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HEALTH INFO - Eczema
Eczema is an angry looking skin condition, which can look dry, scaly & become inflamed & itchy. In most countries, 1 in 5 children & 1 in 12 adults are living with some degree of this condition. It is often a reflection of what is going on inside your body, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of all three.
It is typically treated with cortisone cream prescribed by your doctor; but long-term use can cause side effects like thinning your skin.
It is therefore a good idea to look at what is causing your eczema so that you can make changes to your life, & improve your wellbeing from the inside out. Causes of eczema have been linked to high levels of stress & emotional upset, toxins in the body, an unhealthy gut or a sensitive reaction to foods/chemicals.
Try some of the following points to see if you can discover what causes your eczema; go for the easier options 1 st . Then if you need to step up any changes in your lifestyle, go on to try some of the other suggestions. Remember because these are natural ways of combating eczema, it may take weeks or months before you see any marked improvements; so stick with any changes you make for at least 3 months.
-FIRSTLY, & most importantly, skin problems may be attributed to dehydration. Up your intake of water to 3-5 pints a day. Herbal teas count, & so does water with a little pure fruit juice, but cordials & squash do not count. See my water info sheet on www.lifenlimb.co.uk for more suggestions & details.
-SUGAR! It is responsible for so many health problems. It makes many skin conditions worse, so it is good to check out all your food labels & avoid processed foods with added sugar or corn syrup. It also compromises your immune system by 60% every time you consume it, therefore giving your body less strength to fight off antibodies effectively.
-ASPARTAME! Another additive used as a sweetener in many processed foods & drinks, but it can add to skin conditions as well as worsen behaviour, as it is an excito-toxin. Definitely one to avoid, especially children!
-some people have a sensitivity to cow dairy products, as we are not designed to consume dairy; I believe we are the only animals on the planet who consume dairy after weaning! The molecules of dairy products are larger than those of human milk & are less easily absorbed by the gut. However, goats & sheep's dairy are made of smaller molecules & are therefore more easily absorbed. So it may be worth switching to goat's or sheep's products, or cutting out dairy completely. Goat's milk is the best milk alternative you can give to babies if you find breast-feeding difficult.
-Breast feeding can reduce the chance of your child developing eczema, as it bolsters their system with your antibodies.
-Stress can cause eczema, so if you are under pressure you are probably eating badly, not digesting your food properly & not giving yourself time out to recover from the stresses of daily life. Try the following:-
-Chew your food thoroughly (20 times per mouthful). This puts less stress on your guts, which are not designed to digest unchewed food too often.
-take time out to prepare some salad or soup to take to work with you. Make lots of it at the same time to tide you over for a few days so you save time by not having to prepare something each day. I like sliced veg (crudités) with humus, mushroom pate, avocado & oatcakes, corncakes, rice cakes or ryvitas. Easy & healthy, & you can top up your lunchbox when you need to.
-make a stew yourself or soup to last a few days; its better than processed stuff. Make meals in bulk & freeze them, e.g. pasta sauces, stews, curry, chilli etc.
-WHEAT! Is very difficult for our body to digest; it just is not designed to eat as much as we do. Try oatcakes, corncakes, rice cakes or ryvitas instead of bread. There are many more breads made from other grains now, but beware of their sugar content. Try corn, bulgar wheat or rice pastas. Look for other alternatives to biscuits & cakes in your local health food shop, e.g. sesame biscuits made with honey.
-TAKE TIME OUT! It is a simple equation; the more you are stressed out, the more time you need to balance it out. Build time into your routine to relax, even if you don't feel like it. Catch a sunset, go for a walk, or go & get some a treatment or exercise on a regular basis to help you mange your stress. Aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, Pilate's or any other number of treatments or relaxation exercises which may appeal to you.
-some essential oils & some base oils can address the symptoms, and can help reduce stress, which can cause eczema. Oils that are helpful are: calendula, rosehip, macademia nut, wheatgerm, lavender, chamomile, everlasting, cedarwood, hyssop, juniper berry, myrrh, rose, carrot, & evening primrose oil. Please feel free to contact me for advice as to the best oils for you.
-Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are required in your diet for healthy skin. These can be found in oils like evening primrose oil, borage (starflower) oil, flaxseed oil, oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines. Ensure you get enough of your EFAs; I add a mixture of flaxseed (linseed) & evening primrose oil to each new bottle of olive oil I open. That way my salad dressings get a dose of EFAs every time (it costs less than buying these ready mixed oils from the shop).
-avoid CHEMICALS! Many of the toiletries & beauty products we use today are packed with chemicals that are toxic. Try going for 100% natural, & where possible organic products. There are now many suppliers meeting the demand from consumers who have switched to healthier products to lavish on their bodies. When you bear in mind that your body can absorb 60%of whatever you apply to it, it makes you think twice about what you put on your skin. There are even 100% natural cosmetics & make-up available. Search the web & give your body the TLC it deserves.
-avoiding chemicals also means checking labels on your food too & avoiding junk food which are packed with sugar, tartrazine (E102), sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulphite & monosodium glutamate, the latter can also cause skin conditions like eczema.
-try using natural cleaners too, as many other chemical cleaners contain irritants like sodium laurel sulphate (SLS). Check out your local health food shop for supplies of washing up liquids, natural toilet cleaners, & general-purpose cleaners.
-Other food culprits may be shellfish, strawberries, soya, eggs. It may be worth going for an allergy test, but ensure you get a recommended therapist to conduct this for you, as some tests can be misleading.
-Pesticides can cause toxic build up in the body, so opt for organic wherever possible.
-some people find changing from synthetic to natural clothes helped ease their condition. Some people are allergic to jewellery too, e.g. nickel
If you have a balanced diet, you drastically reduce the chance of getting eczema. Ensure you eat plenty of fresh fruit & veg to ensure you get your B vitamins, vitamin E & zinc.
If however you think you need to detox because your body may be exhausted from the amount of toxins they have been exposed to, try the following:
add a slice of lemon & lime to your water.
Milk thistle tincture tones & decongests your liver.
Aloe vera taken internally can cleanse the gut & can be applied topically to soothe the condition & aid healing.
Viola tricolor tincture has been used successfully to treat childhood eczema, cradle cap & other itchy skin conditions.
Globe artichoke regulates inflammation connected to eczema.
Liquorice preparations applied topically have helped some people.
Products containing lupin seeds applied externally topically have also proven useful for some.
Burdock has cleansing properties that can relieve inflammations & eruptions.
Check you local health food shops for supplies & advice.
Hopefully this will give you some pointers in the right direction.