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How To Heal Eczema Naturally

 

During my late teen and early adulthood years, I suffered from eczema breakouts which were mostly on my arms, hands, chest, and legs. In my early adult years, the breakouts localised to my hands and arms and it got quite bad. My skin was always falling off, it was extremely painful, uncomfortable and itchy, and it got to the point where my hands would weep and bleed and I would hide my hands in public because I was embarrassed and so that people wouldn’t get repulsed.

To help the eczema, I used everything that Doctors and pharmacists prescribed me from vaseline, cotton gloves at night, creams, ointments, cortisone and other steroid creams. But still, months went on and my eczema did not improve and if anything it only got worse after time.

I started to take matters into my own hands and began doing my own research. I learned through a Naturopath who I began seeing that almost always skin conditions are caused by something going on internally. Eastern beliefs connect skin conditions to negative emotions and emotions not dealt with, and in the West, skin conditions are associated to poor diet and lifestyle. At the time upon learning this information, I felt it was a combination of both.

I am happy to report that I have not had an eczema breakout in over 4 years following the principals and tips that I share below. I hope these principles and tips help you as well, and I’m sure that if you apply these in your own life then you will get the same results and hopefully be on your way to healing your eczema naturally too!

 

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a term for a group of conditions, and is a common skin condition that causes itchy, red, dry, inflamed, and irritated skin. The condition is also called ‘atopic dermatitis’. Eczema is most common in babies and children, but can also come in a variety of types in children, teens and adults.

Symptoms of Eczema

  • Itchy skin
  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Inflamed skin
  • Oozing or crusting skin
  • Rough, scaly or flakey skin
  • Discoloured skin
  • Red rashes
  • Swelling of the skin

What causes Eczema?

Eczema can be triggered by genetics, lifestyle, and inflammation. They can show up in different areas of the body and while over the counter creams and medications may help short term, it is not addressing the real issue.

Some causes of Eczema may be:

  • Toxicity overload
  • Adrenal dysfunction and increased cortisol levels
  • Increased estrogen, hormonal imbalances and hormonal changes
  • Food sensitivities and food allergies
  • A weakened or compromised immune system
  • Genetics
  • Environmental triggers (mould, dust mites, home furnishings, water, pesticides, chemicals etc)
  • Body products and cosmetics and product ingredients
  • Overuse of medications
  • High levels of stress
  • Dehydration

Eczema Healing Tips

It’s important to address any underlying stress/trauma, inflammation, food intolerance/sensitivities, gut health, immune health, chemical and environmental exposures. The skin is one of the four major eliminatory organs (along with the bowels, kidneys and lungs) and is in fact the largest of these eliminatory organs. Having a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis is usually a tell tale sign that a shift needs to occur inside, such as making changes to what we eat.

Below are just some helpful tips and principals that I followed on my own healing journey. Following these healing tips does not mean you will experience results overnight, but over time when you adopt them as part of your lifestyle, then your skin will become more healthy and more than likely your eczema will reduce. It took about 3-4 months for my hands to heal completely and to see results and it can take time. I am not a medical professional, but I do strongly advise seeking out a functional medicine practitioner, Naturopath or herbalist so that you can get to the root cause of your eczema and/or skin conditions. 

Heal your gut

If you have leaky gut, poor gut function or any gut infections and bacterial overgrowth such as Candida albicans, this can lead to inflammation and lack of nutrient absorption which may lead to rashes, itchy skin and eczema.

  • Gut testing and blood pathology is always a really good place to start and it may help you rule out certain factors that could be affecting your gut and digestive system such as Candida albicans overgrowth
  • Take a probiotic to support and re-build healthy gut bacteria. But, ensure that you are taking the right probiotic strain which is best suited for you. This is why I love and recommend further gut testing if there is serious gut stuff going on. Certain strains of probiotics can produce histamine or are histamine liberators which may actually cause more itch and inflammation in eczema (this is what was happening for me). Research has suggested that bacterial strains like Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus bulgaricus can actually exacerbate histamine levels and production, and it is probably best to steer clear of dairy probiotic strains. Work with your healthcare provider to find the best probiotic and dosage for you
Rule out food allergies and sensitivities

Food allergies and food sensitivities can be a major trigger of eczema, especially if the symptoms worsen after exposure to the food. It may be best to start with an elimination diet which is usually what is recommended for identifying particular food sensitivities. The process of elimination diet is usually done in phases and usually goes for up to 4-6 weeks. The phases include eliminating common allergens which include dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, peanuts, soy, and sugar, then closely noticing any changes or decrease of symptoms that may take place. You can then reintroduce the foods back one at a time to see how this affects certain symptoms. Personally for me my two biggest triggers for my eczema were gluten and dairy which I was able to identify through an elimination diet, and then were later confirmed through further testing such as the IgG & IgE western food panel tests.

  • Gluten - Gluten is one main culprit that people commonly believe worsens their eczema, and it did for me. Gluten was the first to go for me and I definitely saw a relief in my symptoms once eliminating it. I recently discovered that I have Ceoliac disease, so it was a no-brainer for me to eliminate gluten from my diet completely. If you think gluten may too be a culprit for you, remove gluten from the diet that may be hiding in packaged foods, breads, cereals and replace it with sprouted, whole grains or fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and seaweeds
  • Dairy - Eliminate dairy completely if you think this could be a possible allergen for you, and see how this goes for you with your eczema symptoms. Or you can try swapping out pasteurized dairy products for products like dairy free kefir. Pasteurized dairy can be overly acidic and the other potential hormones and chemicals can lower the immune system and aggravate skin conditions like eczema
  • Histamines, oxalates and lectin based sensitivities can also be triggers for eczema or other skin related conditions
  • Gluten, dairy and eggs are usually the three biggest culprits, with grains and nuts/seeds following

Eat a nutrient dense diet

Eating a nutrient dense diet and and adding more foods that are rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins to your diet can provide the building blocks for skin repair.

  • Eat more living foods from the Earth and less from a packet, focus more on whole foods. Think fresh juices, green smoothies, salads, and an abundance of vegetables, healthy proteins and good fats
  • Avoid all processed foods - Preservatives, food dyes and artificial flavourings and sweeteners are all likely culprits to cause irritation and reactions in the body which can express as skin conditions such as eczema. If you look at the ingredient list in most packaged and processed foods, you will probably see that they contain at least one or two types of the above. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient listed or have no clue what it is, then it’s probably best to avoid it
  • Drink green vegetable juices with ingredients like celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, cilantro and ginger. Anthony Williams aka The Medical Medium also suggests drinking celery juice on an empty stomach to help heal skin conditions such as eczema, and hundreds and thousands of people swear by it. Don't have a juicer and would love to make your own healing and nutritious juices? Shop our cold-pressed and Omega juicers range online here.
  • B vitamins and minerals like magnesium are key for the 2 phases of detoxification and in healing skin conditions such as eczema
  • Add in healthy fats, enough protein and more colours to your diet
  • Avoid caffeine or reduce caffeine consumption as it can aggravate eczema and certain skin conditions 
  • Replace acid producing foods like grain-fed beef, pork and chicken for organic or grass-fed meats, dark leafy green vegetables, whole fruits and sprouted nuts or seeds for a few weeks and see if you notice any improvement
  • Opt for organic produce if possible, without the added pesticides and herbicides

Heal your hormones

Increased estrogen can lead to increased histamine levels and may result in eczema. I have wrote a whole blog on how I am naturally healing my hormones, which you can read here.

Eat foods rich in Omega 3's

Eat foods rich in Omega 3’s like chia, avocados, hemp seeds, walnuts, and salmon if you eat fish. You can also find an Omega oil which you can bring into your daily supplement regime and we have a huge range of omega oil supplements online. Spirulina is another great food for skin conditions, as it’s rich in fatty acids and protein.

Infrared Sauna

I started using a far-infrared sauna for my eczema flare ups, and I would often feel a soothing feeling on my skin where the site of the eczema was. The use of infrared saunas may assist with skin conditions such as eczema by:

  • Increasing blood flow and circulation to the eczema areas
  • Removing dead skin cells
  • Helps excrete toxins through the skin
  • Supports the liver and detoxification pathways
  • Decreases stress which can be a large factor for eczema flare ups
  • Boosting the immune system

Shop our Kiva Wellness Far-Infrared sauna range online here.

Choose non-toxic products with safe ingredients

As the skin is the largest organ, it is important to take into consideration the types of products that you are using on your skin, and examine the ingredients in your soaps, cleaning products, body washes, shampoos and conditioners, lotions and creams. I like to use an app on my smartphone called 'Think Dirty' where you can scan particular items at the store and it will show with a rating based on the ingredients listed on the products. This is an easy way to determine if a product is natural and safe to use on the skin.

We have a huge range of non-toxic and natural products in our online store. I have listed some products and ingredients further down below which may be useful for someone with eczema and skin conditions.

Herbal Medicine & Herbal Teas

Herbal medicine excels in the area of eczema treatment as specific herbs topically help soothe while internally can stimulate lymphatic movement, liver congestion and reduces inflammation. I took specific herbs under the guidance of my then Naturopath during my journey of healing my eczema. Some herbal teas that I love to drink daily that can help heal and soothe eczema are:

  • Nettle - great anti histamine for itch and allergies and is high in vitamins and minerals for skin support
  • Milk thistle - supports the liver and helps with itch
  • Dandelion - Also supports the liver and elimination pathways
  • Chamomile - For a better sleep, for anxiety and gut healing
Vitamin D

Studies have shown that adults and children who suffer from eczema were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Increase your daily sun exposure and include vitamin D rich foods into your diet such as cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mushrooms and eggs. I was also advised to supplement with a high quality vitamin D supplement to help boost my intake of vitamin D especially during eczema flares. Speak to your GP or health professional before taking any new supplements.

Manage Stress

Stress can make eczema worse. Prolonged stress and stress that is not managed can:

  • Break down your gut lining which can lead to gut permeability aka leaky gut and food sensitivities
  • Ignite inflammation in the body...Hello eczema flare up and itchiness
  • Disrupts sleep which prevents healing and perpetrates the stress
  • Decreases stomach acid productions and food is not properly broken down for healing the skin
  • Weakens immune system which can make you more prone to infections or eczema flare ups

Find ways to rest and manage stress levels by incorporating stress management techniques into your life such as exercise and movement (yoga and pilates are great), breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, listening to relaxing music, speaking to someone you love, acupuncture, infrared-sauna sessions, or a massage.

Natural Eczema Healing Products

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera used topically on an eczema break out can help to moisturise and heal the skin. You can apply aloe vera gel to your skin and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then gently wash it off with warm water.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a natural way to lock in the body's moisture, protect the skin barrier, and soothe any irritation or itching skin. You can use oatmeal containing products or make your own oatmeal bath at home which can be a simple, effective, and inexpensive solution for skin conditions such as eczema. To create an 'at home oatmeal bath', most people like to use colloidal oatmeal which is oatmeal that has been ground down to create a fine powder that dissolves in warm water. Learn to make your own oatmeal bath by clicking here.

Calamine and Zinc Natural Soap
The Australian Natural Soap Company has a natural soap formulation which contains calamine lotion, zinc, castor oil and olive oil. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and is extremely effective at aiding the healing of the skin, so can be ideal for skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and even nappy rash.

Calendula

Calendula not only relieves the symptoms and helps to repair the skin, but also makes the healing of the damaged skin faster as it contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Calendula creams such as Grahams Calendulis Plus Cream can help soothe itchy, dry, eczema skin.

White Mallow

White Mallow has gentle and soothing effects which make it ideal for baby care and baby eczema, and has been terminologically proven to soothe highly sensitive skin conditions like eczema. Weleda have a white mallow range which has been certified by the National Eczema Association and has been specially formulated for hypersensitive and eczema prone skin. Shop the range here. 

Castille Soap

Castille soap is gentle on the skin, will leave your skin soft and smooth, and won’t dry out or further irritate eczema prone skin. I try and opt for the unscented castille soaps which are safe and suitable for everything from your hands to your hair to your housecleaning. There are a lot of different scents in the Dr Bronners Castille Soap range, but be careful that the scents don't further irritate the skin. You can shop the Dr Broners Castille Soap range online here.

Ingredients in products to try and avoid are:

  • Essential oils - they can most often be too strong and irritating for delicate skin and eczema. Purity and contamination can also be another issue
  • Lanolin - A common irritant for sensitive skin
  • Coconut oil - This is my favourite oil and I used it heavily during my journey of healing eczema. I stopped using it everyday after I learned that the anti microbial and fungal properties of coconut oil can actually disrupt the skin microflora and cause more disruption to the skin barrier which is already weakened with eczema. Coconut oil can also sensitize the skin and can actually be a common allergen for some. I still use coconut oil, but it is not recommended to use daily during a major eczema flare up
  • Petroleum - It is a crude oil and can be contaminated with toxins and chemicals
  • SLS - Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a foaming agent and can be a major irritant


 

Have you healed eczema in yourself or a child naturally? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below!

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