to anyone else's
  • Tips for staying the course
  • Why getting help doesn't mean you've failed yourself
  • Are you a failure if you “cave” and reach for a medication when you're trying to deal with your skin naturally?

Managing Expectations For The Skin Rash Journey Ahead (Full Transcript)

Welcome back to episode #81 of the Healthy Skin Show!

In today's episode, I want to talk about the concept of managing your expectations when you begin walking down the path of addressing your skin rashes in a more alternative, natural way.

Here's the thing — the natural route is definitely not the faster route. I call it taking the scenic route because it does oftentimes take a lot longer to see results to see shifts and improvements in your skin. Especially because your expectation may be that it will act just as quickly as pharmaceutical agents.

A lot of people assume that because it's natural, it's better. They also think that they'll see results just as quickly as the pharmaceutical drugs that they were once taking.

That's is not true.

It's important to know this because the road ahead can be a long one. And that's why it's critical that you have your expectations appropriately set.

That's why I always try to manage the expectations because if you have the assumption that in two to three days you'll be feeling much better by taking an herb. That might not be the case. It may take much longer. It may take a combination of things to help you get results and your case may require coordination between a practitioner that's more alternative minded or integrative minded as well as one that is more conventional where you pair both conventional and alternative together to get the type of results that you are seeking. Because at the end of the day we really want results on the things that are driving us nuts like itching. I mean, no one wants to be up in the middle of the night itching themselves crazy. If you can't sleep, your daily experience can become a nightmare. And so in that particular instance, it may be helpful, especially if your skin symptoms and your gut symptoms and other symptoms are really severe to consider pairing alternative and pharmaceutical therapies together to help get you to a place where you're much more comfortable.

And I just want to say right now that there is no shame in having to do this and in fact this is what the healthy skin show is all about. It's not about me preaching to you that there's only one way is the right way and should you choose to find a creative solution in pairing them both that somehow you're wrong or bad or whatever. The reality is there's too much judgment when it comes to how we each individually walk down this path.

At my lowest moments, it didn't really matter to me how I got the itching or the burning to stop. I just wanted to stop being in pain. In that moment, that was all that was most important to me. It didn't matter whether it was a calendula salve or steroid cream.

Granted, I tried to use this little of the steroid cream as possible. But the point is — we shouldn't judge one person's path over another.

We shouldn't feel bad for having to integrate them both because frankly there are positive things that can come from both sides of looking at the same problem because if we decide that one is inherently bad all of the time, we can miss out on some of the potential good that can come, especially when pairing them both make sense. I know this might come as a shock to some of you who are listening to this going, wait, Jen, I really want to hear you talk mostly about all-natural alternative agents and therapies that can help us, but the truth is that in no moment should you throw the baby out with the bathwater, you should leave all of the cards on the table and find the way forward that works best for you. It doesn't mean that any of this is permanent. It just helps you get to the next goalpost because the truth is taking the scenic route is tough.

It involves a lot of sticktuitiveness that people sometimes don't have, and if you've been suffering with eczema — horrible, horrible eczema with horrific symptoms that have caused massive damage to most of your life — as if eczema itself or whatever this skin issue was, is a wrecking ball.

Sticking with it through hiccups along the way and the speed bumps can be really challenging. And in those moments when you've hit your lowest point, it's just so much easier to throw up your hands in defeat and give in and say, I guess I'm meant to suffer for the rest of my life. So to help you manage your expectations and get your head in the right place for the journey ahead, I want you to keep the following in mind. According to functional medicine, for every year that you have been sick and experiencing symptoms should be equal to about one month of time working on your health to reverse or walk back that issue.

So if you've been sick for nine years and dealing with your skin issues for nine years, it could take nine months at least in order to get the issue turned around and getting the issue turned around assumes that you're not sensitive to things. There aren't setbacks, there aren't hiccups, there aren't any lag times and getting labs and that everything goes along smoothly. That said, there can be hiccups, there can be setbacks, there can be speed bumps. In the road and you should be prepared for them. Sometimes it feels like you take five steps forward and then you end up taking three steps back and yes, there are people who find a straight line forward, do really well, respond well to the different things that they're exposed to with their practitioners, and there are others who have issues whose body responds slower and is more complicated and sensitive than someone else's system.

It's best to not compare yourself to anyone else's journey. Your body and your situation are unique and you have to be present to that. Putting blinders on and focusing on your own journey rather than wishing that your journey was someone else's. In general, skin takes longer to get addressed in the system because it's the lowest priority organ. We can walk around with huge gashes and be breathing and functional in life. We might not be comfortable, but you certainly can be alive. However, if something were to happen to your lungs or your heart or your brain, that's a different story that would land you in the hospital and potentially be life threatening. It's also equally important to celebrate every win, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant, especially in your own eyes, we are the worst judges of little tiny wins because we're always expecting it to be some grand, amazing win that we can share with the world, but maybe for this one day you didn't itch.

Maybe for the next couple of days you didn't itch, and while that might not seem like a win for you, it might be huge and focusing on the little wins by tracking your symptoms and tuning in and listening to your body that can help you be very present to what's going right instead of constantly fixating on what not going your way or appears to be going in the wrong direction. Also, it's important to reach out for help. I've discussed this in terms of just mental and emotional health. To have a community that surrounds you, whether it's physically or even online, it also means that you don't need to do and figure out everything on your own. Getting help isn't a sign that you've personally failed yourself or your health. Getting help can be the smartest thing that you've ever done because it gives you a support system that you didn't have before and help can look like working with a practitioner or talking to a counselor or even a support group.

And lastly, know your why, your bigger why for what is driving you to turn your health and your skin around. Maybe it's being able to out and play with your kids or to show up in the way that you want to enjoy your life with your husband or your wife, whatever it may be. Know that that bigger why is critical to help get you over the toughest moments. Because in those moments of you don't really know what your why is, it's pretty darn easy to throw in the towel that greater Y can be the driving force that helps you always look straight ahead every single time you look at your kids or your spouse or something you're passionate about, you feel excited to move forward and you keep on going even when things get tough because of that. Why? So have you been beating yourself up for what you have or haven't done, cut yourself some slack.

Take stock of where you are, find a community, find the support systems that you need to really thrive. Define your why and then give yourself a realistic timeframe to begin seeing improvements while you are actively working on things. It's my hope that by helping you manage your own expectations about your journey ahead, we'll get you in the right mindset to be able to face that journey with the sense of patience, resolve and stick-to-itiveness that you need to see things through.

If you'd like to share a comment or ask a question, leave them below!

If you know someone who's really struggling, that you share this episode with them to help give them a sense of hope and maybe a mindset shift that they need in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I really appreciate you tuning in and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode!

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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