Eczema: Natural cures for better skin
August 16, 2010
Itch, itch … breathe … itch, itch itch, ahhhh! And the cycle repeats. If you have ever suffered from eczema, this is a familiar scenario. Often called the itch that rashes, eczema is a condition of dry, sensitive skin. It will often look like dry, scaly patches of the skin. It is commonly found on the arms and legs but can occur anywhere on the body.
Eczema often has a genetic tendency. Usually there is a family or personal history of eczema, asthma, or food allergies which can develop it at any age. Eczema can be seasonal as well, depending on where you live. Many find it gets worse during the dry winter months, and is generally better with damp weather. Stress and diet can also be triggers for this pesky itch.
First of all, it is important that you have the correct diagnosis. There are many conditions that look like eczema, most commonly psoriasis, so a correct diagnosis is essential. Psoriasis tends to have thicker plaques on the body and can be anywhere; it also improves with sunlight whereas eczema will not. There are many things you can do to help your eczema with just a few changes in your daily routine. The most important thing to remember is that generally the skin is sensitive. In order to reduce the burden on the body, use products that are as chemical free as possible, non-scented, and gentle. This includes things like switching to a gentle body wash such as Dr. Brommers soap at the heath food store, or Cetaphil soap found at the drug store, and using gentle detergents such as ones that say fragrance free, or environmentally safe.
Internal stress, both emotional and physical, can also play havoc on your skin. For some, eczema is a signal for when there is too much emotional stress happening in your life. If a flare up occurs, sometimes that is the body’s way of saying it is time to take a step back and see what is going on in your life. Food allergies and foods that cause inflammation in the body can also trigger eczema. Everyone’s food allergies are different so it is recommended to get a food allergy test completed that tests for delayed sensitivities.
Once you have removed as many internal and external stressors as possible, the next step is hydration. Using gentle moisturizers and salves that are healing with ingredients like calendula can be very helpful. Also, when bathing, take short lukewarm showers. Hot water will dry out your skin. It is also imperative to hydrate from the inside out. Omega oils are very beneficial in the treatment of eczema. Omega’s are found in such foods as fish oil, nuts and seeds, flax, olives and avocados.
Lastly, it is essential to stop itching. When you scratch your skin, the skin thickens trying to protect itself, then itches more.
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You do not have to suffer from eczema. Often following these suggestions, and working with a naturopathic doctor to get to the root of the cause of the problem – diet, stress, etc. – you can experience dramatic relief from eczema. While it is not a condition that is ever cured, but with the proper care, it can be something that you forget you have.
Kerry Ferguson is a board-certified naturopathic physician specializing in dermatology and chronic illness. Following the completion of her residency in integrative dermatology, she has joined Deborah Wiancek at Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic. She can be reached at email@example.com or 970-926-7606.