How to Treat Eczema Naturally
Have you ever wondered how to treat eczema? If you’ve ever been afflicted with this skin condition, you know how irritating and uncomfortable it can be. I’ve seen the effects of eczema up close and personal through one of the students in my kindergarten class.
Little Reggie (name has been changed to protect privacy) came to class each day with terrible welts and patches on his skin. After lunch, he’d itch and itch and no matter how many times I’d tell him to stop, he kept on itching. He’d cry too as the welts were painful, made worse by all the scratching he was doing. It broke my heart to see him in pain and it made me wonder…just what are the causes of eczema and how can it be treated naturally?
What is Eczema?
Before we jump into the causes, just what exactly is eczema? Here is a simple definition from Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler:
“Eczema is a term for different types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). The symptoms of eczema commonly include itchy, reddened, dry skin.”
So basically, any form of rash can be considered eczema. It can range in severity from just a small patch of itchy rash to large areas of the body.
The most common areas of the body affected by eczema are the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. Most everyone has experienced a skin rash at one time or another in their life that eventually goes away, but persistent rashes and skin lesions are considered chronic eczema.
What Causes Eczema?
Experts say eczema is hereditary, and that it’s more common among members of the same family. Others claim it’s caused by environmental or dietary factors. I tend to agree with the latter viewpoint as I’ve seen this up close.
My student had many food allergies and although his mother tried very hard to keep him away from certain foods, this was not always possible. When he returned from the lunch period, his itching was much worse and I tend to think it was because he ate the wrong foods at lunch. We’ll get more into the eczema/nutrition connection in a bit.
Some doctors say eczema is an outward reflection of inflammation within the body and is a result of a weakened immune system. Factors within the body which trigger eczema include poor nutrition and a body full of toxins.
The symptoms can also be worsened by environmental factors, such as when personal care products, detergents, and clothing come into close contact with the skin. I think most people develop some sort of rash when using conventional personal care products, because these types of toxic ingredients are harmful to both the skin and the inner body when they get absorbed.
When people get a rash or allergic reaction, they tend to not make the connection between the irritation and their skin products. In the past, I would get constant rashes under my arms from the deodorant I used and I never thought it was from my deodorant.
Much of the cases of eczema I believe can be completely avoided by switching to natural or organic skin products.
So what are the options in treating eczema and can it be cured?
There are different approaches to treating eczema, including both pharmaceutical and natural methods. An approach I would not recommend is to use medicated creams and prescription drugs. Such “remedies” only mask the symptoms, without seeking to treat the underlying causes. Both over the counter and RX drugs also come with a host of side effects you may encounter and it’s just not worth the risk.
So if medicated creams and drugs are out, what to do when you have an outbreak?
Here’s a few healthier options for topical relief:
- Apply a natural, soothing lotion, such as Calamine (a great one is Cal-Al by Aubrey Organics, which combines calamine and aloe) or a cream/gel containing calendula, which is an anti-inflammatory
- Use a healing balm such as Sweet Blessed Bee Magic, Badger Balm, or Hawaiian Healing Salve by Lanikai
- If you are sensitive to cremes with essential oils, use plain old organic, virgin coconut oil – it’s incredibly healing in so many ways
If you are afflicted with eczema, there are a few things you need to avoid such as:
- Over-bathing (when you do bathe, take short showers/baths in warm, not hot water)
- Allergic foods (some examples of allergic foods include wheat, dairy, corn, and rice)
- Scratching (I know, it’s hard not to!)
- Excess sweating (it makes the itching worse)
- Irritants, such as skin lotions, perfumes, and soaps)
The Eczema/Nutrition Connection
Even though I find some validity in the eczema/heredity link, I think the biggest factor with the potential to make it worse is diet. Reggie himself proved how his eczema worsened after he ate wheat and drank dairy at lunch. For me, I notice an increase in skin redness and itchiness if I eat a food I know I shouldn’t. If you know you’re sensitive to wheat, gluten, dairy, or other foods, it’s best to avoid those foods at all costs.
In addition, people’s eczema’s symptoms are worsened simply by a poor diet. If your diet is full of packaged, processed foods, your eczema will be worse, guaranteed. The best diet for someone with skin irritation is to eat whole foods, such as organic fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed meats, along with sources of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, fish, and nuts. The consumption of healthy fats is critical. The Eczema Natural Healing site says,
“…it has been scientifically proven through clinical research that individuals with eczema appear to have deficiencies in essential fatty acids.”
You may want to check out the book, The Skin Cure Diet: Heal Eczema From the Inside Out, available on Amazon.com.
In addition, those afflicted with eczema most likely have a buildup of toxins in their bodies, which may include pollutants, heavy metals, pesticides, and drugs. The best defense against this is to do a thorough detoxification program, which may include juicing whole fruits and vegetables. One herbal detox program I’ve used in the past is made by Dr. Natura, which is a high quality brand only available online. It really works!
In summary, the best option on how to treat eczema is to look internally. Eat healthily and do a detox program and you should see improvements. If outbreaks still occur, you can use a natural cream which will provide immediate relief.
Now, I want to hear from you.
Have you been afflicted with this uncomfortable disorder before? If so, what treatment options did you choose? Do you feel as though eczema is more of a hereditary disorder, an environmental one, or one of nutritional deficiency?
Stay natural…stay beautiful…go green!
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