Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition. These recurring skin rashes may include one or more of these symptoms: redness, swelling, itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding.
The rash of eczema is different for each person. It may even look different or affect different parts of your body from time to time. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. Diagnosis of eczema is based mostly on the history and physical examination. However, in uncertain cases, skin biopsy by a doctor may be useful.
Causes of Eczema
The exact causes of eczema are unknown. You might have inherited a tendency for this skin condition. Many doctors think eczema causes are linked to allergic disease, such as hay fever or asthma. Atopic eczema can sometimes be caused by food allergens. Food allergies associated with the condition are typically: dairy; wheat; eggs; nuts/seeds; soy. Other triggers may include household irritants, microbes, extreme temperatures, stress, or hormones.
Healthy Treatment Options
There is no known cure for eczema. Treatment is directed by reducing inflammation and relieving itching. If you have eczema, it is important to take good care of your skin. Take warm (not hot!) baths on a regular basis and immediately apply moisturizers, such as coconut oil to help keep your skin moist. Prescription medications or topical steroid creams are sometimes used for relieving itching. Eliminating food allergens from the diet is also important for preventing occurrences.
Supporting eczema naturally with supplementation
There are a number of supplements that may help with eczema. Incorporate these supplements today to support your skin health naturally!
- Vitamin D supplementation, though still a bit controversial, is quickly becoming more mainstream as studies show both that supplementing vitamin D can help eczema, and that more severe cases are correlated with lower levels of vitamin D.
- Probiotics may boost the immune system and control allergies, especially in children. Incorporating healthy bacteria makes sense given there is clearly disrupted bacteria both on the skin and in the gut of patients with eczema.
- Evening primrose oil helps reduce the itching of eczema in some studies. People who take anticoagulants (blood thinners) should talk to their doctor before taking evening primrose oil.
- Fish oil supplements equal to 1.8 g of EPA (one of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil) provide a significant reduction in symptoms of eczema after 12 weeks in one study. Researchers think that may be because fish oil helps reduce leukotriene B4, an inflammatory substance that plays a role in eczema. Talk to your healthcare practitioner before taking fish oil if you are taking any blood-thinning medications, and before taking a high dose.
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