This blog post is dedicated to a good friend of mine who has been struggling with her eczema. I promised her I would help her come up with a regimen. Due to my schedule, I have neglected to focus on her needs, therefore I am blogging on eczema this week.
Studies are now determining that kids who eat lots of foods containing vitamin E may have a lower risk of the itchy skin condition otherwise known as eczema (a study done in Japan). I suffered many years with eczema, and still have flare ups to this day. I remember as a child, my mother used to give me Vitamin E pills to take orally. Maybe she knew something – i’ll have to ask her.
The exact causes are not completely known, but it is apparent that there is a hereditary component. (It’s also been cited that those who suffer from asthma or hay fever are likely to develop this as well). If you have a child suffering from eczema or know that your child has a genetic pre-disposition, take note that vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, nuts, and whole grains. These should be in our regular diet anyway. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin E in the same age group is about 16 IUs.
It’s not clear why vitamin E would lower the risk of eczema, but could be the antioxidant and immune-boosting effects that have been found.
So what is eczema? It’s a VERY common skin condition that’s characterized by scaly, red, itchy and sometimes oozing lesions. If scratched, the skin can become more inflamed and thicken and possibly crust over. As I mentioned before, it is passed in the DNA although some children will grow out of it. Mostly, eczema appears on and in joints or bendable areas, such as the neck, inner elbows, inside the knees, wrists, ankles and most commonly on the face.
Facts to know:
Eczema is NOT contagious!
Eczema is treatable, but NOT curable.
Symptom severities and appearances vary from person to person
Similar to allergies, eczema will flare up when the body’s immune system overact to certain things (see triggers below). Hence, a good diet and low stress will help regulate your flare-ups.
Some triggers that may flare up eczema:
- detergents and drying soaps
- scratchy clothing (ie: wool)
- dairy products (sometimes nuts)
- dust mites
When it comes to caring for your skin, you should be extra gentle – most people with eczema have sensitive skin. You should not expose your face or body to water too many times a day, so as not to dry your skin out even more. You should use a cleanser/soap for sensitive skins and that do not contain fragrance or other harsh detergents. Do not use loofahs or rough cloths that may irritate your skin even more. You should focus on moisturizing and keeping your skin moist, even if that means moisturizing more than once a day.
Most people go straight to a dermatologist out of frustration when dealing with eczema – I know I have had too many visits to count (as a child). I went to some of the top physicians in the DC area due to them knowing my father and was given different advice from every one. This told me that this is still a misunderstood condition that people are fighting to understand. I was given all types of topical steroids, but never any oral antibiotics or antihistamines because I have never been one to quickly turn to the “quick-fix”. I guess you can say I am somewhat of a holistic being. So, I’ve always looked to find the healthy and natural way to treat my eczema. I came up with a sulfur concoction about two years ago, but realized a number of the population is allergic to sulfur. So I just want to list a few things that I’ve found to help. My first list is some things that have helped me subside the itching (followed by suggested products):
- Vitamin E (topical or orally – do not use synthetic)
- Dandelion (can mix red clover and myrrh to make a tea)
- Red Clover
- Myrrh (I look for this ingredient a lot when purchasing products)
- Goldenseal and honey and vitamin E (make a paste – mix the powdered goldenseal with the Vit E, add honey)
- St. John’s Wort
- Primrose oil
- Zinc Oxide (topically, you can also take zinc orally)
- Vitamin B
Soaps: (wash once a day preferably)
- Dove (no fragrance) or Dove Daily Hydrating Cloths
- Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser
- Aveno Body Wash
- Skin Relief
- Vitamin E (I started using and selling a Vitamin E bar soap because it made my skin more even-toned and more soft than before)
- Aveeno Dry Skin (Oilated) Formula Bath Treatment
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- Olay Sensitive Skin
For winter months, find a soap with gentle emollients such as Aveno Moisturizing Bar for Dry Skin, Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Olay Complete Moisturizing Body Wash for dry skin.
(make sure to apply the moisturizer directly after showering/bathing, while your skin is still damp)
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
- SBR Lipocream
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment
- Jergens Ash Relief
- Corn Huskers Lotion
- Lac Hydrin cream or lotion
- Amlactin lotion
(Pay attention to labels, and make sure the moisturizer does not contain irritants such as alcohol or Vitamin A (retinol), which can dry the skin and make it worse.
These are some remedies that I found at a site for home remedies that I thought were very interesting:
Home remedies for Dermatitis #1:
Mix the following ingredients:
1 tsp. comfrey root.
1 tsp. white oak bark.
1 tsp. slippery elm bark.
2 cups of water.
Boil for 35 minutes use it to wash the affected area.
Home remedies for Dermatitis #6:Shark cartilage reduces inflammation.
Home remedies for Dermatitis #7: Use a lotion made out of blueberry leaves this is proven to be fantastic relieving inflammation of dermatitis.