Eczema is a skin condition that is very common in childhood but can also affect adults of all ages. The exact causes of eczema are unknown, but it’s a condition that is very often genetic and is often related to the health of our digestive and immune system.
The worst treatment for eczema is the application of a topical steroid ointment or similar, as it suppresses the symptom and does not in any way address the underlying cause for the inflammation or condition. If the misguided treatment goes on long enough, the inflammation continues to be pushed into the body and can lead to deeper symptoms, such as asthma and allergies.
The key to manage and improve symptoms of eczema is to heal from the inside out. You need to find what triggers the eczema, and you want to strengthen the health of the digestive and immune system, as well as reduce overall inflammation.
Here are 7 things you can do to naturally improve symptoms of eczema:
1. REMOVE TRIGGER FOODS
Most people with eczema have food allergies and/or food intolerances. Watch out for common food allergens such as gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, nuts, and soy. Nightshade vegetables – such as tomatoes, eggplants, and potatoes – as well as sugar, artificial colors, and preservatives can also be problematic. A rotation diet, as well as using a food journal, can be very helpful to detect and eliminate trigger foods.
2. EAT HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats are crucial for overall health but are very important for the health of our skin and to reduce inflammation. Healthy fats are found in whole foods such as avocado, coconut oil, nut and seeds, as well as wild fish, pastured-raised eggs and organic, grass-fed animals. Fats from animal sources are also a great source of vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which are very important for skin health. If you consume animal foods, choose quality rather than quantity.
3. REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Stay away from processed foods and sugar, refined grains, as well as most vegetable oils, shortenings, and margarine, which may lead to inflammation in the body and affect the digestive and immune system. Instead, eat food in its most natural form and try to cook more at home so you can control the quality of the food you eat. You can also use anti-inflammatory spices and herbs in your cooking such as turmeric, curry, and ginger. Omega-3s are also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
4. INCREASE HEALTHY BACTERIA
Fermented foods and beverages, such as natto, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir or water kefir, are great sources of healthy bacteria. Healthy bacteria improve digestive health, soothe inflammation, help to seal a leaky gut, strengthen the immune system, and are very beneficial for skin health. Ideally, fermented foods and beverages should be organic and unpasteurized. If they are not, choose products that are as natural as possible.
5. WATCH OUT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS
Be careful with harsh chemicals found in different skincare and cleaning products. They can destroy the good bacteria on the skin and can cause eczema. As often as possible, choose organic products, or make your own. To keep the skin moist and nourished, apply vitamin E, shea butter, almond, jojoba, castor, or coconut oil. The use of essential oils can also be helpful to calm inflammation and itchiness, as well as promoting relaxation and boosting immunity. Also, make sure you drink plenty of pure water daily. This will help to keep your skin hydrated and flush toxins out of the body.
6. SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET
Supplements can strengthen the digestive and immune system, as well as help the skin. You may want to consider taking digestive enzymes to help break down food, high-quality probiotics and L-glutamine to help heal the gut lining, and fermented cod liver oil for essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, and E. Bone broth, made from organic ingredients, is very healing as well due to the collagen present in the broth which helps to seal the gut and increase immunity.