If you or your child suffer from eczema, you are all too familiar with the symptoms of itching, swelling, dryness, and pain that interfere with school and work absences, worry, and physical inactivity.
Most physicians will simply prescribe a steroid cream or ointment for eczema and send the patient home with it. However, these treatments typically provide only short relief. Here is a comprehensive explanation to eczema, its fundamental causes, and our best advice to help you learn how to permanently heal eczema by making internal changes.
What is eczema?
Atopic dermatitis, often known as eczema, is a chronic, pruritic, autoimmune skin disease that most commonly affects children, but also many adults. According to the Allergy and Asthma Network, around 15% of children and 7% of adults in the United States are affected by this condition. In fact, rates have tripled over the previous three decades in industrialized nations.
The skin is the biggest organ in the body, measuring around 20 square feet in total. It shields us from bacteria and other pollutants, helps regulate body temperature, and is the primary site of interface with the outside world, making it essential for overall health to maintain the skin's optimal function.
Common eczema facial and body symptoms in both children and adults
Tiny, elevated lumps on the skin.
Cracked, thick, dry, scaly skin.
Inflamed skin that is sensitive.
A chronic itching rash.
Itching and inflammation can result in skin damage and discomfort.
How did eczema become so prevalent?
Eczema is one of the three components of a triumvirate consisting of allergy, asthma, and eczema; this triad is known as the "atopic march" due to the frequent overlap of the three illnesses. These ailments are signs of immune system dysfunction.
Numerous circumstances have led to frequent immunological dysregulation in numerous individuals, including children. Here are some potential causes for eczema, allergies, and asthma:
Alterations in the gut flora
There is a strong connection between eczema and gut health. Gut health has an effect on the immune system, and there is a connection between gut health and eczema. This is partially attributable to the high-carbohydrate, high-sugar, and processed-food diets consumed by many children and families. By promoting the growth of new diseases and selectively feeding particular microorganisms, common food additives can push microbial communities in the wrong direction, resulting in disease and even death. Typically, a thin layer of mucus separates gut microorganisms from the intestinal lining, but the Standard American Diet can undermine this protective barrier. A diet rich in whole foods that are high in soluble fiber helps maintain a healthy mucus barrier.
Alterations in the gut flora may also be the result of alterations in childbirth and newborn feeding patterns. C-sections account for 32% of births in the West, which may lead to a decrease in the diversity of gut flora and the number of beneficial strains of bacteria. This contrasts with vaginal deliveries, in which infants are washed in the mother's vaginal germs (particularly Lactobacillus). Breastfeeding leads to a more diverse microbiota, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, in terms of feeding patterns.
Excessive medicine use
Antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Motrin, and protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) are affecting the natural ecology of the body due to their misuse.
The intestinal lining has tight connections that should be tightly joined with no gaps. Unfortunately, NSAIDs and antibiotics result in the formation of gaps between these tight junctions of the intestinal lining, a disease known as leaky gut syndrome. In leaky gut syndrome, protein and bacterial fragments reach the sensitive immunological centers in the gut, causing the immune system to manufacture antibodies in response to these meals. There appears to be a connection between leaky gut and eczema, as well as food allergies, food sensitivities, and other autoimmune conditions.
Food allergies, food sensitivities, and other autoimmune illnesses, such as eczema, are linked to leaky gut syndrome.
Increased environmental toxin exposure
Air, water, soil, meals, body products, cosmetics, home furnishings, and even clothing contain poisons. Environmental toxins can directly impair immune system function, specifically the development and function of immune cells. Children have greater metabolic rates, absorb more poisons than adults, and have trouble eliminating these toxins.
Children are increasingly exposed to these toxins. In reality, about 80,000 chemicals are manufactured, yet only eight are regulated by the government. This toxic excess may induce an immunological response and exacerbate eczema, allergies, and asthma.
Six natural remedies for eczema
The objective of treating eczema, as well as any autoimmune disease, is to identify the cause of the immune overactivity and minimize inflammation. Here are our top recommendations for healing eczema internally.
Identify food allergies and intolerances
Food allergy can be a cause of eczema, particularly if the start or exacerbation of eczema correlates with exposure to the allergenic food. It is essential to keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to thrive, as infants with eczema and a food allergy may also exhibit these symptoms.
Children and adults may benefit from an elimination diet, the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies, for up to four to six weeks. This method of an elimination diet to heal eczema internally is best carried out in phases and under the supervision of a functional medicine practitioner, such as those found right here at EH Naturopathy Practice. The phases include removing common allergens such as dairy, gluten, maize, peanuts, soy, sugar, and eggs, closely monitoring any changes in symptoms, and reintroducing foods one by one to determine the effect on symptoms. For optimal outcomes, we recommend working with a practitioner who is trained in functional health and has experience with elimination diets.
1.Optimize your gut health in order to treat eczema and gut dysbiosis.
The microbiome consists of the billions of bacteria that inhabit the human body. The health of the microbiome and the integrity of the gut lining have a significant impact on the development of the immune system and the likelihood that a kid may develop allergies, eczema, or asthma. When dysbiosis, a disturbed microbiome, leaky gut, eczema, or allergies are present, stomach bloating and discomfort are likely to occur.
Gut-healing supplements that reduce inflammation, nourish and mend intestinal membranes, and nourish good bacteria can be quite effective. This could contain L-glutamine, turmeric, DGL, marshmallow root, zinc, quercetin, ginger, and chamomile. We prescribe a high-quality probiotic, preferably S. boulardii and Bifidobacterium species, to encourage healthy gut flora. Consult your healthcare professional to determine the optimal probiotic and dosage for you or your child or visit us here at the clinic.
2. Encourage your children to play outdoors and get a little messy
According to the "Hygiene Hypothesis," sanitary conditions have upset the delicate equilibrium between our body's interior ecosystem and the immune cells we manufacture. Intriguingly, as a result of our contemporary lifestyle, we are not colonized with certain essential bacteria, resulting in compromised gut integrity and immunological dysregulation.
Encourage your children to play outside, get messy, and interact with other children, and wash their hands with ordinary soap and water rather than antimicrobial soaps.
3. Apply to the skin natural topical eczema treatments
Herbal ointments can naturally moisturize, protect, and treat eczema. In place of a prescription eczema cream, salves including comfrey, plantain, and calendula are beneficial for eczema-affected newborns (or teenagers and adults). These salves can be applied 1-2 times daily for dry skin, during the onset of an outbreak, and to treat active outbreaks. Consider applying 2% licorice gel topically as an eczema remedy as well.
4. Think about internal herbs
If external herbs are ineffective, you might try taking herbs internally to treat eczema. In youngsters older than 5 years, quercetin and freeze-dried stinging nettles may be considered. Both antihistamines are non-sedating and safe for itching and inflammation. Quercetin is also beneficial for the digestive tract.
Consider licorice extract for severe eczema flare-ups since it serves as a natural cortisol. Consult a Naturopathic Practitioner before beginning licorice extract, as it may increase blood pressure.
5. Vitamin D should be taken as a supplement
Studies have indicated that eczema sufferers in children and adolescents are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. In addition to increasing sun exposure, you should consume vitamin D-rich foods such as mushrooms, fortified orange juice, and fortified rice milk.
We frequently advise using a high-quality vitamin D supplement to increase your consumption, particularly during flares. Consult your Naturopathic Practitioner for a customized treatment plan and dosing instructions.
By Dr. Sepi Sefy PhD whom specialises in Herbal Medicine of Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese & Western Herbal Medicine, alongside of Yoga, Nutrition and Phytotherapy.