So many of our patients come to us, frustrated that no matter what medications they use, their eczema persists; luckily, Annex Naturopathic is well known in Toronto for its naturopathic treatments for eczema.
Let’s talk about eczema today. What it is, what causes it, and what sorts of naturopathic solutions are available for it.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a skin inflammation that many suffer from; up to 20% of the population will develop it, though most will outgrow it before the age of ten.
Also known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, it causes itchy, red, dry skin that can become leathery or cracked.
It’s more common in children than adults, but adults can suffer from it as well. Worldwide, it’s estimated that about 20% of children and 3% of adults deal with some form of eczema.
It’s more common in developed countries with colder climates, so it’s a fairly common issue for Canadians.
Causes Of Eczema?
Some of the causes of eczema include:
• Cold or dry climates
• Dry skin
• Heat or sweat
• Irritants such as wool, synthetic fabrics or soap
• Your genes
• An overactive immune system
Symptoms Of Eczema?
Eczema presents as an itchy, red rash; it can flare up anywhere on the body, though in young children it’s most commonly found behind the knees and on the inside of the elbow.
Eczema-affected skin will generally thicken, become leathery, and crack – this happens often on the hands, which get the most exposure to the causes of inflammation.
You might also see puss-filled or yellowish scabbing, which can indicate a bacterial infection. Small and painful fluid-filled blisters close to your eczema can be a sign of eczema herpeticum.
Different Types Of Eczema?
Eczema is the general name for a whole host of different skin conditions, which we’ve covered below to help you out.
Atopic dermatitis is the one we’ve mostly covered in this article, and is one of the easier of the eczemas for which to provide treatment.Some causes can even be avoided altogether, helping to reduce severity of symptoms.
Contact dermatitis, is often a result of contact with an irritant such as solvents, chemicals, wools, soaps/detergents, or other allergens.
Dishidriotic eczema looks like tiny, itchy blisters on the edges of feet and hands, and is caused most often by stress, moistness, heavy metals or chromium salts.
Nummular eczema looks like larger, coin-sized spots that can be itchy and difficult to treat
Also known as discoid eczema, it is often triggered by insect bites or dry skin.
Lichen simplex chronicus is known as neurodermatitis because it is considered a neurological skin disorder, due to the itch-scratch cycle.
Neurodermatitis appears as thick, leathery, itchy skin patches, usually found on the neck, scalp, shoulders, feet, ankles, wrists or hands.
Seborrheic dermatitis appears where the body has the most oil-producing glands, such as the upper back, nose and scalp, and is called “cradle cap” when found on infants.
It presents as dry flakes or greasy yellow scales accompanied by yellow skin.
Women are more likely to get seborrheic dermatitis than men, and those with immune disorders such as HIV, AIDS, and Parkinson’s are also more likely to develop this condition.
Stasis dermatitis is often found around the ankles, and is red, scaly, itchy, painful and can also crack and ooze.
Naturopathic Treatments For Eczema
Hydrocortisone creams are the most common medical option for eczema treatments. However, these creams can come with some common and negative side effects. These can include nausea, heartburn, dizziness, and skin irritation like redness, burning, itching, peeling, thinning, blistering, acne breakouts and stretch marks, among others. (source)
Fortunately, there are several naturopathic treatments that can help reduce the severity and the symptoms of your eczema.
Be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before you begin any treatment, or stop any treatment cycle you’re currently on. This article should not be taken as medical advice, only as information.
Acupuncture is effective for controlling the nervous system in order to reduce itchiness; once you stop scratching, it also reduces inflammation and redness in the skin.
One of the triggers of dermatitis can be stress, so ask your naturopath to also provide you with acupuncture to help with that. On top of decreasing stress, acupuncture also helps to improve sleep, regulate cortisol levels and detoxify your body.
2. Use Natural Skin Care Products
When caring for the skin on your face – especially if it’s inflamed with eczema – it’s best to leave the complicated creams in the drawer and use straight coconut oil.
Occasionally it’s helpful to add botanicals such as red clover, burdock, black walnut, Echinacea, eucalyptus, calendula, or goldenseal.
Keep the skin well-hydrated to reduce the dryness of the patch while also providing a barrier from the elements.
3. Supplement With Vitamin D
In a study that saw a 29% improvement in skin conditions, it was shown that vitamin D taken as a daily supplement showed promising results for children with eczema.
Vitamin D served to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms children experienced during winter flare ups, making it easier to control the development of the condition.
4. Supplement With Vitamin E
Vitamin E has been proven effective in easing nearly every symptom of eczema.
In 2015, a group of researchers ran a trial that showed all symptoms of eczema except sleeplessness were significantly improved, including itching and lesions.
5. Improve Your Diet
For some people with eczema, eating certain foods can trigger an autoimmune response. This response causes inflammation, which can trigger an eczema flare-up.
Eating an anti-eczema diet can help with this. If you’ve ever tried an anti-inflammatory diet, an anti-eczema diet is very similar.
A good thing to start with, when you see inflamed skin, is to eliminate dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat and soy. These are some of the most common food allergens that cause inflammation.
Above avoiding foods that cause inflammation, though, you should also consider eating anti-inflammatory foods. These include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and flavonoids, like:
• Other leafy greens
You also may be suffering from a digestive disorder which prevents you from properly absorbing the nutrients listed in the previous points. If that’s the case, seeing a naturopathic doctor to address your digestive disorder can help you deal with your eczema and have a number of other health benefits as well.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
If you have been bothered by red, dry skin, especially with the onset of the cold season, I recommend you have a naturopath look at it and suggest a treatment before it develops further.
Call Annex Naturopathic now to book your assessment, and let us help you restore the natural glow to your skin.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND