Natural ways to ease eczema

Eczema can be uncomfortable to live with – these small changes may offer some relief

Go with your gut

Eczema is an inflammatory condition and it’s thought having too many ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut may increase inflammation in the body. One study found that some types of bacteria were more abundant in infants with eczema and some in those without.

A healthy immune system needs a wide range of good bacteria, and you can find these naturally occurring in fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh and miso. These foods give your gut an injection of live micro-organisms that will crowd out the unhealthy bacteria, boost mineral absorption and improve your body’s overall health.

Other foods that are great for your gut include Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, leeks, onions, bananas and polenta. So tuck in!

Spice up your life

Turmeric is an herbal Ayurvedic remedy that has been proven to lessen eczema symptoms. Several studies have shown a significant improvement in the severity of the effects of skin disease in people treated with turmeric . One 2015 study from Pakistan found that topical formulations containing turmeric eased itchiness, swelling and redness in eczema patients.

Turmeric can be taken in powder, capsule or tablet forms and even in tea, and of course you can use turmeric as a delicious spice for your food. Daily doses of 3 to 4g have been used in eczema research studies, with positive results.

Handpicked article: Four turmeric tricks for your skin

Get some fat-isfaction

People with eczema often have significantly lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their systems. Increasing omega-3 in the diet can help reduce inflammation in the body and significantly improve the symptoms of itchy skin.

Boost meals with nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, ground linseed and hemp seeds and oily fish..

Vitamin E

As well as helping protect your cells against free radicals, vitamin E plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system. In a study of schoolchildren, those with the highest level of vitamin E-related compounds in their blood experienced 67 per cent less risk of eczema and asthma than children with the lowest levels.

Wheatgerm oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnut and sunflower oil and pine nuts are all great sources of vitamin E, so add these skin soothers to your diet.

The sweet stuff

When pathogenic bacteria penetrates the skin, eczema can develop. The naturally strong antimicrobial elements of Manuka honey can help kill off these unwanted organisms, in turn reducing itching and infection. As well as being useful applied topically, in a mixture of equal amounts of honey, beeswax and olive oil, Manuka honey can be hugely beneficial taken internally. Its antibacterial properties help to reduce inflammation, which in turn can help the body heal itself, also reducing the symptoms of eczema.

A soothing bath

Sometimes, you need to take it back to basics. If you have tried everything but are still coming up cracked, then have a go at an Oatmeal soak. This doesn’t actually involve immersing yourself in a giant tub of porridge but it does work by draining the goodness out of the oats to instantly soothe and moisturise your skin. Tie a cup of oats into a muslin cloth and pop into the bath. Bathe in the milky water for 15 minutes to feel the full effects.

Eliminate allergens

Could an allergic reaction be what’s causing your eczema? Foods such as milk, peanuts, fish, soy, eggs, wheat, citrus and gluten have all been known to trigger symptoms. Try eliminating each food for around a month, then slowly reintroducing it, to see how your eczema reacts.

Handpicked article: What is eczema?

Sources

www.journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0009964#s2
www.nationaleczema.org/leaky-gut/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5094743/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26639477
www.pcrm.org/media/online/sept2014/seven-foods-to-supercharge-your-gut-bacteria
www.livestrong.com/article/389854-turmeric-for-eczema/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15022655
www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/why-turmeric-beats-many-steroidal-medications-hands-down
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18639521
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213821
www.what-is-eczema.com/licorice-root-extract.html
www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/itchy-skin-omega-3-fatty-acids-help/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755091/
www.livestrong.com/article/496789-vitamin-e-for-eczema/

Skin Health