092: Deciphering Weird Burning Skin Rashes w/ Ashley James

Many of us with skin conditions don't know exactly what is going on. We often don't know our root causes, so we have trouble finding out why our skin is flaring up in various ways. I hope today's guest will help you.   

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

My guest today is Ashley James, an entrepreneur, coach and podcaster.

When Ashley was 22, she lost her Mom to cancer.  This loss was so great it caused Ashley to reassess her life. She became determined to learn how to help others lead healthier happier lives.

She is a massage therapist, Reiki Master, a master practitioner and trainer in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis, and coaching.

When Ashley isn’t interviewing doctors and holistic health experts for her podcast or coaching her wonderful clients to achieve their life and health goals, she is spending time with her husband and son, enjoying the Pacific Northwest, exploring the Greater Seattle Area and cultivating her skills in the kitchen by cooking whole food, organic meals for her family.

Join us as we discuss the fascinating story behind Ashley's skin rash, and the steps she took to heal.

Are you working to find your skin rash root cause? Let me know in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Ashley's skin rash story
  • How Ashley treated her skin rash
  • Did Ashley use a topical cream on her armpit area?
  • How did Ashley keep the affected areas dry?
  • How to manage stress


“I'm used to candida being in the vagina, or thrush in the mouth, or some kind of something in the gut. Those are my experiences with it. I had never had a candida infection or a yeast infection on my skin.” [4:59]

“I have to be honest. The skin rash kept me honest and it helped me stay on track to really manage healthy blood sugar, and stress and sleep. I had to do all of that.” [9:50]

“We get so habituated to stress mode that it becomes our new normal. I challenge you, all listeners, to create a new normal, become habituated to the healing mode. Relax, rest and digest and heal mode.” [19:31]


Find Ashley online

Jen's appearance on Ashley's podcast, Learn True Health: Ways to Make Healthy Skin

About That Skin Rash… Can It Be Candida? article

Healthy Skin Show 043: Candida and Skin Rashes: A Hidden Root Cause

Healthy Skin Show 052: Blood Sugar Imbalances And Skin Problems w/ Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo

7 Keys To Learn True Health That Your Doctor Will Never Teach You [Free Video Series]

Ashley's stress-busting webinar

092: Deciphering Weird Burning Skin Rashes w/ Ashley James FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hey everyone and welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show. I've got a good friend with me today. I've actually been on her podcast two times already. I'm so honored that she was willing to come here and share her story with you all about dealing with some very unpleasant skin rashes, and how she kind of figured out what they were connected to and whatnot, because it's an interesting journey. I know for many of you listening, you don't always know what exactly is going on. You haven't figured out those root causes yet. I'm hoping that my friend Ashley's story will really help you, especially if some of this sounds familiar.

Jennifer: My guest today is Ashley James. She's the host of the Learn True Health podcast, as well as a holistic health coach, master practitioner and trainer of NLP Timeline Therapy and Hypnosis. After losing her mom at 22, this really caused her to reevaluate her life and why she's here. Now she shares all about how to gain health naturally through holistic medicine, diet, supplementation, nutrition, and lifestyle changes with her community, with a podcast, with the world. Ashley, you're killing it with this huge podcast, Learn True Health.

Ashley: Thank you.

Jennifer: I love that you're influencing people like this. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Ashley: Absolutely. I want to let your listeners know that they can hear you on my show, episode 198, and episode 360, both really awesome interviews. It was great having you on the show. I actually really loved episode 360, because you dive into the root cause and really help people get to the root cause. I love that that's what your podcast is all about.

Jennifer: Yeah. Tell us a little bit about this weird rash. When did it start? Did you know what was going on initially or were you just like-

Ashley: Oh I had no idea.

Jennifer: Okay.

Ashley: I had just given birth. Our son was weeks old. I was coming to my naturopath, the clinic for followups and we were having problems breastfeeding. It was just, there's so much stress. I put a lot of stress on myself. All of a sudden I noticed that my groin area, not vaginal, but my groin, like all the skin around, and even my tummy, and my underarms were burning and red. I'm like, what is going on? My body was doing some crazy things after giving birth, being pregnant. It's crazy. The body does some weird things. Out of nowhere I've got these … I lift my armpit up to put, I use like all natural deodorant, but still I lift my arm pit up. I'm like, what is that?

Ashley: It was raw and scary. It was almost oozing. It was just so tender and I felt so ashamed to show this to the naturopath I was working with, because it's like, “Hey, can you look at my groin and see this burning down there?” I don't know. I felt somehow like even more broken and shame. I felt like I did it to myself. I don't know, everything was going wrong it felt like. The breastfeeding wasn't going well. Our baby had colic. We were getting no sleep. At the last minute we had to be rushed to the hospital to give birth, so I didn't get my home birth. Every thing seemed like was going against me or my body was going against me. Then we have this mysterious rash. It was painful, it was red, it was itchy, it was burning. It really freaked me out that it was in two separate places, my underarms and the groin area.

Jennifer: Can I ask you a couple of questions here?

Ashley: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer: I assume that you probably first thought, okay, well maybe is the underarm area connected to the natural deodorant.

Ashley: Yeah. That was my first thought, like oh, because I always switch up, until I finally found the one I love, which I've been with for the last few years. I keep switching up natural deodorants, so it's like, oh, did it go bad? Did I just give myself some kind of skin infection from my natural deodorant? Then when my crotch was burning, all the skin around it and my tummy, I'm like, oh, this is not good. Then I started to think, am I detoxing? That's where I went to next, because it's the sort of areas that perspire. I'm thinking, is there something wrong with my ability to detox, am I detoxing something crazy that my skin is reacting to. Those were my two first thoughts.

Jennifer: How long did it take you to figure out what was going on?

Ashley: Well, luckily I had the guidance of the naturopath. I showed her and she right away said, “This is a yeast infection.” Candida, right?
Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ashley: I'm used to candida being in the vagina, or thrush in the mouth, or some kind of something in the gut. Those are my experiences with it. I had never had a candida infection or a yeast infection on my skin. To me it just looked like I had third degree burns basically. It was very grotesque and looked much more acute than any kind of pictures I've seen of yeast infections. She said a yeast infection and I immediately got, like it just clicked in my head that it was blood sugar, because I know that when someone has reoccurring vaginal yeast infections, they really need to look into their diet and make sure that they're not … Yeast lives off of sugar. When you eat a sugary diet or you have uncontrolled, unregulated blood sugar, the yeast is going to thrive. It's going to throw a party in that area of your body wherever it lands.

Jennifer: I mean obviously you just started doing, I would assume, some like natural therapies for this, but was it something that went away quickly or did this really take a while and a lot of trial and error basically to finally get it to go away?

Ashley: You know, I feel grateful that I immediately cut out what little sugar I was eating. My body was coming back into balance out of having gestational diabetes. I had reversed type two diabetes in my past and I no longer had it, but during pregnancy the placenta can cause diabetes in an attempt to always keep blood sugar high for the baby. The moment the placenta left my body, my blood sugar returned to normal, but I was left with these cravings. I went after the coconut ice cream, because I thought I deserved it. Actually one of the midwives said to me, “You know, to get more milk supply,” … because I was having problems with breast milk, probably all the stress I was under, or I gave myself the stress, she said, “You know, you just should eat more calories. You really need to make sure you're getting enough,” because I was so busy focusing on the baby and not enough sleep.

Ashley: I really wasn't eating, or cooking food or preparing any healthy meals. I went to the coconut milk ice cream bars. I really feel that I gave the yeast infections to myself. I was under a lot of stress, that can affect blood sugar. I was not sleeping, that affects blood sugar, and I wasn't eating well and that affects blood sugar. Triple whammy.
Jennifer: Yeah. Out of curiosity, because I know some people listening to this, I've gotten a lot of questions about like the armpit burning, and I've got these weird rashes in different spots. Did you find that anything topically was helpful-

Ashley: Yes.

Jennifer: -or did you just do an internal?

Ashley: Yes.

Jennifer: Okay, great.

Ashley: No, absolutely. I'm thrilled to say that I, I guess intuitively, figured I should use my baby's diaper cream. This is our first child. We haven't had another one since and we might, but this is our first child, so we got really prepared. I went to our local hippie, crunchy granola store where you can get all the really great organics baby stuff. I picked out everything that I would possibly want just in case. Okay, in case we have a diaper rash, we're going to have this all natural zinc diaper cream and with calendula in it. I love calendula. It's so soothing. When I had this horrible rash, after I knew it was a yeast infection, I just slathered my armpits and that sensitive groin and tummy area with the all natural diaper cream, and it worked like a charm.

Ashley: Now it was the summertime. I was sweating a lot and it was hot. We don't have AC. It's Seattle. We don't really need AC, but I was sweating a lot and so it kept coming back. It would come back not as strong and then it would go away. I'd have to keep the areas dry and use that diaper cream. It would go down really fast when I used that diaper cream. Between the diet and the diaper cream, I was able to get it to go away. It did come back a few times just to remind me, hey, you know, you got to just keep eating healthy. I would use it as a guide. I can be in denial and lie to myself and say, “I eat healthy.” Then the skin rash would come back and be like, okay, you know what? I actually wasn't.

Ashley: I have to be honest. The skin rash kept me honest and it helped me stay on track to really manage healthy blood sugar, and stress and sleep. I had to do all of that. I had to make sure I was covering all my bases to take care of myself. Even though it was a horrible experience, it was a really great reminder, like a kick in the pants that I can't put my body last, just because we have a newborn. I really had to make sure, be even more diligent that I ate healthy, that I managed my stress, that I got sleep, and that topical cream worked amazing. It was an all natural diaper cream with zinc and calendula and it's in a yellow tube. I can't remember the name, but it's invented by a German doctor and it's a yellow tube. I can give you the brand or you can put it in the show notes if you want. I really enjoyed it.

Jennifer: Yeah. Here's the thing. There's a lot of lessons I think that one can pull out of your experience. Number one, you can have yeast infections, yeast issues in other areas. A lot of times we assume that yeast infections only really affect the vaginal area. Look, you're like, it wasn't really in that area? It was kind of around.

Ashley: It wasn't in there. I was like, what? If it was in there, I'd have known what it was. It was everywhere else.

Jennifer: Exactly. Then another piece is like you had to work on this from that two pronged approach. It wasn't like just one piece, solve this. It's like you've got your outside in, but you also have inside out. You've got to work on that together. I love that that's one of the things that you've highlighted here. The other piece that I would love if you could maybe share a little bit more on is, you said about keeping those areas dry. Do you have any tips for anybody who might be like, oh my gosh, this is me? Did you find anything? I know this might feel like it's super obvious, but sometimes when you're just in it, you don't realize how important it is, or little tips. Is there anything that you found to be helpful to keep those areas dry, so that they didn't stay moist and perpetuate the issue further?

Ashley: Right. Well first of all, I bathed often. I would take a bath or a shower every day. Then towel off, and lie on the bed, and sort of like spread eagle and just let myself dry, make sure I was really dry. Then there are times when it was really acute and it would chafe as I moved. That was painful too, so I did experiment with raw coconut oil. I found that that was soothing, but the calendula zinc baby diaper cream was even more soothing. I experimented with talc powder. I know that there's controversy around that, that some have now been linked to cancer, so I wasn't like really thrilled about using it, although I bought like the organic baby kind of stuff. I tried that and that was okay too.

Ashley: What I found was just like bathing often and the certain kind of clothing I'd wear or not wear, so wearing clothing that breathed, like cotton, versus wearing something that's plastic, like a spandex, being aware of like even the underwear, making sure that it breathed was really important to keeping it dry.

Jennifer: Then I would also assume too, if you are getting sweaty, it's like you don't want to re-wear those clothes. Get them washed, one time only, because remember that they're touching your skin. Now you've got those organisms in say, the armpit section. You want to get those clothes washed. Ideally, I mean I don't know it's the best to wash all clothes in warm or hot water, but when you're trying to kind of de-sanitize things, it is better to use a warmer temperature than cold.

Ashley: You can use essential oils. I use a blend of essential oils that have like a eucalyptus for example, and you can put like 10 drops in your load. Then I like to put 10 drops in my dryer. That also helps to kill because essential oils are antiseptic. I wouldn't say, don't put the essential oils directly on your skin, especially when you have a flare up like that. You have to be really careful, but you can wash with essential oils along with your detergent. When it was really acute, I couldn't wear underwear. Obviously it would chafe that area. I ended up wearing maxi skirts. I really wasn't going out of the house. I mean, again, I had a newborn. I'd wear maxi skirts, so I was just letting a lot of air flow in that area and not have anything touch it or chafe it, was really important to helping it heal.

Jennifer: One last question, you mentioned about stress. Stress seems to be one of the biggest triggers that everybody complains about when they have these skin rashes, but I feel like I need to do better with it. I need to manage my … Like we talk a lot about managing our stress and dealing with our stress, but I find that most people don't actually do much in reality, because they're busy and they have other things going on. Do you have a couple of tips for people, like even busy moms, or busy grand moms, or dads who may be listening, of ways that they could help bring their system from like being completely scattered, anxious and on overload, down to the ground without taking like 30 minutes?

Ashley: Right. Yeah. The thing that stress is, people … I had a client once tell me, because I kept saying, okay … Like I gave her homework to do to help decrease stress, and she never did it. She'd do all the other homework I gave her, like the eating healthy and exercise, but she wouldn't do the stress reducing homework. I kept bringing it up and she finally got frustrated with me and she goes, “I don't feel stress.” I was like, oh thank goodness, thank goodness you've pointed this out. You don't feel stress. Stress isn't an emotion like anger. We're all expecting to feel this emotion. If you actually feel stressed, you're about to pop. Like, your barrel is full. Stress is physical stress on the body, emotional stress, mental stress, external stressors like environmental stressors.

Ashley: All of that does the exact same thing. It takes our body out of the healing mode, the parasympathetic nervous system's response called rest and digest, and it puts it into the fight or flight mode, the sympathetic mode. You don't feel it, but your heart rate variability has gotten worse, or your pulse is up, your blood pressure is up. There's symptoms that could tell you you're in stress mode. Oftentimes people don't take it seriously because they don't feel it. People don't take high blood pressure seriously because they don't feel it, until it's really high. Then they're like, wow, I can really feel it in my head. Then they could pop, right? What we want to do is way before we get there, we want to understand that turning the rest and digest mode on, is the only way our body heals.

Ashley: Our body doesn't heal in the fight or flight mode. We understand that doing daily things to decrease stress equals putting our body back in healing mode, then we'll value it. Things like deep breathing, going for a walk in nature, taking your shoes off and putting them in the ground releases electrons, because wearing rubber soled shoes, we actually store electrons that we shouldn't have. They're free radicals. Release them by earthing or grounding. If you can, go outside, put your feet in the grass for a few minutes, lie down in the grass, look up at the clouds, take some deep breaths. Do this every day, just to come back to you and turn your healing mode back on.

Jennifer: I love that. It is such a powerful message. I typically will challenge clients to do like two minute sub breathing every day. It's funny how it's the one thing. They'll take their supplements, they'll do their diet and they're like, “I don't feel like I'm doing anything.” I'm like, “You just want to calm down.” One thing too, I don't know if you've ever tried this, one thing that I find helpful, because I'm very much a type A person, is sometimes when I feel like I'm sitting there, and I'm like okay, I'm trying to relax, I'm trying to let things go, mind be centered, just breathe, I put my hands on either side of my abdomen and focus on breathing into my hands. It's really interesting. You have this experience of feeling the abdominal muscles release, because you don't realize how much tension you hold there. Even just that little trick actually helped me go, wait, I'm doing something, because I can physically feel it. Have you ever tried that before?

Ashley: I have had that experience many times where I didn't realize. My mom would always say, “Don't wear your shoulders like earrings.” I didn't realize how stressed I was. I'm like, I'm not stressed, until I actually let go, and I'm like, wow, there was a lot of tension there. Okay. We get so habituated to stress mode that it becomes our new normal. I challenge you, all listeners, to create a new normal, become habituated to the healing mode. Relax, rest and digest and heal mode.

Jennifer: One of the things it sounds like you're inviting everybody to do, which I think is amazing, is number one, to have that recognition that you don't feel stress. Even though you don't acknowledge, you're like, I'm fine, I'm fine, oh, wait, stress [inaudible 00:20:02] my thing, but I'm really fine, you need to go, wait, hold on a minute. We're not okay. We're in constant stressed out or fight and flight mode. We need to back things down a little bit and prioritize some of these other things like, hey, going out and putting your feet in the ground and grounding, bare feet, mind you or lay … I love that, layout in the grass.

Jennifer: Although for those listeners who've got a lot of outdoor allergies, I can know how that might be like, nope, sorry, Jen. That's off the table, but every single person could sit there with their sit bones grounded into a chair, both feet flat on the floor, two hands on either side of the belly and just close your eyes and breathe for a couple of minutes into those hands and feel. Literally, you're doing something. You're releasing the tension through your gut. I think as you're sharing with us, that reduction in stress right there can help bring your blood sugar down and keep you in healing mode. Right? You're doing something.

Ashley: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jennifer: That's what I hear.

Ashley: Yes. When you say blood sugar down, it's more like bringing your body back into healing mode will help your body to regulate blood sugar better,-

Jennifer: Or effectively.

Ashley: -because blood sugar, insulin and cortisol, they play off each other. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so by bringing your stress down, going into healing mode, then you are going to help your blood sugar regulate better, and your blood pressure and every other organ in your body. Like I said, you can't heal when you're in stress mode.

Jennifer: Yeah, that's a powerful message. I love that. You cannot heal while you're in stress mode. I think that's our quote of the day from this. I love that, Ashley.

Ashley: Yay.

Jennifer: Tell everybody how they can find you and how they could get connected to you.

Ashley: Awesome. Yeah, they can search. You guys can search, Learn True Health, Learn True Health podcast with Ashley James, in any of your podcast apps, or you can go learntruehealth.com. Definitely check out episode 198, and episode 360, with Jennifer. It was fantastic having you on my show. I also have a Facebook group, Learn True Health in Facebook. We have a great community of people that love to help each other. Anytime there's a health question, like people ask about their favorite, like what's your favorite natural cosmetic, and I'll answer. Then there's like 50 other people that'll answer. Everyone's answer is great. It's a whole community. It's not just me helping people, it's a little community helping each other, which is awesome.

Jennifer: Yeah. I'm actually in there and it is, I was surprised. I was like, wow, there's so much activity in here. It's wonderful. Everyone's supporting one another and it's really positive. That's something that I can totally appreciate. We're going to put all of your links in the show notes, as well as to both of the episodes that I was on, and any other relevant information, because I know all of you listening to this, when you're just like downloading the podcast episodes because you're a subscriber, you might not know all the other things we have at Skinterrupt, and other episodes in the Healthy Skin show that will support this information that Ashley just shared. We actually have a number of them. I want to make sure that if you're listening to this and this is really hitting home, I want you to know that this isn't just one episode and like, what do I do now.
Jennifer: We do have some other resources that you can dig into, especially about candida and how it impacts the skin and whatnot. As I said, check out Ashley's podcast. It's phenomenal. She's just got, oh my gosh, 360 episodes and counting. You are killing it, lady. You're doing a lot of good work.

Ashley: Thank you.

Jennifer: You know? You're helping to connect people with the other options that they aren't really hearing about at the doctor's office. I think that's ultimately the greatest service. It doesn't mean that everybody has to do every single thing, but at least you have the options and you can make the decision that's best for you.

Ashley: Exactly. I want to empower everyone. I'm want to empower all the listeners so that they can advocate for themselves.

Jennifer: That's a great thing because you need to be able to do that in this day and age. You have to be your own advocate. Well, I just want to thank you so much for joining us and I hope we can have you back sometime.

Ashley: Awesome. I'd love that. Thanks so much for having me. This was great.

“I have to be honest. The skin rash kept me honest and it helped me stay on track to really manage healthy blood sugar, and stress and sleep. I had to do all of that.” [9:50]