Updated: Jan 18, 2019
Can eczema truly be cured, or is it something we can heal and send into remission, but will always have the chance of returning? Even with research linking eczema to autoimmunity, I believe that one can certainly successfully treat eczema and completely heal it, but will probably always be prone to it reoccurring if preventive measures are not taken. I have had eczema last for months in the past, and have lived without any sign of it for months. It recently flared up, but fortunately I have learned how to quickly stop it in its tracks and get it healed up fast.
My journey with eczema started after taking 2 months of antibiotics to treat Lyme's disease. Oddly enough it flares up around my mouth, looping around from nostril to nostril. There is no way to hide that! It began as red bumps that were not too obnoxious but progressed into patches of red scaly bumpy skin that peeled dry skin almost continuously. I would desperately try to get it smooth enough to cover up with concealer only to have it be a flakey mess within an hour or two. And the dry air of winter heating certainly exacerbated it. Add in acne that would pop up in the middle of it because of constantly fussing with it and putting heavy lotions on it, it felt like all people would see when they looked at me. I sought out how to treat it naturally knowing that any creams a dermatologist would give me would only suppress the symptoms and I wanted to get to the root of the issue. Fortunately, after a lot of searching I compiled some really great advice that worked. Now I want to share with you some of the best ways to treat eczema by addressing the root of the issue and getting control back.
1. If you only get eczema on a certain area of your body, consider what you may be coming into contact with or doing that could be disturbing the skin microbiome and causing a flare up. My eczema is a contact dermatitis or atopic eczema, and I had to ponder why do I only get eczema right around my mouth? So weird, right?! Turns out after years of wearing down the skin microbiome from contact with chewing tobacco residue from kissing my husband, the antibiotics for Lyme's were the final straw that put my skin over the edge. Crazy? Maybe, but I went 2 weeks without kissing my husband and the eczema cleared up completely. One tiny peck from my hubby immediately causes blistering. He has to undergo a rather rigorous routine of brushing his teeth, coconut oil pulling, and using a citrus based cleanser on his face in order for my skin to not react.
2. Consider what foods you may be reacting to. Foods are a major contributor to internal inflammation leading to external inflammation when we are not choosing healthy foods that are healing. Below is a list of foods that are generally inflammatory. You may not react to all of the foods on the list and you may react to foods that are not on the list. Pay attention to how your body responds to the foods you eat and if any seem to worsen the condition.
3. Nourish your microbiome. The probiotics in your gut maintain equilibrium in your body and keep the immune system strong and help decrease inflammation in the body. All good news when your skin is inflamed and your body is taxed with healing. Take a quality probiotic, eat fermented foods if histamines are not an issue for you, and eat a diversity of healthy foods.
4. Nourish your body. The foods you eat have a direct effect on how your body operates. They either promote inflammation or reduce it. I personally completely eliminate sugar and starch foods from my diet as well as processed foods when I have a flare up. I increase my intake of vegetables and intentionally choose foods that are high in nutrient value. Vitamin B5 has been shown to help repair the skin barrier and reduce 'skinflammation.' Some foods high in B5 include organic meats, broccoli, avocado, legumes, fish, and sweet potatoes. Additionally cucumbers are quite hydrating, and bone broth is soothing to the gut. Ginger is anti-inflammatory as well. I also make sure to take a multi-mushroom supplement and turmeric supplement. Both help reduce inflammation and support the body's ability to heal.
5. Hydrate. Your skin is dry and flaky, probably even itchy. Obviously it needs extra hydration. Make it your mission to drink a lot of water. Herbal teas are excellent too.
6. Use a healing topical lotion. While what you put inside of you has a direct effect on the outside of you, it is wise to soothe the skin topically. Choose a non-toxic lotion or serum so you are not further taxing your body. There are many natural and organic lotions for eczema and dermatitis. Jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and aloe are all good bases for a lotion and often are accompanied by essential oils such as lavender. Because I was treating broken skin on my face I chose a serum. I experienced fantastic healing using Enhance: Glow Boost serum from The Spa Dr. skincare line. It is non-comedogenic and packs powerful nutrients that speed healing and help prevent flaking. You can find it here.
7. Sleep. You body does the majority of its healing while you sleep. Intermittent fasting can help speed healing. It takes about 6 hours to digest a meal, any additional sleep time is spent healing. So if you eat at 9 pm and sleep till 6, your body gets about 3 hours of healing time. But if you stop eating by 7pm, then any sleep past 1 am is allowing your body ample healing time.
8. Stress Less. Anxiety and stress have a strong link to exacerbating eczema. Continuously raised cortisol levels are a major contributor to inflammation. As a matter of fact I just resurrected my long dormant dermatitis (atopic eczema) by allowing myself to get stretched too thin, become exhausted, and chronically stressed. By prioritizing caring for myself and focusing back on the healthy steps listed above within a week I had the flare up under control and beginning to heal. It takes a length of time to heal as well, for me about 2 weeks for the redness to subside and the peeling to end. I am grateful for the Glow Boost because it certainly helps to keep the peeling to a minimum.
If you or a family member or friend are affected by eczema or any other skin issue, you can book a consultation with me here: https://www.jennifergarn.com/book-online
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