Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin, that is both very uncomfortable and visually unattractive.
The biggest problem with Eczema is that many doctors and dermatologists tend to focus on 'band-aid' solutions such as prescription medications and topical creams, rather than focussing on the lifestyle changes needed to address the true cause of the condition and avoid reoccurrence.
Here, we highlight the most common causes of Eczema and recommend five ways that this uncomfortable skin condition can be treated naturally without synthetic medications.
What Causes Eczema
The most main causes of Eczema, in fact any ongoing inflammatory skin condition, can usually be attributed to a poor diet, the use of chemical skin care and personal care products, excess stress, anxiety and a lack of water and sunshine.
The main signs of what is medically known as Eczema, encompasses a range of symptoms, from itchy to scaly skin, redness, blotches, cracked skin and more.
Unfortunately, the main treatment for eczema is usually prescribed topical creams or medication. Whilst these methods will temporarily suppress the symptoms, they don't get to the underlying cause of the skin inflammation and can actually add to the level of toxicity inside the body, prolonging the condition over the longer term.
The good news is that as uncomfortable as eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions may be, they are completely preventable and even treatable in the vast majority of cases by following the 7 principles of health - that is by embracing the fundamentals of health which are clean Air, Water, Sunshine, Walking, Whole foods, Happy Relationships and Passion.
In addition, there are particular steps you can follow which will go a long way to healing Eczema naturally and avoiding it in the first place, such as those we'll share with you here now...
1. Get More Sunshine
Responsible exposure to natural sunshine is one of the best things you can do to heal inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema.
Sunlight is loaded with Vitamin D which is crucial for detoxifying the body and nourishing the skin provided you don't over do it.
In addition, sunlight stimulates emotional molecules of happiness and joy in the brain, which is crucial for easing anxiety, stress and boosting your mood.
When it comes to sunshine, being responsible generally means choosing the less intense times of the day (in the morning before noon) to get your daily dose of sunlight. This way, you won't over do it and burn or cause unnecessary damage to your skin.
By exposing your face and body to sunlight for 20-30 minutes in the morning, you'll give your skin the nourishment it needs without the harmful effects.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes that eczema sufferers make, is that they avoid sunshine altogether and wonder why their skin never improves or restores a healthy glow.
Keep in mind also that it's important to avoid commercial sunscreen products which are laden with harmful chemicals. These will only compound the toxicity your body is already dealing with, which is actually causing the eczema or scaly, inflamed skin in the first place!
Instead, if you are going to apply some type of sun protection to your skin prior to getting out into the sun, choose plant oils with naturally occurring SPF factors such as cold pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, raspberry seed oil or our handcrafted Sun Loves Me product available in our store.
For more on sunscreen, read our blog Does sunscreen really prevent or cause skin cancer?
2. Use A Chemical-Free Daily Moisturiser
Dry skin is usually unnourished skin....and over time this can easily lead to flakiness and eczema flare-ups.
This is why a high quality, chemical-free moisturiser is important each day to replenish, hydrate and nourish your skin and to keep it soft, supple and in great condition.
It's best to apply moisturiser morning and night to both your face and body after showering. Additionally, if you have days of prolonged exposure to sunshine, feeding your skin with a natural moisturiser will help to restore the skin and avoid the after-sun affects such as sunburn or peeling.
There is one natural product you should definitely keep front of mind when it comes to avoiding and healing inflamed skin - and that is raw coconut oil.
Raw coconut oil is a versatile natural moisturiser that works wonders for any type of skin inflammation because of its potent antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
Also, it's good to remember that coconuts thrive in tropical climates for a reason, interestingly, where inflammatory skin conditions are very rare. Mother nature made coconuts and sunlight to be best friends - and as a combination they're extremely nourishing for your skin!
Raw, cold-pressed coconut oil is completely free of additives, chemicals and harsh synthetic fragrances and is also very rich and soothing for the body and skin.
Plus, it’s a lot more cost-efficient than buying bottles of expensive lotions and potions which may temporarily make a difference, but ultimately will do little to heal eczema and inflammatory skin conditions over the long term.
If you find that straight coconut oil is too oily for your skin, instead choose a natural moisturiser such as our plant-based Divine Body Butter or Nourish Daily Moisturiser available in our store.
Also, if you have skin that is particularly red, cracked or extra inflamed in certain spots, you should also consider our anti-inflammatory, aloe vera skin gel, Skin's Love Potion, which is useful for soothing a variety of skin reactions and concerns.
3. Soak In Ocean Water or Salt Baths
Salt is one is one nature's true healing compounds.
Rich in minerals like sodium and iodine which are effective in removing toxins and bacteria from beneath the skin's surface, salt is a vital nutrient when it comes to easing eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Ocean water is a known antiseptic, which means it is very beneficial for killing off bad bacteria on the skin. Even a 5-10 minute soak or splash in the ocean can work wonders for speeding up the healing process, particularly when combined with a little sunlight exposure as well.
If you can't access the ocean where you live or during the winter time, the next best thing to do is a salt bath soak 2-3 times per week. Natural salts such as Himalayan Pink Salt and Epsom Salts are loaded with minerals like sodium, magnesium and iodine, known for their ability to draw out toxicity from beneath the skin's surface that leads to inflamed skin.
Dissolve 1-2 cups of salt in a luke-warm, running water bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. Add 5-10 drops of pure Lavender Essential Oil, which is a known remedy for soothing irritated skin.
Be sure to use a quality nature-made salt. If you want to take things one step further, you can Bentonite clay to the your bath which is a natural chelator which further promotes the extraction of toxins from the body.
Learn more in our blog Relieve Stress & Inflammation with “Detox Baths”.
4. Eat A Clean Diet
You are what you eat, which means what your diet has a big impact on that appearance of your body's largest organ, your skin!
The first step is to a clean diet is making the majority of the food you eat, local, seasonal produce that is unprocessed.
A diet rich in fresh fruits, salads, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains will give your your body the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and natural fibres it needs to help flush out toxins and ensure you're not deficient in vital nutrients.
Secondly, it is very important to drastically limit refined sugars and grain products, industrial seed oils, factory-farmed dairy, processed meats, fatty take-away foods, packaged chemical foods and frozen foods. All of these will greatly impact the quality of your skin.
If you have signs of eczema or constantly inflamed skin, it can be a good idea to do a colon cleanse to clear out the toxicity and residue stored in the digest tract. To help with this, try our handcrafted Cleanse Me Natural Clay & Fibre Cleanse product available in our store.
In addition, it's important to get plenty of good, healthy fats into your diet from foods such as avocados, walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds and extra virgin olive oil to provide vital nutrients to the skin.
Probiotics can also be helpful for skin conditions like eczema because they address any bacterial imbalances in the gut and help support a strong immune system, which is crucial for avoiding any type of skin dis-ease.
Probiotics are naturally occurring in foods like organic yogurt, cheeses, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha.
Finally, be sure to drink a minimum of 2 litres of clean water every single day, which will help to flush out unwanted toxins within the body and keep your skin hydrated.
You can learn more about the importance of diet to your skin in our blog Why Diet is A Key to Glowing Skin.
5. Reduce Stress
While it’s important to treat the physical condition of eczema, it’s equally important to pay attention to the psychological causes as well.
Stress and anxiety can trigger flare-ups of eczema because they cause imbalances in the body which can impact your gut health, sleep patterns, mood and natural body cycles.
This means it is really important to have a holistic approach to your wellness, by managing some of the intangible factors that can cause skin flare ups like eczema.
The first step is to identify the source of the most stress or anxiety in your life and then to take steps to reduce it.
Whether it be your work, relationships or finances, the way you manage sources of stress has a big impact on how your body reacts and is able to find balance.
Regular exercise, eight hours of sleep per night, connecting with nature often and deep breathing and meditation should all be prioritised because of the powers these activities have in reducing stress.
Remember also to identify and practice things you are passionate about at least once per week. It could be playing a musical instrument, cooking, writing, hiking or creating an online course - any hobby or activity that lights you up can do wonders for alleviating stress, which in turn will help to ease the inflammatory response of your body and skin.
The Main Take Away
Eczema and ongoing inflammatory skin conditions, such as red, scaly or flaky skin can stop you in your tracks if you don't know how to reverse the problem.
Whilst the medical approach of chemical topical creams and pharmaceuticals can be useful in reducing eczema symptoms in the short term, unless you address the underlying cause you'll never truly heal the condition.
Thankfully, nature gives us access to some amazing tools that help support your skin health and for treating conditions like Eczema. The key is to be conscious of these tools and to embrace them if you want to avoid problem skin.
Follow the tips shared with you here and you'll go a long way to avoiding eczema and inflammatory skin conditions. Or better still, you'll know exactly what to do the next time you or someone you love, experiences eczema or unwanted skin flare ups.
You can learn more about taking care of your skin naturally in our blog; Acne & Skin Problems: 4 Keys To Healing without Chemical Topical Creams.
Tolman Self Care.