Eczema is a general term used to describe a reoccurring skin inflammation characterized by scaling, flaking, or crusting of the skin, and accompanied by mild to severe itching. It can be a nuisance anywhere on the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, elbows, and knees. Eczema is usually a symptom of an underlying problem, which can include allergies, stress, a weakened immune system, or infection. Most doctors treat eczema with a steroid cream, which alleviates itching, but does nothing to clear-up the underlying problem. Healing this skin condition requires a bit of time and energy, but it is well worth the effort. Here are some ideas to get to the root of the problem.
Remove Environmental Allergens
Because eczema is a skin condition, the logical first step is to remove external triggers that your skin might be allergic to. Common irritants include laundry detergent, soaps, and lotions. Replace these items with all-natural, hypoallergenic products. Some people find certain clothing irritating, specifically wool and polyester. Temporarily replace these items with 100% cotton or silk, which rarely cause a reaction.
Make Changes to Your Diet
Start by keeping a journal of what you eat each day, and the severity of your eczema on that day. After a few weeks, a trigger food may be evident. The most common allergens contributing to eczema are gluten and dairy products. After journaling for two weeks, remove the most common trigger-food in your journal; if a culprit hasn't emerged, start with wheat. Remove the food from your diet for a month, and make note of any changes in your condition. If the eczema persists, move on to the next potential culprit. This is a long and time-consuming process, but one that usually offers the best results. An allergy test will also give you an idea of what foods to stay away from.
Eat Probiotics for Healthy Digestion
Millions upon millions of healthy bacteria live in our digestive system. Sometimes the scales are tipped in favor of less desirable bacteria, microbes that slow down our digestion, and sometimes cause illness. A healthy solution is to eat fermented foods, which are full of healthy bacteria that nourish your digestive system. Common fermented foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Probiotic supplements are an easy way to increase the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Treat your symptoms
While not a cure for eczema, there are plenty of soothing creams on the market that will ease the itch, pain, and redness of skin inflammations. Try emu oil, coconut oil, or vitamin E oil for persistent flare-ups. Soaking in a warm bath with a few drops of essential oil will also help.
Eczema is only a symptom of an imbalance in your body and the treatment must be managed in small increments. When you discover the underlying cause of your condition, making changes along the way, you are taking steps toward a healthier body, inside and out.