Eczema: A Complex Condition

Tim and I are often asked about natural cures for eczema.  This is a complex skin condition and while I am a doctor - PhD in History - I am only an authority of 19th and 20th-century social movements.  If you are suffering from a severe skin disorder, I first recommend that you seek a medical opinion.  That being said, I do have some information and suggestions that you might find useful.

 Weekly exfoliating is important in order to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin soft and glowing.  Thank you to Jane Gable for the pictures of my hands and our Avocado Rose Sugar Scrub at the South Kona Green Market!

Weekly exfoliating is important in order to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin soft and glowing.  Thank you to Jane Gable for the pictures of my hands and our Avocado Rose Sugar Scrub at the South Kona Green Market!

Most importantly, whenever you have a skin disorder, such as, blemishes, rash, redness, discoloration, itchy bumps, it is almost always an indication of something going on inside your body.  Your skin is the first organ to respond to inflammation and eczema is an autoimmune disease.  Your skin is more permeable to toxins and this causes your immune system to work overtime.  With eczema treatments, you need to think both topically and internally.  

Briefly, eczema is caused by a reaction similar to that of an allergy and can cause chronic inflammation.  The condition often comes and goes and might accompany other allergic reactions such as asthma.  Doctors and scientists are fairly certain that there is a genetic connection.  In some cases, specific items such as soaps, detergents, dust mites, animal dander, and metals can trigger eczema.  However, for most people, there is no known allergen that causes their personal reaction.  It could be that their eczema worsens in dry climates, or exposure to water, or temperature changes, and very often manifests itself when the individual is under stress.

So how can my diet help improve my eczema?  Consider soothing and healing the gut lining with foods like bone broth and beneficial fats.  Increase your omega-3 intake with avocados, fresh salmon or tuna from unpolluted waters, eggs, organic raw nuts, and organic hemp, chia or flax seeds.  Dr. Weil recommends taking gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). You can find this unusual fatty acid in evening primrose oil, black currant oil and borage oil.  It is very hard to come by in the diet. GLA appears to have nourishing effects on skin, hair, and nails. He suggests taking 500 mg twice a day.  The results are not overnight.  Expect to wait six to eight weeks to see the benefits.  

Finally, you want to boost the beneficial gut bacteria with probiotics and fermented foods.  It’s time to make friends with sauerkraut.  Also keep a food log and note any food triggers.  Dairy might be your culprit.  Milk and milk products can irritate the immune system.  There is also a medical correlation between being sensitive to gluten and eczema.  Track your diet and look for patterns.

Topically, you need to exfoliate the skin gently.  Coffee grounds make a wonderful soft scrub and caffeine seems to have a beneficial effect on healing inflamed skin disorders due to its ability to increase blood circulation.  Avocado oil is beneficial both as a salad dressing and in treating eczema as a moisturizer.  I also recommend cold-pressed, virgin organic coconut oil and natural D-alpha tocopherol vitamin E oil.  Bathing in Epsom salts can also provide relief since they are high in magnesium.  If your eczema is wet and oozing, try a spray of sea salt blended with avocado oil and aloe vera juice.  Many of Luana Naturals’ clients have found relief with our Sea Spray with beneficial blue algae, Kona Mocha Scrub, and our custom Ili Oil.

In your research, consider therapies in homeopathic and Chinese medicine.  Both have proven effective for many skin conditions and are worth exploring. Look online to find local practitioners.

Remember:  No scratching.  This makes the condition worse.  I know - easier said than done.  While there is currently no "cure" for eczema, the good news is that it is possible to improve your symptoms from the inside and out.