Eczema is a prevalent inflammatory condition of the skin. There are a few different types; atopic dermatitis being the most common. It is characterized by red, itchy, scaly, reoccurring patches that may ooze or bleed. Many cases often have concomitant asthma and/or seasonal allergies. There are many factors that aggravate the condition, however, a sole cause is unknown. Irritants include, abrasive materials; such as wool, chemical fragrances in topical creams, soaps, rapid extreme changes in weather, and existing dry skin.
Medical treatments typically involve topical corticosteroid creams, antibiotics, antihistamines, immunosuppressants, and topical immunomodulators. Most commonly prescribed are topical corticosteroid creams, which long term use can cause thinning of the skin, fungal and bacterial infections, and increased risk of osteoporosis.
Naturopathic approaches include identifying the underlying root causes and addressing those. Once those are established, barriers to healing are removed and targeted treatments are used. One major connection to eczema, even recognized by the medical community, is the correlation between certain food allergies and the worsening of eczema symptoms. Foods known to cause issues include; eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, and coffee. Eliminating these foods, as well as other person-specific allergies, are a key element in treating the underlying inflammatory condition. When it comes to food allergies, there is generally a barrier issue within the gastrointestinal system. Large particles are passing through into the blood stream, that wouldn’t normally under healthy conditions. That is where digestive enzymes can assist in breaking down foods that the body currently is not. Anothing key to treating the compromised intestinal barrier is via probiotics. They are key to modulating the immune system, as 70% of more of our immune system resides in the gastrointestinal system.
The Hormonal Connection
There is also a hormonal connection with eczema, whereby an imbalance has been associated with the development of, or worsening of symtoms. Whenever hormonal imbalances are concerned, great care of the liver must be given, as it is the main disseminator of our hormones. There are many natural treatments to generate proper production and elimination of hormones via the liver and other organ systems.
Naturopathic medicine offers treatments in the form of botanical herbs; which aim to detoxify the skin via the liver, kidneys, and intestines, homeopathy; which helps to detoxify the cells and surrounding matrix, and nutritional supplements. Vitamin A is essential in maximizing the cell turnover rate, and zinc is important in the healing of skin. Lastly, essential fatty acids are very beneficial in the treatment of eczema due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties and the moisturizing effects it has on the skin from an internal basis.
When it comes to treating eczema, avoiding food allergies is key, next is detoxifying the body, and finally, further adding nutrients to augment the healing process. There are many different naturopathic treatment options for eczema. Learn more from your ND.