Great question since cold weather season is the time when eczema is more common!
First off, what is eczema? Eczema is a skin disorder that can be associated with asthma or allergies that is characterized by dryness, itching, cracking and sometimes blistering. There is a particular type of eczema that can be blistery and weepy. This usually occurs on the hard surfaces - the elbows, knees, forearms, and also can appear in the folds of the neck, or the back of the knees.
Typically, eczema can be uncomfortable because it's so itchy, and it can be unsightly for those wanting to wear short sleeves.
Doctor's usually treat eczema is with topical steroids like hydrocortizone. There are some natural ways to not only treat eczema, but to minimize your outbreaks to eczema.
The first thing to know is that eczema does get worse during extreme temperatures - both extreme heat and extreme cold. It tends to get worse in extreme cold because that is when the skin gets even drier and in extreme heat, the skin tends to get inflamed. So you mind to be mindful in extreme temperatures and how you treat your skin during those times.
The first principle in eliminating or decreasing the outbreaks of eczema is decreasing inflammation because inflammation is the underlying cause of eczema. You want to avoid foods, stress and things that cause inflammation. One of the most inflammatory foods for asthmatics and eczema sufferers is dairy. I know some you out there who just love cheese, so you want to look at how much dairy you are taking in.
There are other inflammatory foods like fried and greasy foods, your fast foods, and meats that are not organic. Non-organic meats tend to have preservatives, antibiotics, pesticides and hormones. Red meat and pork are harder to digest, so that stress also affects your eczema.
Next, you want to also look at the foods you might be allergic to. It's prudent to have a blood test or a skin test to see if there are particular foods that are causing more inflammation in your body, or that you may be sensitive to or allergic to, like nuts, specific types of beans, spices, or fruits.
The third thing you want to think about is gluten and going gluten free. Gluten, in general, actually binds up the gut and doesn't allow for the proper elimination of toxins. Those unrefined flours and gluten-based foods cause inflammation and can worsen your eczema.
Some natural ways to treat your eczema. First keep your skin moisturized. Avoid petroleum and oils as they have a drying effect, rather than a healing effect on your skin. An alternative? Coconut oil and it's anti-inflammatory, absorbs well into the skin without leaving a filmy residue. After your shower or bath, pat dry (not scrub dry) then immediately put on the coconut oil all over with a little bit extra on the eczema parts. You can also use avocado oil - it's thicker than the coconut oil but it does have anti-inflammatory properties along with omegas, which is a good nutrient for the skin. Combine both for a great moisturizer!
Next, don't turn your water temperature up too high. This will actually irritate the skin more and dry your skin out. Take oatmeal baths because oatmeal is soothing to the skin.
What about Aloe Vera? If you're buying it over the counter, many aloe products contain alcohol which will dry out your eczema even more, so I wouldn't recommend aloe vera (even if it's right from the plant) because it still may burn.
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