Eczema is a type of inflammation of the skin, which is called dermatitis. This form of inflammation produces redness and recurring forms of skin rashes like scaling, swelling, itching and bleeding. Learn about healing nutrition, supplements, herbal and homeopathic treatments to help heal eczema naturally.
The most common forms of eczema
- Atopic dermatitis is often associated with allergies such as hay fever and asthma. It usually appears at an early age on the face and scalp, neck, feet inside of elbows, and behind the knees.
- Contact dermatitis is the result of allergies with different kinds of allergens and irritating substances in creams, foods, plants, or even metals.
- Seborrhoic dermatitis refers to cradle cap or dandruff. It causes dry or oily scaling of the scalp.
What usually triggers eczema?
- Your body may have trouble converting linoleic acid (omega 6 fatty acid) to prostaglandins (anti-inflammatory hormone-like substances). The other scenario is that your body does not get enough essential fatty acids. For instance, a bottle fed baby is more likely to develop eczema because cow’s milk does not contain any essential fatty acids in opposition to mother’s milk.
- There is a connection between emotions, your gut, and skin. If emotional stress is not managed, some nutrients like digestive enzymes are depleted, and digestive issues ensue. As an elimination organ, the skin becomes overloaded in toxins and that’s when skin conditions, such as eczema arise.
- You may be suffering from a “Leaky gut syndrome”. It is when the intestines become porous and some particles of undigested food enter in the bloodstream, provoking allergic reactions.
- Your body is allergic to a type(s) of food (like dairy or gluten) or a medication (like antibiotics, antihistamines).
- Your body reacts to an irritating substance such as chemicals, cosmetics, ointments, plants, metals, or even sunlight or chlorine from tap water. Because chlorine destroys the friendly bacteria, the body may not be able to protect itself from harmful pathogens. Furthermore, it contains chemical compounds that can interfere with the natural controls of cell growth.
- The overgrowth of candida and a yeast infection can be linked to skin problems.
Which foods can help with eczema?
A proper diet is essential to help your body function better and treat the underlying cause of eczema.
Because eczema is often due to food allergies, specific dietary change can be responsible for clearing or worsening eczema. So it is important to mention that a proper anti-eczema diet is different for everyone.
Keep in mind that the addition or elimination of one substance from the diet can be the remedy for one person and the culprit for another.
Foods to eat
- As a general rule, your diet should be rich in essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6): fish and plant oil. Use unrefined, cold-pressed oil and be sure not to heat the oil because polyunsaturated oils are unstable and can be deteriorated easily causing damage to your health. I recommend Flora Udo’s Oil Blend to get the proper ratio of omega fatty acids. It’s plant based and certified organic.
- Eat a diet rich in zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and digestive enzymes.
Foods to avoid
- Saturated fats from animal source because it interferes with the metabolization of essential fatty acids.
- As eczema can be linked to candidiasis, it is best to avoid foods that feed the yeast (such as sugar, bread, processed foods, alcohol, cheese).
- Some researchers believe that some people with eczema may also have gluten intolerance. It is recommended to consult with a doctor and get the appropriate tests before starting a gluten free diet. Indeed, gluten and dairy are the most allergenic foods and could trigger eczema.
What are the most common supplements recommended for eczema?
Vitamins and minerals for eczema
- Vitamin B complex can help control stress and promote the reproduction of cells.
- Vitamin C is helpful if the root of eczema is an allergy.
- Zinc aids the skin to heal.
Other supplements for eczema
- Probiotics are often recommended to strengthen the immune system and rebalance the flora.
- Essential Fatty Acids, especially Omegas 3, can help to control the inflammation. Note: research suggests there is no benefit of evening primrose oil for treating eczema.
- Digestive enzymes can improve digestion.
- MSM or shark cartilage can help reduce inflammation.
- Betaine HCI is sometimes used when eczema is due to low hydrochloric acid (‘leaky gut syndrome’)
- Beta-carotene helps prevent dryness.
How can you relieve itching and soothe skin rashes?
- Calendula is one of the best remedies for eczema. Here’s a great healing salve with calendula that I recommend for eczema: Touchy Skin Salve For Eczema by Ora’s Amazing Herbal
- Aloe Vera gel can be used topically to help heal the skin.
- Saint John’s Wort gel may help control the inflammation.
- Vitamin E and goldenseal are often used to relieve itching.
- Tea tree oil can be helpful especially for scalp disorders.
- Oils rich in EFAs can be rubbed on the infected area to help moisturize the skin.
What herbs are best to treat eczema?
Here is a list of herbs and essential oils that may be used to treat eczema:
Herbs for eczema
- Lemon balm, valerian, and passionflower teas help calm emotional stress.
- Stinging nettle, dandelion, burdock root are cleansing herbs.
- Chickweed, plantain, witch hazel, horsetail, and comfrey are soothing.
Essential oils for eczema
- Dry eczema: Bergamot, Hyssop essential oils.
- Wet eczema: Juniper, Myrrh, Lavender essential oils.
- Dry and wet eczema: Chamomile, Geranium essential oils.
- Other essential oils used to treat eczema: Eucalyptus, Helichrysum, Melissa, Patchouly, Rosewood, Sage.
Herbs and especially essential oils can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in some people. In most cases, essential oils should not be used undiluted on the skin and should be diluted in a carrier oil – like coconut oil or almond oil. Only use essential oils under guidance of a qualified aroma practitioner/aroma therapist and don’t take essential oils internally unless so advised by your medical practitioner.
Note about shower filters
- Take fewer showers and baths because of the chemicals and contaminants in water. Too frequent showers not only dry out the skin, the more you shower the more your exposure to toxins increases. Indeed it is best to limit the amount of time you spend in your shower.
- Lower the temperature of your shower water – Hot water opens up the pores of your skin allowing a higher absorption rate of chlorine, DBPs, and other chemicals.
- Use lower water pressure. This will decrease the amount of water coming in and contaminants coming out of the fixture. Additionally if you have a shower filter it will also increase the contact time with the media and allow more contaminants to be removed.
- Consider obtaining a high-quality filtration system for your shower. It can help to reduce skin irritation, itch, and toxic chlorine absorption through your skin.
Do you have eczema? Feel free to share your story with us in the comment section here below. Also watch this video with Mark Hyman, MD, who explains how to get rid of eczema: