written by: Elysia Arseneau, staff writer
Itchy, painful, red, raw skin. Yes, we're talking about eczema!
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is inflammation of the skin. This inflammation can occur anywhere on the body, can cause severe discomfort, and for many people can be unsightly and even embarrassing. In this condition, patches of skin become rough and inflamed, are usually itchy, and can sometimes form blisters and bleed.
Affected individuals may have flare-ups in response to certain substances or environmental conditions. For some people, coming into contact with coarse materials may cause itchiness of the skin. For others, being too hot or too cold, exposure to certain household products such as soaps or detergents, or coming into contact with animal dander may cause an eczema outbreak. Stress may also worsen the condition's symptoms.
Although there is no cure for eczema, most people can effectively manage their symptoms by avoiding irritants. Here are four tips for eczema sufferers so you can finally start winning the battle!
It is suspected that for certain individuals, eczema is related to nutrition. When these individuals eat foods that they are sensitive to or that are known to cause inflammation, their body begins the inflammatory response to protect itself from the irritant. The elimination diet is a process where you remove those foods known to cause inflammation in the body, including gluten, dairy, egg, soy and any foods that you are sensitive to. Remove them from your diet for a minimum of 3 weeks; if your eczema lessens or disappears, you have a food intolerance! Then, re-introduce the foods one at a time to find which one(s) is/are the culprit(s).
Click here to see What the Elimination Diet REALLY Looks Like.
For support while you change your diet to determine your food intolerances and sensitivities, book a Nutritional Consultation.
For individuals who are unable to follow the elimination diet, contact one of our clinic's to get tested for food intolerances.
Having a balanced digestive system has been shown to diminish incidences of eczema. Supplementing with probiotics to help ensure adequate gut flora and supplementing with L-glutamine to help ensure proper intestinal wall health can be crucial for eczema sufferers. In addition, if you suffer from gas and bloating after meals, try taking digestive enzymes to help break down the foods. Digestive enzymes digest fats, proteins, carbohydrates, sugars, minerals, grains and fibres, and are important for people with food intolerances or sensitivities who are unable to properly digest certain foods. A healthy digestive system leads to reduced inflammation in the body!
It is theorized that eczema might be secondary to poor detoxification pathways. If our body doesn't get rid of toxins adequately, our skin will try to make up for it and get rid of them through the pores! This may lead to eczema. Having a healthy liver is crucial for detoxification. Using herbs such as Milk Thistle and Burdock Root can be beneficial. A diet high in fiber is another great way to detoxify!
Skin needs to be hydrated at all times. Most importantly, make sure that you are consuming 2L of water per day and avoid substances that causes dehydration such as alcohol, caffeinated tea, and coffee. In addition to keeping you well hydrated, drinking water also helps the detoxification process.
To lock in moisture, use a moisturizer for sensitive skin that is suitable for eczema. Our top-selling creams for eczema are Excecalm by Herbasanté and Advanced Topicals Eczema Cream by AOR. [Editor's note: the AOR cream is being discontinued. Get it before it's gone!]
Click here to see all of our products recommended specifically for eczema.
While using steroid medicines in the short-term to reduce skin inflammation might seem appealing at first, the side effects of topical steroids simply aren't worth it. Your skin will most likely thin; you could develop permanent stretch marks, bruising, and discolouration; you could trigger or worsen other skin disorders like acne and rosacea; you could experience more hair growth on the area being treated; and you may develop an allergy to the contents of the cream (for example the preservatives used), which could actually make the inflammation worse!
Related to water many people find that avoiding sudden changes in temperature or humidity will also help prevent eczema flare-ups. It has been said that "hot water is the enemy." Bathing in lukewarm water and avoiding sweating and overheating will help keep your eczema from flaring up.
Remembering and abiding by these easy tips may seem difficult at first, but the relief you'll feel will be worth it!
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