Eczema and food intolerances are often intimately linked. Indeed, eczema is most often a sign of digestive imbalance, whether it be a bacterial imbalance in the gut, a food intolerance, or some other digestive upset. Today we are going to take a closer look at the link between food intolerances and possibly getting eczema from food, followed by some testing and treatment options.
Firstly, a brief description of eczema. It is a condition that typically affects the skin, causing redness, itchiness, patches of dryness and intense itching. Infection can also occur when the rash is itched and bleeds, causing a lot of oozing and pain. It can appear anywhere on the body, but most often occurs on the arms, legs and in skin folds such as behind the elbows, knees and ears. It is believed that in people who suffer from eczema, the skin can’t retain moisture properly, which contributes to the dryness and itching that occurs.
From a holistic perspective, eczema is not merely a skin condition. It is a multifaceted issue that has origins in not only topical factors like chemicals, detergents, makeups, sunscreens etc.; but also in immune system abnormalities, emotional influences like stress, and quite often digestive distress of some kind.
Where the digestive system is concerned, it is believed that eczema is made worse by bacterial imbalances in the gut, and also by the presence of food intolerances. This is due to the excessive inflammation intolerances can cause. The skin is also our most significant organ of elimination, and the excess inflammation and toxicity that food intolerances generate can use the skin as a way to exit the body. This manifests as skin rashes and dryness.
One of the key aims of holistic treatment is to identify and eliminate foods that exacerbate the condition. This can be done through an elimination diet, which often takes a lot of time and trial and error. Or you can get straight to the heart of the issue, and take your own food intolerance test.
Once our lab has received your hair sample, you will have your results within three days. You will be given a list of all the foods your body is intolerant too, and the necessary support to remove these foods from your diet in the best possible way. Many of our customers have found great success in removing their unwanted symptoms, including eczema and skin rashes. If food intolerances are the cause of your eczema, you could see some drastic improvements quite quickly.
Whilst you wait for your test results, and also as an addition to this, we want to give you some at-home treatment options that may help ease your symptoms and keep them at bay.
Eczema is a condition made worse by heat, so it is best to avoid all foods and topical treatments that cause heat. Avoid the following:
Skincare –Use only natural, chemical-free products on the skin. This includes all skincare, hair care and makeup products. Pure oils such as jojoba and rosehip can be an excellent replacement for moisturisers, and provide incredible nourishment for the skin.
If you have a bad eczema flare that is hot and itchy, you can try having a cool bath or tepid rinse with a solution of oats and chamomile flowers. These are both known to soothe the skin and lessen itching and irritation. Pure aloe vera gel may also help soothe the skin.
Washing detergent – supermarket washing powders that are filled with chemicals and fragrances can be a significant causative factor in some cases of eczema. It is worth going to your local health food store to find an alternative or create your own at home using things like pure castile soap or soapberries.
Home cleaning products can also be a significant factor in making eczema worse. If you have a bad case of eczema, it is best to clean your home using simple solutions of water, vinegar and some lemon essential oil. You can also purchase some good quality, low tox cleaning solutions made from essential oils and other plant-based ingredients from your local health food or wholefoods store. Avoid all fragrances, parfums and strong cleaners from the supermarket.
Supplements can be very beneficial for eczema sufferers.
Cod liver oil or a good quality fish oil can be particularly useful, as they help to moisturise the skin internally and reduce inflammation.
Zinc and Vitamin C are also beneficial nutrients for skin and immune disorders. 25mg of zinc and 500mg Vitamin C is a good amount to trial.
Probiotics, particularly the strain called L. rhamnosus, have been shown to be helpful for eczema sufferers. Probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut may also help the digestive system.
Stress management – because eczema flares can be associated with high-stress levels, implementing some stress management techniques can be highly beneficial.
Daily deep breathing using your diaphragm really relaxes the nervous system. Do a round of 10 slow deep breathes both in the morning and at night.
Meditation or relaxation yoga may also help. Try them out and see what works best for you personally.
Today we’ve looked at the relationship between eczema and food intolerances and discussed how eczema is a multifaceted disease state. The skin and what is put onto it topically play a big part in some cases of eczema, but so does the immune system, the nervous system and the digestive tract.
Holistic medicine recognises that one of the key ways to figure out the cause of someone’s eczema is to identify and eliminate foods that may exacerbate it. The quickest way for you to do this is through our food intolerance test, which you can order with us. Once you have your test results, the process of knowing what foods to remove is straightforward.
We’ve also discussed some simple home remedies and treatment options to manage your eczema, from skincare to stress management. As always, we hope you find this article useful, and a catalyst for your healing journey to begin.