Eczema is an uncomfortable, inflammatory skin condition which is characterised by thickened and irritated red skin, itchiness, and flaking. It is usually caused by a variety of factors which can include food intolerances, a leaky gut (a condition where the gut lining has become permeable, allowing undigested food particles to enter into the blood stream, and the immune system launches an attack), a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, stress, a lack of good bacteria in the gut, or genetic tendency.
• Omega 3 oils are found in abundant quantity in fish oil, or for the vegetarians, flax seed oil. Consuming omega 3 oil on a daily basis is extremely beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema, providing dry skin with much needed moisture from within. Omega 3 helps to reduce dryness, and significantly reduces inflammation.
• Zinc is a mineral which is often deficient in eczema sufferers. Zinc boosts the immune system, is anti-inflammatory, and is important for improving skin health and healing.
• Probiotics - meaning “pro life” - introduce beneficial bacteria into the digestive system. As skin health is directly linked to our digestive health, and 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, it is important to look after the digestive system in eczema sufferers, and probiotic supplementation can go a long way in achieving this.
• If a leaky gut is suspected, the amino acid Glutamine helps to heal the gut lining and prevent undigested food particles being absorbed.
• Cleavers is a herb which cleanses the blood and lymphatic system, and has a history of being of benefit to skin health.
• Chamomile tea taken both internally and applied externally has anti-inflammatory effects.
• Digestive enzymes. As eczema can be related to undigested food particles entering the blood stream, this may be due to a deficiency in digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are crucial for the breakdown of foods in the digestive tract so that nutrients can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Other tips and ideas:
• Test for food intolerances – low-grade food intolerances can be a large contributing factor to skin conditions such as eczema, and offending foods and environmental substances need to be avoided. This can be done with our experienced Nutritionist at the Health Zone Clinic.
• Reduce stress in your life wherever possible, as skin conditions such as eczema can be brought on or exacerbated by stress.
• Switch to a topical cream which is specifically formulated to soothe, moisturise, and heal irritated skin with the Barefoot SOS Face and Body Rescue cream, or Allergenics Emollient Cream.
• Only use chemical free, natural products on the skin with laundry powders such as the Ecozone range, and soaps which are formulated for sensitive skin such as the Barefoot SOS Soothing Face and Body Wash.
• Include omega 3 oils in your diet by consuming oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, or salmon, and nuts and seeds.
• Eliminate all processed foods, as additives, preservatives and pesticides as these all put a strain on the body and its organs of elimination, particularly the liver. Focus on eating foods which are in their natural state, and aim for 8-10 serving of fruits and vegetables per day in order to provide your body with the high level of nutrients and anti-oxidants that it requires.