Eczema covers a wide spectrum of skin disease that result in skin irritation and inflammation. Statistically speaking, it affects over 5% of adults and children and 20% of infants. Even more disturbing is the fact that these numbers are on the rise as a result of environmental and dietary factors.
Traditional treatment of eczema includes corticosteroid creams. But, there’s a huge drawback in relation to topical creams or immunomodulators, which only relieve the symptoms without eliminating the root cause. Plus, they are often related to cancers.
Not only do corticosteroids and immunosuppressants fail to solve the skin issues, but they also create dependence in patients who use them. Thus, a vicious circle is created as eczema returns when patients stop using them. Even worse, this can eventually lead to a need for even stronger corticosteroids as a patient’s body becomes resistant to the ones previously used.
When it comes to this, most doctors will tell you that they cannot track the exact cause of your eczema, which is true as eczema can be triggered by many different factors. Some of them include fragrances in cosmetic products, laundry detergents, dust, processed foods and diet, and last, but not least, environmental pollutants.
Allowing your body to heal itself with the help of dietary plans and natural health remedies is the best thing to do when battling against these skin issues. The following recommendations are highly beneficial for stimulating your immune system into self-healing.
Foods to cut out of your diet
– All refined sugars (since they are highly inflammatory); cut down on cane or white sugar, agave, or high fructose corn syrup, as well as chewing gums and diet products, because they all contain toxins.
– All artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol and many more).
– Other foods containing poisons, mainly acquired through pesticides that overload your immune system – tomatoes, eggplant, paprika, all peppers, goji berries and white potatoes.
– Also avoid fried foods, yeast, alcohol, smoking, smoked foods, peanuts, and shellfish.
– You must reduce stress too.
Some efficient natural remedies that are highly beneficial for severe skin conditions are recommended in this article.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has proved extremely efficient in many people in treatment of their eczema or even their baby’s eczema without any additional medication.
However, bear in mind that your coconut oil must be obtained from sources which are organic and virgin, not refined, bleached or deodorized. Virgin Coconut Oil, for example, contains lauric acid, which accounts for 50% of the fatty acids and also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. This miraculous oil is also rich in Medium Chain Fatty Acids or medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Virgin Coconut Oil offers proper nourishment for dry eczema skin.
The application of virgin coconut oil is very simply and is done with very little touching or rubbing.
Also known as seaweed, kelp grows in ocean kelp forests and is used as food and medicine in many cultures. These brown algae have a therapeutic effect on your skin and body and they significantly improve the skin condition. They stimulate the eczema-affected skin cells to self-heal and rebuild. It can be obtained in both pill and capsule form, as a concentrated liquid, or included in other products. Kelp use can be oral, when ingested, or topical, when applied directly on the affected skin.
3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
The modern and traditional preparations of cod liver oil are quite different. The modern preparation of cod liver oil includes extracting the oil from the fatty tissues of cod fish while cooked, and this cooking and the subsequent refining remove some of its bioactive components.
In contrast, the traditional production of cod liver oil offers a more nutritious and medicinal oil since the process includes fermentation rather than cooking.
Still, both EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids can lessen certain symptoms of eczema such as red and inflamed skin by contributing to the reduction of inflammation in tissues. Except for these anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids are also integrated into the skin cells.Thus, when the blood levels of omega-3 acids falls, the skin can be easily irritated, and it appears dry and flaky. Studies prove that omega-3 fatty acid deficiency also increases the keratinization of skin cells. As a result, destruction and accumulation of dead skin cells ensue.
4. Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-itch and protective effects which make it an excellent cleanser and moisturizer that calms and protects damaged skin.
This is attributed to the vast chemical composition of oats: for one thing, the high concentration in starches and beta-glycan creates a water-holding barrier on the skin and the cellulose and fiber content of oat create emollient, or skin-softening, properties; the variety of phenols make it a powerful UV absorber, and the saponins function as cleansing agents.
Its versatile use can be explained as follows:
When combined with a liquid, this special form of oatmeal is similar to a colloid, i.e. its molecules spread through another medium (i.e. the bath water), permanently changing consistency of that medium.
The great thing about colloidal oatmeal bath is that the oatmeal particles don’t all sink to the bottom of the tub.
What enables the grain to readily absorb liquid is the fact that for the production of colloidal oatmeal, the oats are very finely ground, actually, pulverized. So when the colloidal oatmeal is added to bath water, it almost immediately gives a milky, slimy consistency to the water, which then coats your skin, providing protection, moisture and softness.
In 2003 the Food and Drug Administration decided that all products claiming to relieve the irritation and itching of eczema must contain colloidal oatmeal.
5. Burdock Root
Burdock root has proved highly successful in reducing inflammations and destruction of inulin, linked to eczema outbreaks. This beneficial herb root contains some valuable minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium, along with small amounts of zinc, calcium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Plus, burdock root has small quantities of many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin-E, and vitamin-C, which is crucial for optimum health. Both vitamin C and E are powerful natural antioxidants that help the human body stave off infections.
In case you prefer tea, burdock root tea is easy to make.
6. Olive Leaf
Olive leaf traditional remedies are famous for their antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects as well as their ability to improve the immune system.
Olive leaf extracts possess polyphenols which are potent antioxidants. Actually, the fresh olive leaves liquid preparation has proved to have double antioxidant capacity than green tea and 4 times the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C.
This plant is an excellent antiseptic which means it can help ward off infection and bacteria. In cases of eczema, when you tend to scratch that itch, if the skin breaks, you become susceptible to infection.
Moreover, olive leaf has its contribution in the prevention of damage to the gut caused by harmful free radicals, ensuring that foreign substances such as pathogens and toxins that trigger inflammatory reactions never get into the bloodstream.
7. Neem Oil
Neem oil comes from the neem tree, and is a natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, anti-viral and anti-microbial remedy. Plus, it is packed with vitamin E and fatty acids, which hydrate your skin and restore its natural elasticity.
It’s abundant in carotenoids, similar to carotene, which provide high antioxidant effects that help protect the skin against free radicals. Once absorbed, these powerful properties work to rejuvenate the skin’s cells and restore elasticity. Neem oil also contains extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants that help to protect the skin from environmental damage too.
Neem oil destroys any bacteria and disease promoting microorganisms on the skin while decreasing redness and swelling which cause itching.
8. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA)
Hard to be ingested with diet, this rare fatty acid is found in evening black currant, primrose oil, and hemp oils.The human body produces GLA from linoleic acid (LA) which is present in many oils, butter and egg yolks. A GLA dose of 500 mg twice per day for 8 weeks has great effects on skin, hair, and nails.
However, be cautious of genetically modified safflower oils, which is currently being promoted as healthy due to their high GLA content.
9. Fermented Foods and Probiotics
The prevention and treatment of eczema can be stimulated with the use of fermented and probiotic foods, which help by providing overall homeostasis and support to the immune system, preventing pathogenic bacterial infections, replenishing lost or damaged beneficial bacteria and maintaining the balance of alkalinity and acidity in the intestines.
Foods like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, miso soup, tempeh, kombucha, microalgae and others are all abundant in beneficial bacteria which protect against illnesses and infections caused by harmful bacteria that thrive in the lack of beneficial colonies.
10. Transdermal Magnesium
A highly effective remedy against inflammatory skin conditions, transdermal magnesium offers many benefits as reported by patients who use it, especially its direct absorption into the cells. Plus, it is also a powerful tool against magnesium deficiency.
It is often prescribed by holistic health practitioners as a treatment, but it can be easily and quickly applied in the convenience of your own home as well. You can use it when bathing, apply it as a gel or lotion, or spray it directly on your skin.
11. Bentonite Clay Infused Water
Bentonite helps in the treatment of skin conditions by eliminating toxins, improving circulation, reducing inflammation and absorbing excess oil. It consists of tiny little platelets, each with both, a negative and positive charge. As the clay makes its way through your body, it expands like a sponge absorbing the excess water as it travels. It soaks up as many positively charged toxins in its path as it can hold.
By using it twice a week, it shows significant improvements on problem areas. Please note that in these treatments, toxins rise to the surface, so some skin conditions may appear to get worse. However, it is normal and will diminish in a week or two depending on the severity of your condition.
A wonderful and beneficial mixture can be made by mixing it with pure apple cider vinegar or an herb infused vinegar. This treatment should be left on overnight and gives amazing results.
12. Topical Creams and Salves
Topical creams and salves can be of great benefit in various skin disorders, but they should contain one or more of the following herbs to help relieve itching and burning, and promote healing. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) cream can lessen itching and liquid witch hazel can help with “weeping” or oozing eczema.
The best choice in these cases is chamomile (Matricaria recutita) creams, however. These are also highly beneficial: licorice (Glycyrrhia glabra), Chickweed (Stellaria media), marigold (Calendula officinalis).