Eczema is the term for a group of medical conditions that cause skin to become inflamed or otherwise irritated. The cause of eczema is unknown, however many in the healthcare field believe it is linked to the body’s immune system overreacting to an irritant. The most common type of eczema is “atopic dermatitis.” Eczema is commonly found in families who have a history of allergies or asthma.
The causes of eczema flare-ups can vary from patient to patient. Some find their skin reacts to rough or coarse materials while others see a reaction to feeling too hot or too cold. Common allergens, including animal dander and soap, can also cause flare-ups. Stress is thought to worsen the condition.
Eczema has also been linked to diet. Many people are finding that until diet is addressed the eczema will not stay away long term with topical treatments. The healing must occur from the inside out. The skin is the largest organ in the body and the skin is one of the ways the body eliminates toxins. The toxins can irritate the skin and cause eczema. If the gut flora is reduced due to antibiotic use, consumption of processed sugar, gluten and dairy the skin will reflect this imbalance of gut flora. The overall strategy is to eliminate the irritants and rebuild the natural gut flora.
Who gets eczema?
Eczema affects about 3 percent of adults and children and about 10 percent to 20 percent of infants in the U.S. Infants who develop eczema tend to outgrow it by their tenth birthday. However, some patients will have symptoms on and off throughout their entire life.
What are the symptoms of eczema?
Eczema is almost always itchy, no matter which part of the skin it affects. Itching can begin before a rash appears. Rashes tend to appear on the face, the back of the knees, the wrists, the hands or even the feet. However, other areas can be affected as well.
Any area that is affected will generally appear very dry, thickened or even scaly. In infants, the red and itchy rash can produce an oozing and crusting condition. This usually affects the face and scalp, but can appear anywhere. Fair-skinned individuals may initially see a reddish rash that later turns brown. Darker-skinned people can see an affect in skin pigmentation, with the affected area appearing lighter or darker.
How is eczema treated?
Though eczema is an extremely uncomfortable condition, with proper treatment it often can be controlled. The main goal of eczema treatment is the relief of itching. Itching can lead to other problems, such as a worsening of the condition or even to an infection. Lotions and creams are recommended for helping skin retain its moisture. The best time to apply these moisturizers is after bathing when the skin is still damp. Cold compressions are also used to relieve itching.
There are medications that can provide relief to those experiencing eczema. Some over-the-counter products, like hydrocortisone 1 percent cream, or prescription creams containing corticosteroids can be prescribed to aid with decreasing inflammation. Other treatments include:
- Antihistamines that will lessen the severity of the itching
- Chemical tar treatments
- Phototherapy which uses ultraviolet light
- The drug cyclosporine for those whose condition does not respond to other treatments.
Gina highly recommends diet modification and the below home remedies be exhausted first prior to trying the prescription route. The body has amazing healing capabilities if given the correct nutrients to heal the inside and outside. Eczema is treated internally by eliminating foods that are irritants on the gut. Gluten, processed sugar, partially hydrogenated oils and dairy are the main irritants for eczema. While eliminating the above foods it is essential to rebuild the gut with probiotics.
Are there home remedies for treating eczema?
Many of the above treatments can work for those suffering from eczema. However, there are other very effective home remedies for the treatment of eczema. Most people can effectively manage their eczema by:
- Moisturize frequently (raw organic unfiltered coconut oil is my favorite)
- Avoiding sudden changes in temperature or humidity
- Avoiding sweating or overheating
- Reducing stress
- Avoiding scratchy materials
- Avoiding harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents
- Avoiding foods or other irritants that may cause an outbreak (gluten, processed sugar, food dyes)
Eczema is a complex condition with a variety of causes. However, there are some natural remedies you can try that can benefit your skin and reduce or eliminate your eczema:
- Coconut Oil Raw Organic Unfiltered – A thin layer of coconut oil can help soothe eczema itching and pain while restoring moisture to the skin. The coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral
- Avocado and Fresh Aloe Vera Gel – Both are derived from plants and can be used topically to help soothe and heal an outbreak. Mix together in equal parts and apply to affected area and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with plain water. Raw unfiltered organic coconut oil can be applied afterwards
- Sea Spray – Eczema that is wet or oozing should be dried out. Sea spray typically contains distilled water, sea salt, magnesium flakes and essential oils. This spray will help you feel like you have spent a day at the beach
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) is recommended as a great source of healthy fats. It will help reduce inflammation in the body as well as promote healthy cell, hormone and brain development
- Magnesium Baths – This type of bath is also known as an Epsom salt bath. For some people who suffer from eczema, soaking in plain water can make it worse. For those who can tolerate it, a magnesium or Epsom salt bath can be helpful in skin healing by detoxing your body
- Probiotics and Fermented Foods – Probiotics are a supplement that seems to make a noticeable difference with skin health as well as gut health and helps boost the bodies overall immune system. Bio-Kult Probiotics is a brand I have had stellar results with. I recommend daily supplementation of this for maintenance of overall health
- Gelatin-rich Foods – Gelatin is very soothing to the gut and is great for hair, skin and nails. Bone broth, for example, is good for both the gut and skin and is rich in gelatin
The home treatment for eczema examples above highlight many ways to naturally treat your eczema without the use of medication.
How do you treat eczema on infants?
Unfortunately, eczema is more prominent among infants than adults. Infants tend to have eczema appear on cheeks, the forehead and the scalp. As they age to 6 to 12 months, eczema appears more often on knees and elbows. By the age to 2, eczema is likely to spread to the wrists, ankles and hands. As the child ages past 2 years, the eczema may only appear on the hands. Most childhood eczema clears up by age ten.
Health care professionals recommend daily bathing for infants and children with eczema. These baths should be warm, but not hot. They should also be short in duration, lasting no more than 10 minutes. Soap use should be limited while bubble bath, Epson salts and bath additives should be avoided. Also avoid scrubbers, loofahs or rough washcloths. Once the bath is finished, moisturizer should be immediately applied to the skin to trap in moisture. I have had great results once again with using raw organic unfiltered coconut oil
It is also recommended that you apply the coconut oil at least twice daily and in a thick layer. Ointments and creams are recommended over lotions, which contain mostly water. The coconut oil will seal in the moisture attained from the bath, aiding in the relief of eczema itching and redness.
When looking for the right treatment for baby eczema, Living Nutrilicious can help. Gina Eubank is the founder and owner of Living Nutrilicious and has designed a system that helps heal both the mind and body. If you are ready to discover and embrace a healthier life, Living Nutrilicious can offer you highly effective methods that produce great results. Gina is a huge advocate of getting to the root cause of a symptom and eliminating potential irritants and providing the nutrient building blocks so that our amazing bodies can heal from the inside out.