Eczema, also known as dermatitis refers to a dermatological condition that causes swelling along with redness and itchiness of the skin. About 20% of children and up to 10% adults are affected by this condition. The exact cause of eczema is unknown but it can be hereditary or it can be triggered by an allergy, food sensitivity or stress some kind. The conventional approach to this condition usually consists of topical creams that can thin the skin and have hormonal side effects long term.
Loss of sleep, regular follow-ups with doctors, special clothing and regular application of messy topical steroidal creams can severely affect your life psychologically if you are suffering from this condition.
Although there is no known cure for eczema, it can be greatly diminished with some simple lifestyle modification and natural therapies that I am going to tell you about. You can live a healthy and worry free life despite having this condition.
6 Secret Eczema Solutions
Try an Elimination Diet:
If you are suffering from eczema, be aware that most people with this condition are very sensitive to gluten. Gluten intake can flare up symptoms causing more skin itchiness, resulting in sleeplessness. Try to shift from conventional gluten containing diet to one that is free of common allergens (including corn and soy). Cutting out processed food such as bread, crackers, and cereal will help someone suffering from this condition. Dairy is another food that can flare eczema symptoms for many people. Trying 15-30 days without these foods will help heal the immune linings, such as the gut, lungs and skin.
Elimination diet is one of the secret eczema solutions from the inside out. When someone follows an elimination diet such as the Paleo diet they often see a reduction in eczema outbreaks or even a complete reversal. A Paleo diet also has other health benefits such as weight loss, detoxification and improved digestion.
Reduce Your Stress:
Physical as well as mental stress are strongly linked to different skin conditions including eczema, that is why it would be great to treat yourself to stress reducing activities which will help you to get significant improvement from this condition. Here are some of the stress reducing techniques which can be used to treat your eczema naturally:
diaphragmatic deep breathing
Try to inhale deeply and slowly, when you reach that point where further inhalation is not possible hold your breath for almost 5 seconds and then exhale slowly, repeat this process 10 to 20 times in a session. Research studies have shown that deep – diaphragmatic breathing is very helpful in reducing stress, anxiety and nervousness in people that is why it can be useful in reducing symptoms of eczema.
Also Mediation can be helpful, read my post: Meditation without Frustration
Listen to relaxing music:
Listening to soft classical or new age music can relax your mind by reducing your stress anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure as indicated by the research review Hans-Joachim T. (2012); that is why listening to soft music can also play a vital role in treating your eczema as it reduces the stress levels in patients.
Focus on Sleep Quality:
Quality as well as quantity of sleep is very significant factor to reduce stress because poor sleeping habits can lead to increased mental stress; In addition, a research study by Heffner K. et al. (2012) published in “American Journal of geriatric Psychiatry”, showed that poor sleeping habits were linked to increased amounts of interleukin-6 (IL-6) which is a substance responsible for inflammation. Therefore, it can directly make your eczema worse by triggering the inflammatory response. If you are suffering from this skin condition then you must be well aware of this fact, 8-9 hours of sleep is vital to get this condition under control. Read my article on improving sleep here
Balance Your Flora:
Many people with eczema have a lack of beneficial gut bacteria which can play out in many different ways. Some people have slow bowels which create a toxic buildup resulting in skin issues. Alternatively some people will have too quick transit time which will result in malabsorption, being low in vitamins and minerals, that will lower the ability of skin to repair and renew. Gut bacteria plays an integral role in how well we fight off pathogens and many skin problems are linked to parasites.
To balance flora it is important to feed beneficial bacteria with soluble fiber (avocados, chia, berries, cucumbers, celery) . Also eat lots of fermented foods such as beet kvass and sauerkraut. Soil based probiotics (I use this one) have been very helpful for me and many of my colleagues. Many experts believe that lack of contact with dirt has made us more prone to autoimmune problems such as eczema.
Seal and Heal Your Gut
Traditional diets used bone broth and gealtin as an everyday food to extend protein and use the whole animal. Modern people may not realize what a therapeutic benefit this broth provided not to mention flavor. In our fast food culture where food is processed to the inth degree we miss out on many vitamins and minerals that previous generations ate abundantly. The amino acids and minerals in broth provide the raw materials for the continuous daily repair of the intestinal lining.
Many experts agree that eczema is an autoimmune condition that is exacerbated when undigested proteins get through a porous gut lining creating havoc for the immune system. The undigested particles over activate the immune system. After a while our body can longer tell the difference between our own tissues and the undigested proteins. This molecular mimicry creates inflammation that can manifest as eczema (and many other conditions). It is a good idea to get bone broth several times a day and include gelatin.
Make my easy crock pot bone broth recipe and my gelatin recipes here
Detox Your Self Care Routine:
Another secret eczema solution is to detox your self care routine. Many people with eczema are very sensitive to many perfumes, shampoos and lotions. Look through your medicine cabinet and shower caddy to get rid of all those products. I have a post about how to substitute a natural shampoo routine plus the benefits of coconut oil here. I use a coconut based soap as well and do not see any need for all the products I used in the past.
For short term relief from symptoms:
Try cold therapy:
If you are suffering from a severe eczema flare up which is causing you severe itching and frustration, you can manage it very easily while lying on your bed. It is really as fascinating as it sounds. As you already know that eczema is inflammation of the skin in which skin becomes red and itchy because blood capillaries in the skin dilate and as a result they turn out to be leaky which increases the swelling. Cold therapy is one of the very effective natural therapies for eczema.
To enhance cold therapy take a cloth and dip it in cold water for a while and then apply it on the affected area of the skin for some time and do it repeatedly a few times, this will subside the inflammatory process by constricting the blood capillaries in the skin, thus relieving the symptoms of eczema. For the first time the itching or pain may also get worse but this is temporary and diminishes very soon.
Also taking a bath in epsom salt can help. A topical magnesium oil can help.
Coconut oil can help with pain and flakiness and has anti-bacterial/fungal benefits.
Books I recommend to heal from Eczema:
Many of my past clients have had a lot of luck with The GAPS Diet.
This book walks you through how to do an elimination diet and how to slowly reintroduce foods to gauge reactions.
- Sohn A, Frankel A, Patel RV, Goldenberg G. Eczema. Mt Sinai J Med. 2011 Sep-Oct;78(5):730-9. doi: 10.1002/msj.20289. Review.
- Hoare C, Li Wan Po A, Williams H. Systematic review of treatments for atopic eczema. Health Technol Assess. 2000;4(37):1-191. Review.
- AAP NEWS Vol. 30 No. 7 July 1, 2009 pp. 2 (doi:10.1542/aapnews.2009307-2c)
- Heffner KL, Ng HM, Suhr JA, France CR, Marshall GD, Pigeon WR, Moynihan JA. Sleep disturbance and older adults’ inflammatory responses to acute stress. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;20(9):744-52.
- http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/applied_therapies.html#Cool Compress
- Paul G, Elam B, Verhulst SJ. A longitudinal study of students’ perceptions of using deep breathing meditation to reduce testing stresses. Teach Learn Med. 2007 Summer;19(3):287-92.
- Trappe HJ. Role of music in intensive care medicine. Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2012 Jan;2(1):27-31.