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Eczema

Eczema

 

Eczema is also known as dermatitis, or an inflammation of the skin. It is characterized by itching, blisters, red bumps, swelling, oozing, scaling, and crusting. Though eczema is not life threatening, it can be uncomfortable and impact the eczema sufferer and those around the eczema sufferer.

 

Eczema & Allergies

Eczema occurs more often in people with families histories of hay fever, allergies, asthma.  In other cases, eczema may be situational. To avoid further irritation of the skin, wear natural fabrics, nonirritating fibers, avoid irritating substances, excess chemicals, and scented fabric softeners. Look for hypoallergenic, organic, natural fabric detergents and softeners, soaps, shampoos, lotions, and anything else in contact with the skin.

The causes of eczema are hard to determine because it is multifaceted, meaning that it is the visible symptom of deeper problems such as food allergies, leaky gut syndrome, or other conditions.  Determining food allergies and removing allergens from the diet are extremely important, as well as changing the diet to prevent flare-ups. Trying alternative treatments and therapies are one way to remain proactive without subjecting the body continually to steroid (hydrocortisone) creams to relieve the itching and antihistamine drugs.

 

Symptoms of Eczema

  • itching
  • blisters
  • red bumps
  • swelling
  • oozing
  • scaling
  • crusting

 

Types of Eczema

1. Contact eczema or dermatitis – occurs only where the irritant comes into contact with the skin. irritants such as chemicals, perfumes, exposure to light, etc.

2. Atopic dermatitis or eczema – commonly in families with allergies, hay fever, B12 problems, asthma, and other allergy respiratory problems.

infants – 2-18 months – red spots on face, scalp, and extremities; weeping, crusty.

children, adults – localized, chronic. may subside in children aged 3 – 4, recur in adolescence or adulthood.

3. Seborrheic dermatitis or eczema - face, scalp, chest.

4. Nummular dermatitis or eczema – chronic, coin-shaped red spots, crusting, scaling. Occurs after aged 35, associated with emotional stress, and winter dry skin.

5. Chronic eczema – hands or feet, very severe.

6. Generalized eczema – widespread over all the skin.

7. Statis eczema – on the lower legs due to poor blood circulation, skin turns brownish.

8. Localized scratch dermatitis or eczema - darker patches surrounded by whitish areas on the arms, legs, ankles, or genitals. Scratching makes it worse. Frequent for women aged 20-50 years old.

 

Complications for Eczema

  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Allergies, Food Allergies
  • Vitamin B deficiencies
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Hay fever, Allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Rosacea
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

 

Alternative Treatments for Eczema

Diet for Eczema

Making a conscious effort to change the diet will help to alleviate eczema symptoms. It is recommended to remove food allergies, drink lots of water, avoid the triggers (usually acidic food), and change the diet to 90 – 100% alkaline foods.

Alkalizing the body will help relieve eczema. Certain foods are acid-forming to the body (see list below) and when they are digested, they produce acid which acts like a toxin to the body. The acid circulates throughout the body causing damage to every cell wherever it goes through 60,000 miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries. To protect itself, your body stores the acid into the fat cells, but it cannot store everything. Then calcium and other acid neutralizing nutrients are taken from the body to neutralize the excess acid. This may cause osteoporosis.

If there is still more acid, the body cannot stop it from causing damage to the vital organs or from being leeched through to the skin. This may cause skin problems like itching, dryness, rashes, and eczema. Hence, an alkaline diet is important to health as well as to prevent eczema symptoms.

To monitor pH levels of the body, purchase pH paper from the drug store and test urine, which should be 6.6 – 7.0 pH (7.0 is neutral, not acidic nor alkaline).

Keep a food diary of when and what you ate, followed by how you felt afterwards. Also include any items that touch your skin, such as clothing with fabric softener, lotions, creams, soaps, water even. This will help to identify triggers and prevent flare-ups.

  1. Determine Food Allergies.
  2. Even without knowing all your food allergies, avoiding all wheat and dairy products such as milk, cheese, etc. will be helpful, since most people have allergies to these.
  3. Eat green leafy vegetable and fresh fruit, these foods are alkaline and prevent eczema symptoms. Some alkaline foods: Asparagus, Onions, Vegetable Juices, Parsley, Raw Spinach, Broccoli, Garlic, Lemons, Watermelon, Limes, Dates, Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears, Raisins, Olive Oil, Lemon Water, etc.
  4. Avoid acid-forming foods that will increase symptoms. Avoid acid forming foods: processed food, junk food, refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white sugar, etc, soda, alcohol, coffee, tea, dairy, pizza, candy, cookies, eggs, peanuts, gelatin, meat, fish, chocolate.
  5. Raw food is best, followed by steamed, boiled. Avoid microwaved, fried, broiled, and baked foods.
  6. Avoid excessive amounts of citrus and sour items, as it may aggravate itching.
  7. Drink lots of water throughout the day to flush out toxins from the body that will aggravate symptoms.
  8. Include essential fatty acids into the diet such as flax, flax seed oil, extra virgin olive and coconut oil.
  9. For infants, delaying solid foods may be helpful for symptoms, if there is a family history of allergies, hay fever, asthma, food allergies.

 

Nutritional Therapy

Taking a multivitamin that shows good absorption into the body will be helpful for relieving symptoms. Take vitamins with meals. In addition, the following may be helpful.

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin E – reduces susceptibility to itching and dryness, is a powerful antioxidant giving protection to skin damage.
  • Vitamin A - overdosing can cause skin itching for pregnant women and those with liver problems. Malformations may occur for unborn children.
  • Vitamin B complex; B6, especially B12. These vitamins help produce new skin cells and tissue and supports the nervous system, which is important for immunity and proper functioning health. Lowered vitamin B levels results in itchy and flaky skin, and may cause psoriasis.
  • Vitamin C – is a powerful antioxidant giving protection to skin damage.
  • Vitamin D - low levels may trigger itchiness, weight loss, tiredness
  • Magnesium
  • Essential fatty acids – occasionally with GLA

 

Chiropractic Care for Eczema

Along with changes in Diet, Nutritional Therapy, and other therapies, Chiropractic Care may help relieve eczema symptoms and improve overall health. Most importantly, it balances the adrenals, which may be overworked for eczema sufferers.

Cortisol is a natural antihistamine produced by the adrenal glands which is an anti-inflammatory (anti-itching, swelling). For eczema sufferers, the adrenal glands may be overworked, leading to cortisol depletion, and eventually other health problems such as the break down of the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, musculoskeletal systems which will lead to osteoporosis and arthritisEczema is not just an itchy skin rash, but can lead to further health problems.

Here are some ways that Chiropractic care can benefit Eczema sufferers:

  • Balances Hormone levels, Adrenals
  • Increased Immunity
  • Improves Allergies
  • Improves Gastrointestinal problems

 

Additional Therapies for Eczema

These following therapies may be helpful for self-care and home care under professional supervision.

  • Bodywork:

Acupressure

Shiatsu

Reflexology

  • Yoga
  • Aromatherapy: chamomile, bergamot, eucalyptus, geranium, juniper, lavender, melissa, neroli
  • Hydrotherapy:

Heating or cooling compress, depending on what improves symptoms.

Drink lots of filtered and if available, alkaline water throughout the day.

Get a water filter for the shower.

Shower with cool or warm water, never hot, as this may aggravate eczema.

  • Fasting, Juice therapy: black currant, red grapes, carrot, beet, spinach, cucumber, parsley, green juice, wheatgrass

Waking    Drink 0.5 -1.0 L filtered room temperature water

9:00 am   200ml Berry juice – pure blueberry or cranberry (no sugar)

11:00 am 200ml Herbal tea: dandelion leaf, chamomile, steep together 20 minutes.

1:00 pm   200ml Carrot juice, fresh squeezed

3:00pm   200ml Carrot juice, fresh squeezed

5:00pm  200ml Vegetable stock, 200ml Green juice (ie. wheatgrass or nettle)

7:00pm  200ml Berry juice- pure blueberry or cranberry (no sugar)

  • Homeopathy:

dulcamara

Rhus tox.

sulfur

arsen alb.

graphites

petroleum & psorinum must be taken alone, not with other therapies

  • Ayuveda: herbal mixture with kutki 200mg, manjista 300mg, tumeric 200 mg, neem 200mg. One teaspoon 2 times per day after lunch and dinner. Neem – apply externally to skin. No salt, sugar, or yogurt.
  • Biofeedback with guided imagery, relaxation
  • Reflexology: diaphragm, liver, kidneys, intestines, adrenals, all glands, thyroid
  • Topical: evening primrose oil to cracks, sores, especially folds of the elbows, behind the knees, helpful for healing.

Aloe Vera – fresh plant on eczema for healing

Neem - topical application to eczema

Colloidal oatmeal, virgin coconut oil, shea butter lotion, virgin olive oil

Zinc Oxide also relieves severe itching, but does not cure eczema.

Mix equal parts lemon juice + olive or almond oil and apply on the skin and ingest.

Turmeric poultice may relieve symptoms but will stain the skin yellow

 

Eczema Treatment Oils

1. Dry Eczema Treatment Oil Blend

-Melt 10g shea butter

-Add 30ml Thistle Oil, 10ml Borage Oil, 10ml Chickweed Macerated Oil, 10ml Jojoba Oil, 8ml Rosehip oil, 20 ml/g Vitamin E undiluted, 2ml Vitamin A palmitate

-Add 15 drops of any of the following essential oil: lavender, sandalwood, roman or moraccan chamomile, geranium, orange, bergamot.

2. Wet Eczema Oil Treatment Blend

-20ml Borage Oil, 20ml Rosehip, 20ml Jooba, 10ml Thistle, 10ml Chickweed Macerated, 18ml/g Vitamin E undiluted, 2ml Vitamin A palmitate

-Add 15 drops of any of the following essential oil: lavender, sandalwood, roman or moraccan chamomile, geranium, orange, bergamot.

 

Herbs

  1. Cleavers, nettle, yellowdock, red clover
  2. Combine #1 with relaxing herbs like chamomile, linden flowers, skullcap
  3. Infuse equal parts of cleavers, nettle, chamomile and drink as infusion 3 times per day
  4. Stronger combination: equal parts tinctures of figwort, burdock, cleavers; take 1 teaspoon 3 times per day
  5. Itch Relief: lukewarm or cold bathe with chickweed infusion, kelp & bentonite clay, colloidal oatmeal bathes
  6. External application- goldenseal
  7. Calendula salve for cracked, dry, painful skin
  8. Turmeric Tea – itch relief, powerful anti-inflammatory, Camomile tea will calm itching skin and may be used externally by placing leaves over the eczema.

These therapies should be conducted by a qualified health professional:

  • Acupuncture
  • Environmental Medicine
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Magnetic Field Therapy
  • UV Therapy, laser light therapy
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Orthomolecular Medicine
  • Osteopathy
  • Detoxification – unless a person is weakened or deficient
  • Oxygen Therapy – Hydrogen peroxide therapy IV
  • Ionic detox foot bath

 

 

 

Article written by Lisa Chau, M.Sc., writer for Chiropractor.com