Here’s What You Need To Know…
- Eczema is a condition affecting the skin which causes dry itchy patches which can become blistered and bleed if scratching persists.
- Eczema occurs because the body is dealing with too much systemic inflammation.
- A diet high in processed foods and sugars are the worst for eczema sufferers.
- Find and avoid the triggers and exacerbating factors.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Not many people will know that I’ve suffered with Eczema my whole life. It’s not something I want the whole world to know, especially given that my job involves hands on treatment; and who wants to be touched by someone with dry, flaky hands?!
As far as I’m aware, I was pretty much born with eczema, or some other skin issue at least. I know this because my mum likes to remind me how the nurses called me “RASHLEY”!
Childhood involved summers of uncontrolled scratching of the elbow creases and the backs of my knees, despite being repeatedly told not to. See, anyone who suffers with eczema will tell you that it is IMPOSSIBLE not to scratch!
As I entered my teens and through to my early twenties, the eczema moved further away from my elbows and knees to areas further away like my ankles and wrists.
The scratching remained just as unbearable and continued uncontrollably until my wrists would start to bleed. There was just nothing I could do, because the need to scratch always won!
Fast forward to my uni days and the eczema was still affecting my wrists but also my fingers too. I can remember my first week of BCOM (osteopathic uni) where our course relied heavily on touching people and I was unable to hide my hands any longer.
These red, dry, flaky fingers were a real source of anxiety for me, worrying what people would think about it.
I wish I had taken some pictures so I could show you.
The severity came and went, with some months better than others. The beginning of my uni career was probably the worst overall.
Figuring Out The Eczema
It took me until the last year of my osteopathic course to really figure out what was making my eczema worse.
It was after a particularly stressful period, most likely around exam time, where I would turn to sugar to relieve my stress.
Not just a bit of sugar, but we are talking SUGAR BINGES!
Then days later I would suffer some of the worst itching in a long time. This happened several times over and then it clicked. It was the sugar making it worse.
Since then I have applied what I know about the body and about health and nutrition to fully clear up my eczema.
Here’s how you can too…
Understanding How Eczema Occurs
First of all understand these facts…
- Eczema is not a deficiency of topical steroid creams.
- Eczema is a sign that there is too much inflammation systemically.
- If you address the deeper causes you could potentially never suffer from eczema again.
Secondly you also need to know that although your symptoms are your eczema and the itching, you need to treat your body from the inside out.
So here’s what’s going on…
The very fact that you are presenting with eczema means two things; there are high levels of inflammation in your system and secondly that the immune system is under a lot of strain.
The most likely reasons for this are STRESS and SUGAR.
Sugar will increase levels of inflammation within your body, and stress will increase the production of an hormone called Cortisol which will have a weakening effect on your immune system.
Not only will sugar affect the inflammation levels, but so will other food allergens. The most common ones we see are;
- Grains and grain related products such as bread and pasta
- Poor quality meats
These foods are often irritating to the digestive system which causes an immune response and can lead to leaky gut issues where the permeability of the gut lining increases which then allows larger food particles through causing your immune system to attack them. This immune response leads to higher levels of inflammation.
The second thing about these grain and milk related foods is that they are very easily converted to simple sugars, and simple sugars are known to feed bad bacteria in your small intestine, causing a bad bacteria overgrowth. This overgrowth causes an imbalance between the good and the bad which is known as a Dysbiosis.
How To Treat Your Eczema Naturally
Treating Eczema With Diet
So, the first thing that needs to happen is that you’re going to have to change your diet.
It’s not easy, especially if like me you have a very persuasive sweet tooth!
Take it day by day trying to minimise foods containing starchy and simple carbohydrates.
Eat more foods rich in essential fats such as; fish, avocados, nuts and seeds and also olive oil or coconut oil.
Treating Eczema With Supplements
Since most eczema sufferers have a gut dysbiosis it is usually worth supplementing with a good quality PROBIOTIC to help equalise the balance between the good and bad bacteria.
Fatty acid supplementation is also a must. Fish Oils are the best choice or Flax Seed Oil for vegetarians.
Magnesium is also a great product for people with Eczema as it helps to prevent allergies, detoxify, improve skin quality and promote relaxation among the 300 other uses in the body.
Treating Eczema With Lifestyle Changes
Try to minimise the stress in your life, get to bed earlier and drink more water.
When washing dishes wear gloves, especially if the eczema is on your hands.
When you take a shower or bath, try and moisturise immediately after, preferably with a natural moisturiser containing as few chemicals as possible.
Eczema is not something you have to live with all your life. Steroid containing creams are not the cure and you should be trying to heal your body internally and naturally if you can.
If you give your body what it needs it can reduce inflammation and your eczema can greatly improve, even to the point where you don’t notice it any more.
This is something we can help you with through our Functional Medicine Programme so call us on 0203 356 7060 to find out more or to book an appointment today.