Addressing Eczema by Taking a Natural Approach

 In Skin, Hair, & Nails

Eczema, a term that tends to be used by doctors to refer to a group of inflammatory skin conditions that effect millions of people. People with eczema tend to already have a challenged immune system or dry and sensitive skin. While research has shown that children with eczema can usually fight it off over their first few years of life, for adults, however, it tends to be a different story. Adult onset of eczema tends to be more severe in adults than in children.

Treating Eczema

Currently, there is no quick-fix cure for eczema.  Instead, physicians try to help their patients manage their symptoms. Treatment typically involves treating the affected skin gently by avoiding irritants and using only gentle cleansers. While this is typically the first line of defense, it could be necessary to examine dietary changes or even prescription medications in order for patients to find relief. These can include skin creams that are designed to increase the moisture added to the skin, shampoos and soaps specifically formulated for sensitive skin and medicated steroid creams or their alternatives if steroids cannot be tolerated. Research has recently developed treatments that target the immune responses that are responsible for skin inflammation, leading to hope that they can be used to successfully treat eczema in the future. 

How You Can Help Your Eczema

It’s important to always be under the care of a medical professional if you believe that you have eczema.  Other conditions can mimmic ezcema, so having a definitive diagnosis is important.  In addition to following your doctor’s recommendations, there are also some natural treatments for eczema that you can try as well. 

Soothe Skin

Eczema causes itching which then often leads to skin that is peeling, dry or both. This can encourage you to scratch and pick at it. Doing so, however, could make it more likely that you’ll have complications, including an infection if you accidentally crack or wound your skin. Instead, use a soothing cream, or even a damp towel, to help ease the scratching. Other ways to make sure that skin is soothed include minimizing its exposure to the sun and very hot water, as well as cold, dry temperatures. 

Use Healing Oils

Essential oils can have an important place in the healing and soothing of sensitive skin. Lavender essential oil, for example, has both soothing and anti-inflammatory properties which can help prevent eczema exacerbations . A simple cream that’s made by combining essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender oil with coconut oil, shea butter or raw honey can also be soothing and hydrating. Myrrh essential oil, probiotics and geranium essential oil are other suggestions that you can use to help heal skin that’s experiencing an eczema flare-up. 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Focusing your diet on those foods that are known to be anti-inflammatory can help improve your body’s immunity while also reducing eczema’s symptoms. These included: 

  • Antioxidant foods such as brightly-colored fruits and vegetables 
  • Probiotics foods like yogurt, cultured vegetables, and kefir 
  • Essential fatty acids that are found in seeds, nuts and wild-caught fish
  • High-fiber foods such as legumes, sprouted grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts

Be sure, too, that you’re getting the electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals you need as these can help reduce inflammation as well. Breastfeeding can boost your baby’s immunity and help reduce symptoms of eczema. 

Supplements Can Help

Designed to work in conjunction with your diet, certain supplements can help keep skin irritation from eczema under control. 

  • Vitamin D3 deficiency is very common. Talk to your doctor about the correct dosage but between 2,000 and 5,000 IU daily can help regulate the immune system.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the chronic inflammatory process. Generally 1,000 milligrams of EPA and DHA combined can be helpful. 
  • Probiotics can both prevent eczema flare-ups and protect skin when you do have them by improving immune function. Speak to your doctor to get the dosage that’s right for you, but it will likely be between 25 and 100 billion organisms per day. 
  • Antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E can help reduce inflammation, prevent skin damage and promote healing. 

Know Your Allergy Triggers

The link between inflammation and allergies means that eczema flare-ups can be triggered by a number of factors. If you know what you’re allergic to, try to avoid those elements if at all possible. For those people who aren’t sure what triggers their eczema symptoms — or if you want to avoid potential pitfalls — keep the following list in mind: 

  • Mold, pet fur or dander, dust or pollen
  • Industrialized oils and sugar can increase inflammation and worsen symptoms.
  • Skincare products like lotions, shampoos, soaps and body washes, as well as cleaning products like disinfectants and detergents, that contain chemicals
  • Packaged foods which contain preservatives and/or synthetic additives, as well as dairy, peanuts, gluten and shellfish, are common allergens 

Be sure to tell your doctor about anything that you’re trying at home to address your eczema symptoms each time you go back for a check-up. It’s important that your medical professionals know about all of your treatments because there could be unexpected interactions between them. 

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