White spots and plantar fasciitis

Q Every time I try to get a tan, I end up with white spots on my legs (like white freckles) and patches of discolouration on my face. The longest I would sit in the sun is 20 to 30 minutes and I always use sun lotion (with organic aloe vera), starting off with factor 15, and, after a few days, I use factor 8. What causes this to happen and is there anything I can do to prevent it as I am going on a sun holiday in August?

A The white spots on your legs may be due to a number of reasons. In some people, these appear as a side-effect of medications, particularly birth-control pills and antibiotics. The side effect is actually an increased photosensitivity, which results in uneven colouration. If you are on any prescription meds, then this could be a factor. Some toiletries, deodorants and perfumes can also trigger a photo-toxic reaction; however, since you are using natural sun lotion, I very much doubt that you would be using chemical-based skin and body-care products.

In other people, fungal overgrowth is the issue. The tiny fungal infections basically prevent the skin from developing a tan when exposed to UV rays — this leads to irregular pigmentation, appearing as the little white spots or blotches you describe.

The fungal infection isn’t contagious, and is typically triggered by sweat on the skin. You can treat fungal infections naturally, using coconut oil as a moisturiser before applying sunscreen.

Coconut oil, garlic, and manuka honey are all fabulous internal and external anti-fungal remedies. Although garlic must be used with great care on the skin as it is potent and can burn — garlic-infused oil is the best option.

When you refer to discolouration on your face, I assume you are talking about the darkening pigmentation known as melisma, or chloasma. This is typically linked with hormonal changes, so can also be a side-effect of either birth-control medication or hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women.

A great number of women find themselves developing this condition as a result of pregnancy, particularly if they are olive-skinned, or pale with a tendency to freckle easily.

If you feel that it is hormonal, then homeopathy is worth consideration. The homeopathic remedy, sepia, is often indicated in individuals where melasma is pregnancy-related and persists long after the birth. To find a fully qualified homeopath, visit the Irish Society of Homeopaths online at www.irishhomeopathy.ie.

q I have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, which means that the heel and sole of my foot are very painful. I was wondering if there was something natural I could use to relieve the pain and tightness?

A Plantar fasciitis occurs as a result of a band of tissue called the fascia, which connects the heel bone and toes, becoming inflamed. Healing can be a long and slow process, since this condition falls into the repetitive-strain category.

If you have flat feet or raised arches in your feet, then this is likely part of the cause. Masai barefoot technology (MBT) shoes are a great option for reducing stress in the tendons, joints, and ligaments. These shoes also encourage a walking style that leads to improved posture.

As far as a natural balm for your feet, I would suggest you try NatraFlex, which works by dilating the blood vessels. Avoid cold forms of treatment, since this leads to restriction of the blood vessels, causing stiffness and delaying the healing process. If you can’t find NatraFlex in your local health store, then try online at www.health-store.co.uk.


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