Eczema is a troublesome but common skin disorder that affects up to 15 percent of the population. In its acute form, eczema causes inflamed red, dry, and itchy skin. Some patches may blister and weep, and eventually, these areas may crust over. If the eczema is a chronic problem, the skin will continue to itch but may thicken and take on a leathery consistency. Usually, dry scales develop, and the skin's color may change.
Most acute cases are brought on by an allergic response. Sufferers may be allergic to a certain food or to other substances; in either case, it's quite possible to have a reaction from ingesting the allergen or just from touching it. If you can identify the irritant and remove it, eczema will usually disappear. But if the skin continues to be exposed to the irritating factor, the rash may spread and develop into a chronic condition. Stress may aggravate acute eczema and keep it from resolving.
Eczema can appear in infancy or early childhood and most often develops on the face and the head or in the folds of the elbows, the knees, or the groin. In some cases, it will disappear as childhood progresses and wither stay away for good or recur in adolescence or adulthood. Chronic eczema is a complex condition that usually involves a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever; difficulty handling stress; or food sensitivity. It has also been linked to abnormalities of the immune system, as well as to candidiasis and low levels of essential fatty acids and deficiencies of other nutrients that help keep down inflammation. Poor digestion and detoxification can also be at the root of eczema. Like most complicated ailments that involve the whole body and lifestyle, holistic treatment is the best approach for both relief and resolution. Conventional therapy for chronic cases is usually quite frustrating for the patient, as it generally just suppresses the skin problem and causes further spreading or intensifies the symptoms. Treating the root cause(s) with natural therapies, as described in this section, is, in our opinion, a superior way to help resolve this aggravating condition.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; the level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements have shown to help Eczema:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription # 1 Omega 3, 6 9 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products. Take a formulation that contains a mixture of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, as directed on the container. Children can take this product at a daily dosage of 480 mg of EPA Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation and dryness, and studies show that they can help heal eczema.
Super Prescription #2 Vitamin C - LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin C Products. Adults take 1,000 mg two to three times daily and children 500 mg two to three times daily. It reduces inflammation and promotes skin healing.
Super Prescription #3 Burdock
Root (Arctium lappa) Adults should take 1 ml of the tincture form or 300 mg in capsules, while children can take 0.5 ml and 150 mg with each meal. Burdock root has a cleansing effect on the skin.
Super Prescription #4 Evening Primrose - LifeSource Product Adults can take 3,000 mg daily and children 1,000 mg daily. It contains GLA (gamma-linoleic acid), which has anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. Some people with eczema need increased amounts of GLA. It's especially important if other essential fatty acids, such as fish or flaxseed oil, have not been helpful.
Super Prescription # 5 Vitamin E - LifeSource Product Adults should take 400 IU and children 200 IU daily. It promotes skin healing and prevents the oxidation of essential fatty acids.
Super Prescription #6 Probiotics / Dophilus - LifeSource Product Adults should take a formula that contains at least 4 billion organisms per daily dosage and children at least 2 billion. Friendly flora such as Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are involved with proper digestion, detoxification, and immune function.
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Symptoms of Acute Eczema
- Red, dry, swollen, and burning skin
- A strong, almost overwhelming desire to scratch
- Skin that blisters, oozes, and crusts over
Symptoms of Chronic Eczema
- Recurring cases of acute eczema
- Thick, dry skin with scaly patches
- Continued itching
- Color changes
Root Causes of Acute Eczema
- Food allergies
- Contact with irritants (these can include but are not limited to dyes, perfumes, topical medications, plants, metals, soaps, wool, pollutants, and even sunlight)
Root Causes of Chronic Eczema
- Suppressive treatments of acute eczema (such as long-term topical steroid treatment)
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- An imbalanced immune system
- Deficiency of or inability to process essential fatty acids
- Low levels of stomach acid and poor digestion
- Poor detoxification
Eat a diet of basic, whole foods to encourage a healthy internal balance and a balanced immune system.
You should consume essential fatty acids every day. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are great sources; use the oil in dressings or sprinkle the seeds on cereal or salads. Flaxseeds and their oil change with heat, so do not bake with them or expose them to high temperatures. Cold-water fish, especially salmon, mackerel, and herring, are also good sources of EFAs.
Eat pumpkin or sunflower seeds daily. They are excellent sources of zinc, a mineral that encourages the proper metabolism of essential fatty acids.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours to flush out toxins and to encourage skin health.
If you're constipated, your body will have to find another way to get rid of wastes-and that usually means that toxins are expelled through the skin. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They're full of fiber and will keep your digestive tract clean.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene are necessary for good skin health, so eat your green leafy and orange-yellow vegetables. Their nutrients are best delivered to your body when the food sources are raw, juiced, or lightly cooked.
Candidiasis is a possible cause of eczema, so eat cultured or sour products every day to stimulate the growth of "good bacteria."
Foods to Avoid
Eliminate all additives from your diet. Not only are additives likely to cause a direct reaction, but they also contribute to a toxic internal environment that can manifest in the skin.
Determine whether you have an allergy or a sensitivity to any foods. Common food triggers of eczema are dairy, citrus fruits, tomatoes, soy, shellfish, eggs, wheat, and gluten.
Do not eat saturated fat or solid fats, such as shortening or margarine. They interfere with the metabolism of essential fatty acids.
Stay away from inflammatory foods, especially sugar, spicy foods, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. Sugar and caffeine also contribute to anxiety and stress, so you have an extra reason to avoid these substances.
Skin problems are usually a sign that the body is poisoned, perhaps from allergenic substances, toxic foods, or emotional stress. The following suggestions will help you release those poisons.
In cases of chronic eczema for adults, undertake a three-day juice fast once a month to sweep away toxic build-up. Green drinks with barley, spirulina, or blue-green algae detoxify the blood and are especially supportive of eczema fast. Children over the age of five may use these green drinks under the guidance of a nutrition-oriented doctor.
- If you have an acute cause of eczema, you must avoid the offending irritant. If the source of the irritation is not obvious, review the possible triggers previously listed under "Causes of Acute Eczema" and try to avoid or treat each one. Exercise will help relieve stress and encourage detoxification.
- A little morning sunlight on your skin promotes healing, so take walks early in the day. If you live in a warm climate, be careful. Don't let your skin burn.