One condition I seem to treat over and over again is eczema in both children and adults. For young children and babies this can be very distressing and uncomfortable and in teens (especially young women) it can not only be painful and uncomfortable it can also be very damaging to their self esteem.
The question is what can you do about it?
The standard treatment for eczema is normally cortisone cream which, whilst usually offering some sort of temporary relief it just won’t get to the root cause of the issues and until you treat that it’s more than likely eczema will continue to be an issue and the more you use the steroid creams the worse it may become.
The first thing I always work on when treating patients with eczema is their overall diet, gut health and making sure they’re taking the right supplements. Leaky gut is a big driver behind eczema so healing intestinal permeability and working on building a healthy microbiome is imperative to long term success and healthy skin.
Our body needs a low inflammatory diet rich in gut healing foods such as meat stocks, good fats, Apple Cider Vinegar and probiotic foods as well as nutritional support utilising nutrients such as:
Glutamine or L-Glutamine as it’s also called is an essential amino acid require for the body for normal immune cell functions. It also contributes to healthy skin cell function but supporting the production of antioxidants such as glutathione in the body.
Slippery elm has been used for years to heal and seal an inflamed and permeable gut as well as being used topically to soothe the skin, heal and reduce inflammation. Given that most illness starts in the gut it makes sense that using Slippery Elm to support your gut health will in turn have a positive effect on your skin health.
This is an essential mineral for a variety of purposes in our body but for this particular area it is an essential micronutrient for skin health. The skin contains nearly 6% of the body’s total zinc and is required to support immune function and new tissue growth. Check your nails, or your kids nails.. those little white spots are tell tale signs you need some zinc.
It seems we’ve moved beyond our thinking of we need Vitamin D for healthy bones and we’ve realised that this very important nutrient has a positive effect on many other functions within the body including the immune system and our skin. This is why it has become more important to have good Vitamin D levels in pregnancy to help avoid your little one developing eczema in their first year of life.
Essential Fatty Acids:
Specific essential fatty acids are important in healthy skin with Sea Buckthorn Oil being the preferred option. It contains omega’s 3,6,7 and 9, some trace minerals including Molybdenum, amino acids and antioxidants. Sea Buckthorn Oil is great to use in conjunction with either Fish Oil or Cod Liver Oil.
There are a few different probiotics which are supportive in the case of eczema but the real stand outs seem to be Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG) which is great for the long term reduction in allergy as well as additional Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001), Lactobacillus salivarius, Bifidobacterium lactis (HN019) and Bifidobacterium infantis. Taking a good quality multi strain probiotic containing these can be very beneficial and sometimes adding a few single strains can really help you get on top of things.
The other consideration is the type of diet you may choose to do as a result of your eczema.
For some patients they will remove the obvious culprits such as Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy and see how they go from there, for others they decide to go the whole hog and do The GAPS Diet which rebuilds the intestinal health and microbiome. There’s also a method in between which I tend to favour with patients and have used successfully simply because it’s not just about choosing how you want to treat your eczema it’s also what you can do within the constraints of your busy lifestyle.
Additionally, understand the skin itself is an organ of elimination, NOT a barrier so anything we put on our skin WILL be absorbed into the body. It’s also a way for the body to eliminate toxins and support detoxification.
Adding some soothing ingredients to your bath can really help heal your skin whilst giving you some time to relax and enjoy a little time out, something we can all do with from time to time. It can also soothe a stressed and uncomfortable child if their eczema is really becoming intolerable.
Add to your bath:
- 1/2 cup BiCarb Soda – have antibacterial properties and can relieve the itching
- 5 tablespoons seaweed powder – renews damaged skin cells and is an anti-inflammatory due to the high iodine content
- 1 cup of gluten free rolled oats placed in an old knee high stocking – are anti-inflammatory and have mucilaginous properties which soothe the skin
If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach i also recommend to patients they get themselves to the ocean as often as they can. The sun and sea water is healing not only in its physical properties of iodine, salt water and Vitamin D, there’s also something relaxing and soothing about the beach that you just simply can’t get anywhere else.
From the team at Mumma’s own, thanks for spending some of your valuable time with us.