Dermatitis or eczema is a sort of inflammation of the skin. Dryness and recurring skin rashes, redness, swelling, itching, crusting, flaking and cracking are some of the symptoms.
The cause of eczema is unknown. What we know is that it can be triggered by allergens, environmental toxins, external irritants like soaps, laundry detergents, household chemicals, metals, fabric softeners etc.
Eczema prone skin is likely to be producing less fats and oils, and its ability to retain water is diminished. The space between cells widens since they aren’t plump with moisture and water from the dermis is lost so irritants and bacteria find an easy entrance. This is why soaps and detergents trigger or worsen eczema, as they strip away the oil that skin is producing making skin fragile, dry, inflamed or cracked.
While psoriasis is often linked with external allergic triggers, eczema is often caused by food allergies.
Atopic eczema is most common in children, but can be present in adult years. There is no quick fix, but figuring out what causes it to flare up and treating the symptoms is usually the best course of action to take.
7 Strategies to Relieve Eczema
1) Avoid Exposure to Toxins & Irritants. Especially Avoid Steroid Creams.
Harsh soaps, laundry detergents, washing liquids, fabric softeners, household chemicals, metals, etc should be avoided at all costs and replaced by mild and natural alternatives.
The steroid (corticosteroid) creams are the most common prescription treatment. The steroid creams do work initially, but after a while they cease to work. These creams contain synthetic steroids, which are absorbed into the skin, and can wreak serious havoc with our adrenal system.
2) Address Food Allergies by Conducting Wheat, Milk & Eggs Elimination Trial Diets
Wheat, Eggs and Milk are the most common suspects, thus conducting the elimination diet trial is very beneficial for all of these agents.
I suggest starting with wheat elimination diet as wheat (gluten) is one of the most common offending agents. A gluten-free diet in duration of couple of weeks should lead to some improvements if wheat happens to be your eczema trigger. Avoiding grains in addition could be a bonus, as this will normalize the insulin levels and reduce the skin inflammation. In case there is no improvement, the wheat can be slowly reintroduced. The elimination process is then followed in the same manner for milk and eggs (one after the other).
Food Intolerance Test is another great approach to addressing allergies. I used http://www.testyourintolerance.com/ and like it because it is non-invasive and very broad: the testing is done against more than 600 food and non-food substances based on couple of hair samples.
3) Add Vitamins & Supplements
Hydrating your skin from the inside out is very important. It is best done by by consuming high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats like wild salmon, krill oil or fish oil and it has been shown to lessen the severity of some people’s eczema, particularly the itching.
Including Evening Primrose (gamma linoleic acid) oil works miracles for some people.
Vitamin D in the form of sun exposure is extremely healthy especially for psoriasis.
High-quality Probiotic and/or taking enough fermented foods is another good strategy in optimizing the health of the gut and preventing skin conditions.
4) Chamomile/ Oatmeal Bath
Chamomile is incredible at soothing the skin, it reduces inflammation, tames itchiness, and heals cracked skin. Place 4-6 tablespoons of dried (German) chamomile flowers with oatmeal (optional) in the cheesecloth or muslin and tie off. Run hot water over it and let it cool down. Soak for 20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Pat dry with a towel and apply your regular moisturizer as needed.
5) Pure, Raw Honey
Honey is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, helps speed up the healing process of broken skin, and it is a humectant (draws water to it). Apply a thin layer of honey over the affected area. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes then rinse off with cool water and pat dry. Make sure you use pure, raw honey.
6) Ensure Constant & Proper Skin Hydration
When it comes to soothing those dry, itchy, painful patches of skin, nothing can really take the place of a good salve. I have been in the search for a good salve for years and this is the one that combines some great healing ingredients: Shea butter, Calendula, Beeswax, Lavender, Cedarwood and Geranium essential oils. Raw organic shea butter has been used as a base, as it represents one of the best moisturizers and has a high content of fatty acids with wonderful ability to repair, heal, and soften the damaged skin. It can also help reduce inflammation, which is huge when it comes to eczema. Shea butter, in addition, does a great job of penetrating the skin and filling in the intercellular space that has opened up and caused the skin to lose moisture.
Melt beeswax and oils in double boiler, cool down a little and stir in the essential oils.
If you don’t have time or ingredients to make it, you can order it from our Etsy shop by following this link: Eczema Relieve Salve
7) Keep Track of Possible Offenders
Keep a little log book and track what you are doing and eating, when you have flare-ups or you notice any discomfort. Track your diet, and any products that you may have used (e.g. new cream, shampoo, detergent, hand soap, medication and similar). Eventually you may see a pattern that will give you a better sense of what to avoid and how best to manage your eczema.
I wish you success in managing your skin conditions and hope this article helps a tiny little bit.