THE FACTS ON ECZEMA: ~Eczema affects about 15 percent to 20 percent of all young children and about 2 percent to 4 percent of adults. ~Eczema occurs in both men and women, but men seem to be at a greater risk. (5) ~Eczema has been found to be associated with allergies, especially in children. About one in three children who have eczema also develop allergy-related symptoms like asthma or hay fever. (6) ~About 70 percent of eczema cases in children begin before the age of 5. ~60 percent of infants or children with eczema continue to have symptoms at least periodically during adulthood.
5 Natural Eczema Treatments 1. Leave the Skin Alone (Don’t Scratch, Just Soothe!)
Itching caused by eczema can make it very tempting to scratch dry or peeling skin. But scratching has been found to lead to complications because it can cause open cracks or wounds that allow bacteria in. This sometimes causes infections, especially if the immune system is already weakened. It’s safer to try and leave the skin alone while you treat the underlying source of eczema. Applying a salve or moist towel to dry skin can keep you from picking at it.
Instead of scratching, other tips for protecting sensitive, healing skin include avoiding too much UV light/sun exposure, talking to your doctor if you take any medications that might worsen symptoms, keeping skin away from very hot water or very dry, cold temperatures (which can increase irritation), and changing the products you apply to your skin.
2. Reduce Allergies and Inflammation
Food, environmental factors and skin care products can all cause allergic reactions that trigger eczema symptoms. Allergies can be triggered in those with eczema by things like:
Chemical-containing soaps, lotions, detergents, disinfectants, etc. Dust, pollen, mold, pet hair or debris Foods like synthetic additives or preservatives found in packaged products, gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts. Inflammatory foods like sugar and refined oils might also contribute to symptoms.
3. Breastfeeding and a Healthy Diet
Research suggests that a child’s risk for developing eczema is reduced when the child is breastfed. Into childhood and adulthood, a healthy diet with anti-inflammatory foods can help boost immunity. Foods that might be able to help reduce eczema symptoms are:
Essential fatty acids — These fats are found in things like wild-caught fish, nuts and seeds. Probiotic foods — These include cultured veggies, yogurt, kefir and amasai. High-fiber foods — Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber per day to improve gut health from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut and sprouted grains/legumes. High-antioxidant foods — Consume more fresh, brightly colored plant foods to reduce inflammation and get plenty vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
4. Supplement to Improve Immune Function
Supplements to help control eczema irritation are:
Probiotics (25–100 billion organisms daily): Research shows that probiotic supplements can have protective and preventive effects when it comes to skin health. They’re linked with improved gut health and immune function, along with other related factors like decreased allergies.
Omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 milligrams daily): Help lower inflammation.
Antioxidants (such as vitamins E, C and A): Antioxidants can help prevent skin damage, reduce inflammation and promote wound healing.
Vitamin D3 (2,000–5,000 IU daily): The “sunshine vitamin” helps regulate immune functions and is a very common deficiency.
5. Applying Healing Oils to the Skin
Certain natural essential oils, such as lavender essential oil, which has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, might help keep sensitive skin from flaring up. Make your own homemade eczema cream by combining hydrating, antibacterial ingredients like lavender oil, tea tree, raw honey, coconut or shea butter. You can also use products like probiotics, geranium essential oil and/or myrrh essential oil on sensitive skin.
Eczema Treatment: 13 Ways to Find Relief While there is no cure for eczema, there are a variety of non-invasive eczema treatment options that can provide relief during a flare-up and some that may prevent its onset. These can include corticosteroids, but the following home eczema treatment options may be best.
1. Light Therapy/Phototherapy
According to the National Eczema Association, phototherapy helps to calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production and helps fight bacteria on the skin. (4) Adding 10–15 minutes a day of sun exposure, particularly during an eczema flare, can provide relief and potentially speed healing.
2. Vitamin D
In addition to increasing sun exposure, supplementing with vitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, eggs and raw milk may help prevent eczema in children and adolescents. Ideally, during a flare you will get 2,000-5,000 IU daily; if your sun exposure is low, consider boosting your intake with a high-quality supplement. Preliminary research shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and during childhood may increase the risk for developing eczema. (5)
Because dry skin is both a cause and symptom, it is imperative to moisturize affected areas at least twice a day. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for eczema sufferers. This eczema treatment is antibacterial and anti-fungal, with antimicrobial properties that provide soothing relief, and may speed healing.
4. Treat the Mind and Body
According to Harvard Medical School, some skin conditions, including eczema, have a psychological component. This is a dynamic is referred to as psychodermatology. Researchers have found that hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relation, focused breathing, cognitive behavior therapy and talk therapy may provide not only relief during a flare, but expedite healing and prevent future flares. (6)
5. Dead Sea Salt Baths
The Dead Sea is known for its healing powers, and researchers have found that taking a bath with salt from the Dead Sea water improves skin hydration, improved skin barrier function, reduced inflammation, and relieved redness and roughness. (7) As eczema flares can worsen when exposed to high and low temperatures, bath water should be just warm enough to prevent a chill. Do not rub the skin dry; pat gently with a soft towel.
6. Cool, Wet Compresses
Applying a cool, wet compress lessens the itching for some individuals with eczema. For young children, dampening snug night clothes may provide overnight relief from itching; however, if the eczema has evolved to oozing blisters, a wet compress may increase the risk of infection, and shouldn’t be used.
7. Apply Itch Cream
The intense itching is often the most miserable part of an eczema flare. Try using a natural homemade eczema cream that incorporates Shea butter, coconut oil, raw honey and essential oils to provide much-needed relief.
8. Licorice Extract
Used topically, licorice root extract shows promise for reducing itching in limited eczema trials. Add a few drops to coconut oil or homemade itch creams for best results. (8)
9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found that when fish is introduced into the diet of young children by the age of 9 months, and fish is eaten weekly, the risk for developing eczema reduces dramatically. (9) Including foods rich in Omega-3s to prevent eczema should be considered. During a flare, these foods are a great eczema treatment that will boost immune system function and speed healing.
Probiotics may help prevent eczema in infants and decrease the severity of flares, research shows. (10)(11) In fact, mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding may prevent eczema from developing in their children. During an eczema outbreak and to prevent future flares, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement of 24–100 billion organisms daily should be considered.
11. Lavender Essential Oil
In addition to the intense itching, eczema commonly causes anxiety, depression, frustration and poor sleep. Lavender essential oil is an eczema treatment proven to help reduce these common symptoms that can help heal dry skin. Add 10 drops to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or almond oil, and gently rub into the skin. The aroma can help facilitate sleep, when itching is often at its worst.
12. Vitamin E
Taking 400IU of vitamin E daily can help to speed healing by reducing inflammation. In addition, topical application of vitamin E may help to relieve the itch and prevent against scarring.
13. Witch Hazel
If during a flare the rash starts to ooze, applying witch hazel can help promote healing due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has found that a cream containing witch hazel and phosphatidylcholine can be as effective as hydrocortisone in a double-blind trial. During an outbreak, gently dab this eczema treatment directly onto the rash with a cotton pad. Be sure to use an alcohol-free witch hazel as you don’t want to cause more dryness.
All facts, figures and research based here can be followed up on Pub Med.
If you require further assistant with diet or food intolerances related to eczema or other conditions please call 087 058 3098