Living with eczema doesn’t have to be hard. You might have noticed an itchy red patch on your face, chest, neck or elbows. Sound familiar? And while skin conditions such eczema are not life-threatening, it can make you feel pretty uncomfortable — or embarrassed about your appearance. Read on to learn more about this condition and tips on how to treat it naturally.
What is eczema?
Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause patches of skin to become red, itchy, inflamed and in some cases, painfully blistered and peeling.
Eczema is very common and can be an ongoing challenge but, in many cases, it is also manageable. It’s most common for babies and children to develop eczema on their face (especially the cheeks and chin), but it can appear anywhere on the body and symptoms may be different from one child to the next. Eczema often goes away as a child grows older, though some children will continue to experience it into adulthood.
Adults can develop eczema, too, even if they never had it as a child. In fact, adult-onset eczema is both under-recognized and under-reported. In adults, hand dermatitis and red facial eczema can be most prominent and flare-ups can be very unpredictable.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of eczema and it is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
Other factors may include:
- Activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive
- Defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in
- Poor digestive health
- Food allergies or food sensitivities
The most important thing to remember is that eczema and its symptoms are different for everyone. Your eczema may not look the same on you as it does on someone else, or on a child. It may even appear in different areas of the body at different times.
Eczema is usually itchy and for some, the itch is mild, or moderate. But in some cases, the itch gets so bad that people get into the so-called “itch-scratch cycle” it until it bleeds, which of course can make things worse and even cause scarring.
What does eczema look like?
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed, bumpy skin
- Very bad itching
- Dark colored patches of skin
- Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin
- Thickened skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
- Painful cracks can develop over time
You may experience one or more of these symptoms at any time on your face, neck or torso. At times the severity may worsen or lessen depending on your triggers.
12 Tips to Treat eczema symptoms naturally
1. Allergy-proof your home, so you won’t be exposed to high levels of things like dust mites and animal dander. Even saliva from animals (when they lick you) can be a possible trigger.
2. Clear your body of toxins. It so happens that eczema is more common in cities and polluted areas. A good detox could help relieve the body of toxins that are screaming to get out and have nowhere to go except through your skin.
3. Keep skin moist. Dry skin can trigger eczema so be sure to keep the environment moist with a humidifier. Be sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate from the inside out.
4. Keep fingernails short so that you are less likely to worsen eczema by scratching especially at night.
5. Be conscious of what you handle, and consider wearing non-latex, waterproof, disposable gloves when doing work or being exposed to harsh cleaners, chemicals, detergents, and soaps.
6. Avoid some common foods known to trigger eczema flare-ups such as citrus fruits, dairy, eggs, gluten or wheat, soy, tomatoes, some nuts and spices like vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon. 
7. Sweating can trigger eczema. Make sure your skin isn’t remaining wet for extended periods of time. Shower or bathe immediately after exercise, pat dry and then moisturize.
8. Soaps and lotions that contain perfumes or chemicals could be triggering your eczema. Also, check your laundry detergent and avoid fabric softeners.
9. Trade in synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe for 100% cotton. Don’t wear scratchy clothes such as wool, especially if you are sensitive to this type of fabric.
10. Reduce stress as some experts believe that there is a correlation between stress/anxiety and skin disorders. Some therapies to reduce stress include biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, and meditation.
11. Treat skin infections by applying natural oils such as coconut and sunflower oil topically. This could help to reduce the amount of infection and inflammation on the skin. One study showed that patients with atopic dermatitis caused by a staph bacteria were able to reduce their skin symptoms by 95% after applying coconut oil directly on the skin.
12. Soothe skin and ease symptoms with a magnesium bath. Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt flakes and 1 cup of sea salt and soak for 20 minutes. If you don’t have time for a bath, consider transdermal magnesium oil. Of course, I also highly recommend taking a magnesium supplement internally for additional benefits.
The eczema-asthma connection
Did you know that eczema and asthma are two very closely linked allergy-related conditions? In theory, I believe it makes perfect sense, as they are both allergic reactions much like hay fever or hives, yet in a lot of cases, one appears months or even years before the other. But it wasn’t that long ago that I remember no one saw the correlation. Imagine this — statistics show fifty-to-seventy percent of children with severe atopic dermatitis, particularly when occurring with hay fever, go on to develop allergic asthma in their adult life. By comparison, the rate of asthma incidence among the general US population is only about 9 percent in children and 7 percent in adults.
Researchers have proven that skin damaged by eczema sends a message to the brain saying the body’s protective system is ineffective. In turn, the brain tells the skin to secrete a molecular substance called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (abbreviated to TSLP) which causes an enhanced immune reaction to anything that could be a threat, like allergens. TSLP can pass through the skin and into the bloodstream very easily, and while it will get to all parts of the body, the lungs are most susceptible to its effects. This results in lung tissue stepping up to an enhanced immune response and the symptoms of asthma occur.
Eczema and Asthma and Anti-Inflammatory Diet
While most medical experts say there is no cure for eczema, I believe one way to get a handle on eczema, is to treat it as an inflammatory condition and look to change not only your diet but your lifestyle in general. This goes for asthma as well. Along with supplementation, you can profoundly influence the inflammation throughout your body that will in-turn help you stay healthier all around.
10 dietary tips that will help with both eczema and asthma:
1. Start with an elimination diet to eliminate all possible trigger foods. Then slowly reintroduce the foods back into your diet after a few weeks, sometimes longer.
2. Experiment with eliminating (one at a time) wheat, corn, soy, citrus fruits, eggs, dairy, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, cashew, walnuts, pistachios) for six to eight weeks to see if the condition improves.
3. Avoid sugary foods, processed foods, food additives, and preservatives.
4. Avoid high-histamine foods such as avocados, tomatoes, spinach, cheese, chocolate, pickled or canned foods, and vinegar.
5. Eat organically grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
6. Eliminate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils that might contain trans-fatty acids, and all foods that might contain trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods).
7. Use quality oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, wild-caught seafood, coconut oil, organic grass-fed butter, flaxseeds, and ghee.
8. Be sure to eat probiotic-rich foods to repopulate your good gut bacteria which is often missing from our daily diet. Some probiotics are available in fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
9. Take supplements such as a good probiotic, vitamin D and vitamin E to support your gut and immune health to improve the cause of eczema. You can also apply the vitamin E topically to reduce itching and prevent scarring. 
10. Drink plenty of water to keep respiratory tract secretions more fluid.
Some of my patients have benefited tremendously by incorporating the GAPS diet into their program as we work through the root causes of their digestive issues. For many, including a healing bone broth as part of the GAPS program works wonders on healing the gut lining. Homemade, nutrient-dense bone broth is easy and inexpensive to make. You can get my homemade bone broth recipe here.
In addition, minimize contact with respiratory irritants, such as smoke, dust, molds, and volatile chemicals. Remove sources of offending materials from the home, install a good air filtration system, or consider moving if the air is generally bad where you live.
Supplements for Eczema and Asthma
Because of both eczema and asthma are inflammation-based, I recommend specific supplements to help ease the immune response that triggers symptoms. The most important one to take is EFAs. An Omega 3 deficiency can contribute to chronic inflammation and related conditions including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, asthma, and eczema. OmegAvail™ Lemon Drop Smoothie is a delicious tasting, high potency and ideal for children and adults.
One of my favorite fish oil supplements which have had reported remarkable improvements in skin disorders is called OmegAvail™ Ultra. It is a high potency omega-3 product, providing 600 mg EPA and 400 mg DHA in each two softgel serving.
Magnesium can relieve muscle spasms, including the smooth muscle of the bronchial tubes. There is considerable evidence that asthmatics are frequently magnesium deficient. Magnesium Buffered Chelate is one of the best-absorbed forms of magnesium.
HistaEze™ is designed to help support and counteract some of the main symptoms and immune reactions and inflammation associated with environmental allergies.
You don’t have to suffer from eczema or the embarrassment of irritated skin breakouts. If you are interested in working with a professional to identify your triggers, let’s get started. CONTACT ME so we can take a deeper look at your triggers and develop a treatment plan that gets to the root cause of your eczema issues.
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1. National Library of Medicine: Diet and Dermatitis: Food Triggers
2. PubMed: Low vitamin D serum level is inversely associated with eczema in children and adolescents in Germany.
3. American Academy of Dermatology: What is Eczema?
4. Medicine Health: Signs and Symptoms of Eczema.
5. Atopic Dermatitis Exposed: In Atopic Dermatitis, Understanding the Core of the Disease by Understanding the Inflammation.