If you suffer from eczema, you’re not alone. While this condition affects about 1 million Australians, there is a lot you can do to treat it… Today I’ll share with you 19 natural ways to get relief from Eczema.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a chronic, itchy inflammatory skin condition affecting 1 in 5 people globally, and it’s on the increase. While eczema most commonly affects children, it can also impact many adults.
Eczema is characterised by reduced skin barrier function, with dry skin the main symptom.
Red and scaly areas on the front of the elbows and the back of the knees
Watery fluid weeping from the affected skin
Sores that may become infected by bacteria or viruses
Risk factors for eczema
If you suffer from eczema, there’s a high chance you may also have asthma and hayfever. This is known as atopy — a genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases.
The most common risk factors for eczema are:
Genetics — a number of genes have been identified as increasing the risk of eczema
Leaky gut and poor digestive function (i.e. breakdown of food)
Food allergies and sensitivities
Variations in the gene called Filaggrin — this is important in the formation of the skin barrier. Normally, every cell in the skin has two copies of the filaggrin gene. People who are susceptible to eczema only have one copy of this gene which may lead to an inability to repair damage to the skin barrier.
An overstimulated immune system — in a healthy immune system, the two types of T-helper Cells are called Th1 and Th2. They work together to create a balanced immune system. This ‘balance’ is like a seesaw — you want both Th1 and Th2 to work synergistically. Individuals with eczema have a Th2 dominant immune system and suppressed Th1 responses, which contributes to developing food sensitivities and allergies.
Natural treatment strategies for eczema
An elimination diet or food intolerance testing — we offer these in our clinic, see your Naturopath for assistance.
Eliminate gluten, dairy, soy and any other identified or suspected allergenic agents.
Avoid heat causing foods and beverages like alcohol, lamb, chocolate and mango.
Avoid damp causing foods like deep-fried foods, coffee, tea, soy milk.
Follow a gut healing protocol as specified by your Naturopath.
Probiotics — specific strains of probiotics have been shown in numerous clinical trials to be beneficial in eczema.
Specific Nutrients for Eczema
7. Zinc — wound healing and anti-inflammatory, often low in eczema sufferers.
8. Essential fatty acids like fish oil — important part of healing skin, decreases inflammation, can reduce itchiness, redness and scaling.
9. Vitamin D — important for a healthy immune system and skin cell differentiation. There is a direct relationship with low vitamin D levels and increased risk and severity of eczema.
10. Quercetin — behaves like a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory and has been found to reduce inflammation and irritation in atopic dermatitis skin.
Fool-proof your environment
11. Ensure you are using low allergenic skincare, washing liquid and cleaning products
12. Always wear protective gloves when using any type of chemical or detergent
13. Avoid chlorinated pools
14. Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions, and strongly scented shampoo and conditioners
Treat your skin
15. Avoid using ordinary soap as the ingredients may aggravate eczema. Wash your body with water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products.
16. Ensure adequate moisture using low allergenic moisturisers.
17. Take lukewarm baths or showers and avoid really hot showers.
18. Herbal extracts — Golden seal and liquorice creams can be made by your Naturopath if infection and inflammation is present.
A word on stress
19. It’s easy to think of eczema as just about what goes on your skin, but as you can see, there’s really much more to it. One of the best things you can do for your skin is to reduce the amount of stress in your life, as stress can flare eczema symptoms.
Yoga, meditation, reading, good quality sleep, exercise, can all help reduce stress.
For a personalised plan to help manage eczema and improve your overall wellbeing, book a consultation today with Natalie. You can book a free 15-minute call with Natalie to see how she can help you.
If you are having difficulty with skin issues and would like some free advice from our qualified Naturopaths, drop in to the Herb Bar anytime Monday through Friday from 8am – 1pm or Saturday 9am – 1pm. No appointment necessary and a qualified Naturopath will be on hand ready to assist you with a free advice, practitioner grade natural supplements and herbal medicines. The Herb Bar is located at the Centre, 16 Murray Street Hamilton NSW 2303.