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Holistic Treatment For Eczema

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Eczema Is On the Rise

Whether you’ve had it since childhood or if it flared up in your later years, you are among the rising numbers of eczema sufferers across all age groups[1].

Originally considered a childhood disease that you “grew out of”, studies show that is not the case. Reports of eczema sufferers now include all age groups, races and genders, and also those whose childhood cases progressed into adulthood or contracted it in maturity.

As more adults suffer from eczema today, it’s important to know what eczema is, and what it isn’t. It’s easily treated and even preventable with a healthy, holistic approach.

Not Just Be a Rash

Eczema (also called “atopic dermatitis”) is a common, chronic, non-contagious and non-infectious skin condition. Although it isn’t serious, the discomfort can be unbearable and seriously affect the quality of daily life.

Symptoms include the same red and itchy skin as one would expect from a simple rash, but in many cases it produces blisters that easily break and leak. Though the intense itch of eczema can tempt you to scratch, scratching could lead to further breakage of the blisters, open skin and bleeding.

How it works

The skin is made up of many layers, and the corneal is the outermost. It protects the inner layers from irritations, allergens and anything else that would cause inflammation. Dehydration leads to the atrophy of the layer, exposing the inner layers to outside irritants and allowing any systematic inflammation to rise to the top.  

The causes are confounding because it could be acquired either congenitally or environmentally.  

Environmental Causes

About 30-40% of all eczema sufferers have an allergic type[2].

These sufferers are also more prone to other skin conditions, allergic asthma or hay fever.

There are studies linking rise in pollution and dependence on antibiotics as factors that weaken the immune system and leave it more vulnerable to all manner of allergies, including the allergic form of eczema[3].

Hereditary Causes

Is eczema genetic? DNA studies linked a gene in the DNA called FLG, commonly called filaggrin.

Filaggrin plays an important role in the skin's barrier function[4].

It binds structural proteins in the outermost skin cells into tight bundles, flattening and strengthening the cells to create a strong barrier over the outer skin. Mutations in the gene have been proven to impact filaggrin production and therefore leave the skin vulnerable.

Can You Develop Eczema As You Get Older?

Along with all the other risk factors mentioned above, add aging[5].

In fact, a recent study identified eczema in older adults as a newly defined subgroup of the condition. For men, as testosterone naturally decreases with age, it causes the skin to dry.

A recent study in the Journal of Dermatology studying low testosterone skin problems that men who had skin conditions had lower levels of testosterone than those who didn’t[6].

How bad can it get?

  • Eczema can flare up on any part of the body, especially as our skin gets drier as we age.
  • The good news/bad news about flareups is that they can be so intense that sufferers are more likely to seek treatment than not. The bad news is that, left untreated, eczema can lead to worse conditions such as deep systemic infections.
  • It is important to have any skin flareup with eczema symptoms treated or examined to prevent issues from getting worse.
Dermatitis on foreskin, for example, if left untreated can lead to serious penile inflammatory disorders similar to yeast infections[7]. Also, flareups can be accompanied by or caused by unrelated symptoms such as herpes (zoster, genital), bacterial infections or even gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms[8].

It is important to seek primary medical advice if eczema is accompanied by seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Natural Eczema Treatment

Most physicians treat this skin condition with topical creams and steroids which shut down the immune system in the locality of the rash, making it go away. This helps relieve symptoms, but playing with the immune system to soothe a temporary lesion, no matter how unbearable, is probably not a good idea.

In fact, recent studies show that long-term use can make the situation worse[9].

That’s where a more natural approach comes in.

  1. Rule Out Allergies. A possible cause of your eczema could be an allergic reaction that developed late in life. It is important to rule out food allergies or other reactions that mimic some of eczema’s symptoms such as psoriasis and contact dermatitis.
  • Elimination diet: Remove common food allergy offenders such as gluten, wheat, dairy corn, eggs, soy and some vegetables from your diet for at least 30 days. If your flare ups get worse with some and not with others, you know what the culprit is.
  • Get tested for allergies: An allergist will test you for a variety of allergens from food to detergents to household chemicals.  
  1. Skin Regimen. With drier skin comes the need for more attention to it. If you don’t already have a nightly skin care regimen, it’s never too late to start, and the key is to keeping the skin hydrated and soothed. Including these items in your skin regimen will help:
  • Honey, raw or in topical creams/ointments, include powerful antimicrobial properties that can go right to the source of the flare-up, which might either be an infection in the skin or an infected phases o eczema itself.
  • Aloe vera, long known for its sunburn-relieving properties, provides the same soothing relief for intense, burning, itchy flareups. Relieving the itch prevents the urge to scratch, which is recognized as one of the top cause of recurrence or continuation.  
  • Coconut oil is another natural antimicrobial that not only keeps infections at bay but also keep the area moisturized and smooth. Use it at home with a drop of essential oil for your own homemade fortified moisturizer.
  • Colloidal oatmeal reduces the irritation while reducing eczema’s dry. Flasky patches. It is one of the most common home-based remedies for the condition. You can find dozens of small batch batch and soap products on Etsy made by homeopathic practitioners, or you can make a colloidal oatmeal bath to bring some serious relief to that itch.
  • Lavender essential oil provides a full mind-body approach to your eczema conditions. It promotes a sense of calm that relieves the need to scratch as well as reduces stress-related inflammation. Included in a colloidal oatmeal bath or a coconut oil topical, it relaxes your mind and body enough to relieve your itch or even prevent future flareups.
  1. Supplements. Including supplements in your diet can reduce inflammation and other internal contributors to eczema.
  • Probiotics: Studies show that healing the gut also heals the skin. Probiotics balances healthy bacteria in the digestive system, which prevents systemic conditions that cause eczema
  • Vitamin D – the vitamin we get from the sun also helps with skin health, especially as we work more and in the sun less.
  • Fish Oil – A 2016 report showed that taken internally or topically, fish oil significantly reduces inflammation contributing to eczema
  1. Next-Generation Relief. Advances in technology also promise relief for eczema sufferers:
  • Cryotherapy and Infrared Sauna
  • Cryotherapy uses extremely cold, dry temperatures to reduce symptoms, locally or on the entire body. Cryotherapy can effectively and safely suppress inflammation so that symptoms are significantly relieved.  
  • Infrared sauna therapy improves circulation, detoxifies and reduces inflammation of the skin.  
  • Phototherapy
  • Any eczema sufferer who finds relief with some sun exposure will appreciate the theory behind phototherapy. Using UV light, it mimics the suns rays to reduce itch and inflammation.  

Baffling and unpredictable as eczema is, if you take control of it yourself, it doesn’t have to be a part of this phase of your life. Never before have there been more options available to treat this condition.

Primary Medical/Scientific Sources:

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