Since we covered acne in the last blog, we are sticking with skin and the things that can affect it. Let’s talk about eczema, and a very similar disorder atopic dermatitis. Eczema is an inflammatory skin reaction that occurs due to external or internal agents. Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder linked to a genetic predisposition to forming excess IgE antibodies to antigens. They are mostly referred to together because of the similar disruption that occurs and the manner in which it does. I will be using the term eczema throughout to refer to these conditions. Eczema presents as patches of skin that are inflamed, rough, red, cracked, and itchy. Patches can be dry however they can experience a stage where the rash seeps fluid as well.
Eczema triggers are as follows:
- Foods: Nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, and wheat/gluten are several of the main culprits.
- Irritants: Detergents, shampoos, household cleaners, soap, anything you put on your body that has chemicals in it or highly irritable natural substances.
- Hormones: Changing hormones during a woman’s cycle or pregnancy, or hormonal shifts due to chemical or stress overload on the body.
- Microbes: Bacteria, fungi, or viruses on the skin can cause symptoms.
- Allergens: Pollen, pets, mold, and dust mites can set things off.
- Temperature differential: Hot or cold, variations in humidity, and perspiration can wreak havoc on people.
As you can see from the triggers some of them you do have control over. You may not want to stop eating eggs or nuts, but you can and it will probably help. Keep in mind, if you are having food triggers for any disorder it takes a minimum of 21 days before your body can get out all the markers from those foods to start with a clean slate. So be patient, diligent, and kind with yourself. Also irritants, if you know that you have a houseful of chemicals it’s probably time to shift into a more natural, organic, and healthy way to treat your body. Be aware that chemicals create a burden on your liver and it makes it tough for your body to continue to be healthy when it is overburdened by outside factors. Detoxifying your body from a lifetime of chemicals takes time. Allergens and microbes can be taken care of, to some extent, with good air filters in the home. Granted you cannot stay in your house forever, but they will help. For some balancing hormones may be a long process, depending on your overall health and care you take this could be an area where you need some assistance.
We haven’t addressed stress yet. Although stress is not a direct trigger it does change the internal environment of your body, increasing inflammation, changing chemical components that affect your immune process, and affecting the biomes of your skin and GI tract. This last part can cause disorder and disease in many ways for your body. Thus, decreasing stress is vital, let me say it again, vital to your healing process.
You may be wondering how you treat and take care of this challenging and uncomfortable situation you may find yourself in. The aims of treating these types of skin disorders involve:
- Enhancing immune function (inside and out).
- Assist cleansing tissue, improving metabolic function, and enhancing elimination.
- Improve GI function.
- Provide topical relief, creating an anti-inflammatory effect, and healing tissue.
- Identifying and healing the underlying emotional root of the disorder.
You are going to hear claims of a lot of products that will relieve the symptoms and relief is great. However, what you really need to do is heal the situation that is creating this for you. Non-inflammatory atopic dermatitis has been shown to respond to evening primrose oil. Whereas eczema may be more responsive to nettle leaf, both as topicals. As you are working on the skin you will also need to be focusing on the internal. Improving your digestion through various way, perhaps you have heard of having warm lemon water in the morning or having apple cider vinegar before meals. There are many ways to improve all the areas that need to be addressed in order to overcome this challenge. The emotional causes can be a little more of a challenge, however dealing with them and healing them will bring you the quickest results in your healing journey. Things to think about in regard to the emotional component can vary, however it can relate to how you see yourself, self-esteem, or if things are really getting under your skin.
I recommend speaking to a medical professional in order to address all your needs. And as always, keep in mind there are so many alternative modalities that can assist you with making the necessary changes: Acupuncture, Guided Imagery, Nutritional Counseling, Infrared Sauna, and herbal therapy are just a few.
Best of luck to you in your healing journey,