What is Eczema:
Eczema is an immune system over reaction which causes an inflammatory response on your skin. It appears as rough, red dry and flakey patches and sometimes weeping patches. Aside from being uncomfortable and itchy causing us to scratch the skin can then crack and become infected.
Typically eczema is treated with a topical steroid cream. Steroids are used because they supress the immune system, this treatment can also lead to skin thinning and unfortunately it only temporarily elevates the symptoms, kind of like putting a band-aid on a cut, the cut is still there you just can’t see it anymore.
So all of that being said what triggers eczema is what gets tricky. The list of what could potentially causing eczema is long, it could be environmental, food, chemical, colouring, etc. But I am a nutritionist so I start with food.
What to avoid:
Firstly if you know you are sensitive to something or have an intolerance if you haven’t already cut that out of your daily diet, cutting it out will be your first step. After that there are four main categories to eliminate: Dairy, wheat, sugar and junk foods.
Dairy intolerances can cause inflammation which will trigger the immune system and may cause an eczema outbreak.
Wheat – wheat and sometimes all gluten is becoming something more and more people are becoming intolerant to because of over exposure. Eliminating wheat can help to improve digestive function and enhance nutrient absorption.
Sugar – Sugar especially the processed stuff contributes to candida overgrowth, sugar imbalance and digestive disruption. In severe cases of candidiasis it can show in the form of eczema. Plus cutting it out the processed stuff will make you feel so much better.
Junk Food – Talking about the fired, trans fat filled, chemical and preservative filled boxed “foods” can slowly weaken your stomach lining each year. Overtime this reduces your digestive systems effectiveness making it more and more challenging to properly break down and absorbed foods.
What to eat:
So we have cut out a bunch of food that many people find delicious so what to do now? We add in other delicious foods…
Veggies raw or lightly steamed/sautéed: Vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber. Fiber will assist in cleaning up the digestive track and the extra vitamins from the vegetables will get to work in supporting your immune system and repairing the skin. (Vitamin C – anti-inflammatory)
Dairy free milk: These are typically fortified with vitamin D which seeing how we live in Canada most of us require it anyways. But it helps to support the immune system keeping us healthy.
Essential Fatty Acids: EFAs help promote healthy strong skin, so adding foods rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids will help promote skin recovery. Foods like – oily fish, flax seeds, nuts and seeds, chia seeds.
Digestive Enzymes: with eczema it is pretty typical to see a weak or compromised digestive system. SO providing a little extra support during this time will help to ensure that food is being broken down efficiently and adequately which means optimal nutrient distribution throughout the body, with minimal opportunity for inflammation.
Probiotics – most of us in North America end up having a uneven distribution of good vs bad bacteria because of our diets. So giving ourselves an extra little dose of the “friendly” or “good” bacteria will help to correct digestive issues and reduce inflammation.
L-Glutamine: This is one of my favourite supplements. Aside from the fact that some believe it to help reduce or regulate sugar cravings, L-glutamine is all about repairing. It helps to repair and support the integrity of the gut lining, which means improving digestive function, proper nutrient absorption and less digestive distress.
All of these little changes will help to bring your body back into a more alkaline state, which means reducing inflammation, allowing the immune system to calm down, and then supporting optimal health with vitamin and mineral rich natural foods.
Recipe for Eczema Cream
Hand cream recipe:
-3/4 cup Coconut Oil
-1 tbsp avocado oil
-25 drops Lavender essential oil
-25 drops Geranium essential oil
-15 drops Frankinscens essential oil
-1/4 cup oats, ground into a fine powder
1. Heat coconut oil in a small sauce pan on low-medium heat, once melted remove from heat.
2. Stir in avocado oil, essential oils and ground oats, stir for at least 5 minutes to be sure the soothing properties of the oats are released.
3. Poor mixture into a small air tight glass container. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours for the oils to harden.
4. Rub cream onto affected area. Although this is an eczema care cream it is good for any type of dry skin.
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