How to Control Your Eczema Holistically

Before we can start to control eczema we need to understand what exactly eczema is.

Eczema is the common name for Atopic Dermatitis, which is described as a chronic itchy skin condition. Skin may be very dry, red, inflamed, scaly or even flaky. Sometimes the affected areas can split become cracked or ooze. Some individuals with eczema notice that their skin darkens and hardens after scratching. Most people experience eczema on or near the areas of their body that folds, bends or creases. These places include elbows, scalp, clothing line areas and knees. Eczema can flare up in a sort of revolving cycle or when left untreated can persist for a long period of time. It is prominent in children but some people can suffer from eczema flare ups all their life. There can be a tendency for affected individuals skin to come overgrown by bacteria. Eczema is a common condition that effects 2-7% of our population (Murray & Pizzorno, 582). Not only is it painful and irritating but it can cause some emotional discomfort too.

What causes eczema?

Studies have shown that eczema can be an allergic disease, hereditary condition or an immune system abnormality. Most, if not all affected individuals, test positive in allergy tests and studies have shown that 80% of eczema patients serum IgE (an allergic antibody) levels are elevated. The reason for this is because their Type 2 Helper T cells(a type of white blood cells) have an increased activity. This, in return, causes the Mast cells (a specialized white blood cell) of eczema patient’s skin to have abnormalities causing an elevated level of histamine and other allergy-related compounds to be released. The elevated histamine levels are what causes the inflammation and itching skin symptoms. Another abnormality in the immune system that can affect eczema troubles is the inability to kill off bacteria. This causes an over growth of bacteria on the skin. Scratching an overgrown bacteria colonies on the skin leads to a higher risk of skin infections like Staph., Herpes virus and common wart viruses.

A family history of eczema has been recognized as a possible reason why individuals may develop eczema. About 2/3’s of patients with eczema have family members who also suffer from either this condition or asthma. Paired along with the possible immune dysfunction there may be a major genetic defect that appears in the production of Filaggrin, a protein that promotes proper integrity and moisture in our skin.

Another large contributor to eczema may be food allergies. Studies have shown 81% of cases in childhood eczema has improved with the withdrawal of food allergens like egg, soy, cow’s milk, nuts, fish and wheat. While another study shows that 60% of cases improved with the elimination of one or two of these types of foods. Having a food allergy can cause your gut flora to become under nourished. When your gut flora is not properly nourished it can cause an unhealthy production of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract influencing an eczema flare up. A poorly flourishing gut flora colony can also cause your immune system to work improperly.

Eczema may be caused by allergies to shampoos, soaps, lotions, perfumes, hair products, cleaning products and agents, and detergents. This can be caused by dyes, fragrances and other skin irritating ingredients.

What can help to improve eczema flare ups?

  • Get tested for allergies
    • Allergy tests preformed by a medical professional are the best way to find out what may be causing your allergic reaction(s).
    • Another more economical option is an elimination test. An elimination test may be done on your own or with the guidance of someone who is experienced with this type of process.
  • Change your diet
    • Reducing the foods that are known to cause allergic reactions. Foods like eggs, dairy, grains, nuts, seafood and soy are known food allergens.
    • You should also stay away from foods other family members have known allergies to.
    • You may want to stay away from processed foods. This helps provide healthy nutrition to your gut flora.
    • You may also consider increasing the intake of probiotics, fresh and healthy foods and essential fatty oils.
  • Use health conscious body and cleaning products
    • Staying away from products that contain skin irritating ingredients like dyes, fragrances, SLS, parabens, isopropyl alcohol, and synthetic preservatives can have a positive effect on eczema symptoms.
    • Use moisturizers that create a barrier on the skin to keep moisture in. Ingredients like bees wax, mango butter, shea butter and cocoa butter are very nourishing to the skin and helps provide a barrier to lock in moister.
        • Here is a way to create your own eczema salve.(coming soon)
        • Here is where you can find some already created.(coming soon)
  • Herbs
  • Essential Oils
    • Are also helpful at reducing the time frame of an eczema flare ups and can be substituted into many green, natural cleaning supplies.
        • Here you can find out what oils can help.(coming soon)

Atopic Dermatitis is a common condition that effects the lives of a large part of our population. Eczema flare ups can cause people to feel uncomfortable in their own skin and affects everyone differently. Eliminating irritating foods and irritating ingredients can help you find the underlying cause. Finding the underlying cause of your eczema can improve your symptoms by decreasing the frequency and duration of a flare up. The use of herbs, essential oils and healthy moisturizers can help sooth and reduce the severity of symptoms and support the immune system. Trying these holistic ways to improve eczema can keep flare ups at bay and improve your quality of life.

Related Posts:

Part two:  Using Herbs to Support Eczema

Part three: Using Oils to Support Eczema(coming soon)

Part Four: Creating a herbal salve for eczema flare ups(coming soon)

I Hacked Burt’s Bees Hand Save

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Source:

Michael T. Murray, N.D. & Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Third Edition. July 2012

Amanda Klenner. Herbs for Skin Part 2: Common Skin Disorders. The Herbarium. The Herbal Academy, 2017. http://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/2016/01/herbs-for-skin-part-2-common-skin-disorders/?ap_id=jemdreamz1214

Skin Conditions and Eczema. WebMD, LLC. 2005-2017 http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/atopic-dermatitis-eczema#-1

Eczema. University of Maryland Medical Center. 2017 http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/eczema

 

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4 thoughts on “How to Control Your Eczema Holistically

  1. I feel like I’ve had a good lesson as to the causes and possible treatments for eczema (I’m a former teacher so that’s a good thing!). Thanks for sharing at Over the Moon. We look forward to seeing you again next week.

  2. Wow. Had no idea Eczema can be caused by diet and food allergies. I have noticed in the past few months my daughter appears to have developed it on her elbows. I wonder if it has been something in her diet. Thanks for the information.

    • You’re welcome. It could be allergies to some ingredients in bath and body products or stress also. How old is she? I’d try to figure out what is new in her routine. Good luck.

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