What is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by very dry, itchy, and flaky skin. According to researchers, the barrier of the skin is damaged virtually from the very beginning of life and may suffer long into adulthood. Eczema affects 10-20% of infants and is correlated with allergies and asthma in children as they age. Eczema is not a deadly disease; however eczema can impact multiple body systems. Very often for the sufferer, eczema can cause daily struggles with sleep, painful showers, bloody sheets, itching with stress, and even without a reason. The skin is further damaged from standard conventional therapy, such as steroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, and immunosuppressive agents.
The Cause Matters in Healing Eczema
In order to heal eczema naturally, we must look at the origin of the condition. Standard medical care does not take the time to explain the implications treatments that carry risk. Frequently patients are cajoled into treatment “because there is no better option.” The truth is eczema, most of the time, starts in the gut. The body intelligently “pushes the toxicity” away from vital organs to the skin. When the gut is unhealthy, the flora in our gut is not digesting food and nutrients properly, the body is unable to detoxify normally, and the immune system is not functioning as it should. All of this results in an exaggerated immune response. So if there is inflammation of the skin, surely there is irritation in the gut. Therefore, natural healing must begin in the gut. Once inflammation has been suppressed with pharmacology, the inflammation is “driven” deeper into the body where chronic conditions can occur; this can also set the immune system up for autoimmune reactions and food allergies.
Eczema in Infants
During pregnancy, the mother allows someone who is non-self (baby) to develop and grow without her own immune system destroying her child. The placenta, which provides nourishment for the baby, also secretes hormones, primarily progesterone, which shifts mom’s immune profile towards a more inflammatory (Th2 rich) environment in order to protect the fetus. If mother’s immune system is a properly balanced then when the baby is born, the baby is naturally born with a higher level of (TH2) inflammatory immune precursors. The baby will then develop its own unique immune system balance in the first years of its life. The beginnings of the baby’s own immune system development starts when the baby begins travelling through the birth canal and swallowing, sitting and slipping, to its earth side voyage. So if at birth the baby is premature, born by caesarian section, its mother receives antibiotics or other passive immunities, then the baby could stimulate an “over reactive” immune system, which leads to a higher incidence of eczema. As children grow, their gut seals up naturally. This is why so we see lower incidence of eczema in older children, however we know that the inflammation is driven deeper into the body, resulting in higher incidences of allergies and asthma. So it’s important to treat the gut now!
That said, each individual has individual triggers and patterns. Treatment should be individualized. Standard conventional treatment is aimed at symptom relief or suppression. Natural healing is aimed at total removal of the trigger, balancing immunity, healing the gut, and most importantly, the skin.
Treating Eczema Successfully
In order to treat eczema successfully, a multi-faceted approach is necessary.
Always consult with your provider before changing any health regime.
- Manage food allergies
Either with an elimination diet or IgE AND IgG testing to identify specific triggers. Many foods have been connected to eczema, and they include: gluten, dairy, corn and soy products, nuts, citrus, artificial colors and sweeteners, and preservatives. Bear in mind, allergy testing is not abundantly accurate and your provider should treat your individual case, not necessarily your lab work.
- Heal the Gut
Choose a high quality probiotic that is shipped, processed and stored cold for maximum effectiveness. Choose strains that are specific to gut healing.
- Minimize Stress
Stress hormones can elevate inflammation. Be sure the sleeping environment is free of chemicals, scents, EMFs and excessive light. Quality sleep improves healing and is an integral part of eczema healing.
- Check Genetics
Mothers with eczema or genetic link to it, such as MTHFR, can prevent or reduce eczema in their children if they take good quality probiotics and manage their methylation status properly. They should reduce or eliminate THEIR food allergies, avoid passive immunity during pregnancy, and plan to have as natural of a birth as possible for their baby.
- Natural Anti-inflammatory Supplements
Research has shown that high quality omega 3 supplements, curcumin, NAC and vitamin C can help.
- Check Vitamin D status
There is a high correlation between low vitamin d and eczema.
- Detoxify the Home
Switch to non-toxic and chemical free household products. Anything with a scent or “XTRA power” contains chemicals that can be absorbed thought the skin. Use natural and biodegradable products, and use less to insure they are cleared from clothing and dishes.
- Check Your Water Supply
Consider a water test to identify any irritants in water; consider a water filter to eliminate any possible culprits.
- Topical Relief
Use Coconut oil or a topical B12 on skin during healing, both are anti-fungal and accelerate healing without thinning tissue.
Many over-the-counter and prescribed medications for eczema can do more harm than good to the skin and immune system. They only manage symptoms instead of heal the body. Discuss with your provider the reduction or elimination of these agents as the skin heals.
Always remember healing takes time.
Just be patient there is a solution.