A common skin disorder, eczema is generally caused by an allergic response to foods, chemicals, or other substances such as perfumes or soaps. Also, this initial sensitivity can be caused by poor digestion and conditions like leaky gut syndrome. Stress, heredity, medications, and immune deficiencies can also contribute to eczema and dermatitis.
There are ways to ease symptoms and heal eczema naturally, but first, it’s important to understand what the condition entails.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is an itchy, red rash that can appear all over the body and, in particular, occurs among people who have very dry, sensitive skin. The skin can blister and crack in some cases. People with eczema are usually diagnosed with it when they are babies or young children. Babies with eczema usually have it on the face, especially the cheeks and chin, but can also have it on the scalp, chest, back and outer arms and legs. Children and adults typically have eczema on the neck, wrists, ankles and in areas that bend, like the inner elbow and knee.
Eczema symptoms often become less severe as adults, but for some people, eczema continues into adulthood. In some cases it can actually start in adulthood. The rash of eczema is different for each person and can look different or affect different parts of your body from time to time. While it may be mild or moderate for some, there are severe cases.
Eczema is known for an intense itch that can be severe, causing the skin to be scratched until it bleeds. When this happens, the rash will worsen and lead to more inflammation and itching, known as the itch-scratch cycle. There is no cure for eczema, but, in most cases, it is very manageable.
Symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Intense itching
- Red, inflamed skin
- Recurring rash
- Scaly areas
- Rough, leathery patches
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
- Dark colored patches of skin
Eczema is a general term for any type of dermatitis or “itchy rash.” There are several skin diseases that are eczemas, yet all types of eczema cause itching, redness and some will blister or peel.
Here are some of the most common eczema types:
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Hand Eczema
- Contact Dermatitis
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic Eczema
- Nummular Eczema
- Stasis Dermatitis
Foods to Ease Eczema Symptoms
Essential fatty acids
Wild-caught fish and flaxseed oil can reduce eczema symptoms.
Pumpkin or chia seeds
These seeds provide zinc, which is essential for wound healing and metabolizing fatty acids.
Consume goat’s milk kefir and amasai. These are the highest probiotic foods and can support gut and immune health improving the cause of eczema.
Constipation can lead your body to look for other ways to expel toxins, and the skin can become one of the avenues in which toxins are expelled. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber per day from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut and sprouted grains/legumes.
Vitamin A–rich foods
Increase your intake of orange and yellow colored vegetables, which are high in vitamin A, necessary for skin health.
Foods that Cause Eczema
Eliminate additives and processed foods from your diet, which can make eczema worse.
Avoid any potential allergens, and some common allergen foods include gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts.
Margarine and other non-essential fats
These fats can interfere with the absorption of essential fats critical for healing.
Sugar increases inflammation and reduces immune function.
These options an increase inflammation.
Top 5 Eczema Remedies and Treatments
#1 Omega-3 fats (1,000 mg daily)
Omega-3 foods with essential fats are critical for wound healing and reduce inflammation.
#2 Probiotic (25-100 billion organisms daily)
A probiotic supplement provides friendly bacteria that help with gut health and immunity.
#3 Lavender essential oil
Applying a mixture of lavender oil and coconut oil is a very effective natural treatment for reducing eczema.
#4 Vitamin E (400 IU)
This vitamin promotes wound healing and helps the body better utilize fatty acids.
#5 Vitamin D3 (2000 IU – 5000 IU daily)
D3 has antimicrobial properties and boosts immunity.
Direct sunlight on the skin can reduce eczema by increasing production of vitamin D, which improves immunity. Evening primrose oil or borage oil contains GLA, which works as an anti-inflammatory for the skin. Take internally or apply topically.
Also, the essential oils of lavender and geranium can soothe and help heal the red, dry skin associated with eczema. Oils like melaleuca and myrrh are effective at healing eczema as well.
Want to know learn more from Dr. Axe? Read his new book: Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It.
And check out his easy recipes to help you feel good in The Real Food Diet Cookbook.
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