Eczema affects around 1% of the population, and symptoms vary from mild itching to severe inflammation and flaking of the skin. Eczema can also be embarrassing, as it tends to appear on the face and chest (although it can break out on other areas of the body, including the elbows, knees and back). Food allergies and stress can cause or exacerbate the condition. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to treat.
The mainstream approach to treating eczema usually includes cortisone and antibiotics. It’s wise to avoid antibiotics and cortisone whenever viable natural alternatives are available.
If you want to avoid mainstream treatments, there are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes you can make. Here are some suggestions for how to treat eczema the natural way:
- As unpleasant as this phase of your treatment for eczema may be, it is also the most important. Start with an elimination diet to test for certain foodstuffs, for example tomatoes. Eat ample amounts of tomatoes for a week to ten days, and monitor your skin closely. Then discontinue eating tomatoes for a week to ten days. If your skin shows a marked improvement, tomatoes may be causing or worsening your eczema. If there is no change, move on to the next item, such as wheat. Common allergens (ingredients that cause an allergic reaction) include: shellfish, cows' milk products (cheese, ice-cream, chocolate, etc.) eggs, soy, peanuts, wheat and even sugar.
- Another natural treatment for eczema involves different types of oils. Natural oils have anti-inflammatory properties and are particularly good for the skin. Visit your local health store and pick up supplements of borage oil, fish oil OR primrose oil. Also increase your intake of Omega-6 rich foods, like olive oil, walnuts and oily fish, such as sardines and salmon.
- Reducing stress in your life has benefits beyond treating eczema, but it's easier said than done. Skin treatments through this method are challenging. Give yoga or meditation a try. One session of yoga a week can make a phenomenal difference to your mental state. If you find yourself stressing out because of bad traffic, change the radio from the rock channel to classical music. Get an iPod and load it with some of your favorite low-key music. Use it while you walk for 20 minutes in the evening after work, or while you work out at the gym. If you make de-stressing a priority in your life, you'll see the difference in your skin.
- Adding different supplements to your diet are considered natural remedies for eczema. Take zinc supplements (15mg per day). It plays an important role in both skin and hair health. Many people suffer a zinc deficiency because it's hard to get sufficient zinc in your diet. You should see a marked difference in your skin's condition within 1 - 2 months.
- Some of the more simple treatments for eczema involve your daily shower vs. bath routine. Simply said, shower rather than bathe. If you do bathe, make sure the water is not too hot, and make it as quick as you can.
- The next eczema natural treatment is paying attention to the fabric from which your clothes and bedding are made. Wear cotton pajamas and sleep between cotton sheets. In severe cases, you can try wearing gloves / socks on your hands at night, to prevent you from scratching your skin raw.
- Go outside and expose your skin to fresh air and sunshine - for SHORT periods of time. This is one of the eczema remedies that is simple if you don't overdo it and get burned; then you will have a whole new set of skin problems. In one study, a small amount of UV treatment helped 80% of people with skin conditions.
There is no cure-all for eczema, but a lot can be done to control the condition. Commit to the strategies above, and you'll soon see a difference.