Most eczema-sufferers understand that there are no hard rules for treating eczema. Treatments that work for most people are likely to fail in a portion of others. That’s because eczema is a complicated group of skin inflammations that can have a variety of triggers resulting in a variety of symptoms.
These triggers affect people of different age, gender, and ethnicity with a range of different symptoms. Because of this, the best treatment approach is to experiment with a variety of adjustments. It’s important to consult your medical professional in any holistic treatment regime, but for most people, a 360-degree approach to eczema treatment should include:
In this blog post, we will explore a 360-degree approach to eczema treatment.
How to use the right diet to manage eczema
Adjusting one’s diet is often the best place to start to treat eczema, which can be triggered by certain foods. That’s because eczema is related to the immune system, and therefore, the foods you eat can have an impact on your entire body which can cause flare-ups.
Unfortunately, these triggers differ from person to person but there are certainly some common places to start. Common triggers include milk, eggs, soy, gluten, nuts, and fish. It’s best to try to eliminate these troublemakers one by one from your diet and track improvements. It is critical to not change your diet too drastically all at once because then it becomes very challenging to identify the root cause.
A quick word about gluten: it’s certainly something to be avoided for people with celiac disease (a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine). Many sufferers of celiac disease suffer from eczema at a higher rate (in fact, up to three times higher). That doesn’t mean if you have eczema you have celiac disease. This, of course, can only be diagnosed by a doctor, but the fact is gluten is prevalent in such a wide range of popular foods that it may be overly constrictive to eliminate it completely (just being realistic here!). That being said, it’s absolutely worth experimenting by reducing or eliminating gluten from your diet to see if your condition improves.
As part of your holistic approach, you may consider experimenting with adding supplements to your diet, including:
- Turmeric, which is related to ginger, has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
- Zinc can help to boost the immune system and help to grow healthy new skin
- Omega-3 fatty acid, which is from fish, (while also being a good part of your overall diet) may reduce inflammation in the gut and skin. However, if you are known to have fish allergies, it’s best to avoid this.
- Vitamin D is essential for many of your body’s metabolic functions. It is a useful supplement because many eczema sufferers are deficient in it. It’s also hard to get enough Vitamin D from food alone.
How the right lifestyle can improve your eczema
The next step after examining your diet is to adjust lifestyle-related factors that may be contributing to your eczema. It almost goes without saying, but excessively rubbing and scratching your skin is only going to make your eczema worse. Going beyond the obvious, limiting stress and improving sleep can drastically improve your condition.
Stress is often a trigger of eczema but reducing one’s stress isn’t easy. Especially when it’s eczema that’s stressing you out! Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re stressed because of eczema, or if stress is actually causing your eczema. If you are going through extreme emotional stresses, you should consult a psychologist. If you simply want to reduce your stress a bit, you can try these things that can improve both your eczema and your mood:
- Exercise is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Although it is true that exercise can leave your skin dry and cause the occasional flare-up, the health benefits of exercise are too profound to ignore.
- Meditation and other mindfulness techniques may help lower stress and improve your eczema condition.
- Stay cool: stress and heat are often related, and cooling off may literally calm down your eczema because of this.
- Sleep: ironically, eczema-sufferers often have trouble with sleeping. But getting a good night’s rest will have an irreplaceable impact on your body, lower your stress levels, and reduce eczema flare-ups. It’s recommended to go to sleep early and consistently and avoid the harmful blue light emitted from computers or phones when it’s close to bedtime (blue light causes a delay in the onset of the natural melatonin hormone).
Aside from getting good rest and lowering stress, a good laundry routine is crucial for any eczema-sufferer. It’s recommended to wash new clothes, which may have harmful chemicals in them such as formaldehyde. Be careful with your selection of detergent too: almost all detergents on the market have fragrances in them, which can trigger eczema. You should try a detergent that is unscented, or perhaps, try doing a load of laundry without detergent at all. This may sound unpleasant to you, but may be worth it in the end if it helps your eczema!
Using the proper skincare routine to treat eczema
Even if you do have the best diet and lifestyle, you will inevitably need to treat your eczema when flare-ups occur. You also want to be treating and moisturizing your skin proactively so that it stays healthy. We recommend avoiding both oral and topical steroid treatments though. It’s easy to become dependent and eczema often comes back worse. Side effects can include: thinning of the skin, bruising, and darkening of the skin. Topical calcineurin inhibitors are a non-steroidal topical approach to eczema treatment, but the long-term safety of TCIs has not yet been established.
That’s why we recommend taking a more gentle skin care approach to eczema. These treatments should include:
- Moisturizers keep the skin hydrated by trapping in water. Not all moisturizers are the same though: in order to truly reap the benefits, the moisturizer should be on the thicker side (avoid “lightweight” moisturizers) so that it penetrates the epidermis (the outer layer).
- Oils are essential for moisture and skin barrier repair. Sunflower oil also has anti-inflammatory effects. Almond oil makes for an excellent emollient in addition to soothing the skin.
- Honey and Beeswax are used for their antibacterial properties (they have traditionally been used to treat wounds). Secondly, honey can have a soothing effect on the skin, to decrease the urge to itch it.
Developing the right skincare routine can involve a lot of trial-and-error. We made Eczema Honey with the goal of simplifying the eczema skincare routine by combining well-documented solutions for eczema into an effective blend. While we do encourage you to experiment and find solutions that work for you, we have found that Eczema Honey works quite well at reducing the frequency of eczema flare-ups and reducing its symptoms for many people. It simultaneously acts as a thick moisturizer (the most essential of eczema skin care) as well as providing a pleasant combination of soothing, antibacterial properties, and nutrition for your skin.
To conclude, there isn’t a perfect one-size-fits-all eczema routine, but there are steps you can take right now to improve your condition. Progress won’t always be linear - that’s just the nature of experimentation. With effort and commitment, we are confident you can take control of your eczema, and your life.