Eczema: 5 Natural Tips for Clearer Skin
Have you or your loved one suffered from eczema for far too long? Are you a parent that has tried everything to help ease the discomfort of itching for your child? Naturopathic medicine offers excellent natural approaches to experiencing clearer and less inflamed skin. Take a look below for 5 natural tips for combating eczema from the inside out.
Tip 1: Support your liver
Liver support is important for all of us, but it is critical for maintaining healthy skin and reducing eczema. The liver is one of your organs of elimination. By being an organ of elimination, the liver has the task of processing medications, supplements, environmental toxins as well as the by products of foods that we consume on a daily basis.
Consumption of a varied diet that includes adequate amounts of Vitamin A and E has shown to be very useful. Vitamin A is primarily stored in the liver and required for the production of all skin (epidermal) surfaces. When vitamin A levels are low, large amounts of keratin is secreted into the skin, which transforms it from its normally flexible and moist condition into stiff and dry skin. Vitamin E is described as an antioxidant, as it protects fat-soluble substances from free radicals. When it comes to eczema, vitamin E plays an important role in protecting Vitamin A. Garlic, onions, brussel sprouts, carrots, artichokes and legumes are a few foods that can help protect your liver from damage and improve liver function.
Tip 2: Jump-start your digestion
Reduced production of stomach acid, increased constipation and the overgrowth of microbes can encourage or worsen the presence of eczema. A diet high in animal protein and saturated fat over time will lead to the prevalence of digestive flora that is responsible for increased toxin production. This diet can also lead to increased constipation, which further encourages toxin production by allowing food to be stagnant in the colon for longer than typical.
If the liver is not functioning optimally or if the amount of toxin production overwhelms its capabilities, the additional toxins can further promote eczema. Eating or drinking bitters prior to ingesting your meals can help to boost your digestion by increasing the production of hydrochloric acid. Swedish bitters, apple cider vinegar and the herb Oregon grape can be great for supporting your digestion.
Tip 3: Snuff out inflammation
Inflammation that goes unchecked can create a myriad of symptoms. Individuals, who struggle with eczema, tend to have higher levels of inflammation. An imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids can create elevated amounts of inflammation. This increase in inflammation is caused by an increase in pro-inflammatory prostaglandins in the presence of a dominance of omega 6 fatty acids. To reduce inflammation, start by increasing your consumption of cold-water fish (halibut, salmon, sardines, etc.) three days per week, this will increase the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. If you prefer vegetarian sources of omega 3 fatty acids, flaxseed oil can be a great alternative.
Tip 4: Clear up allergies
When eczematous patches are present, it is a sign of an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction can be due to an acute or chronic response. Most individuals who suffer from eczema have had a positive allergy test and may eventually develop hay fever and/or asthma. A person with eczema might be responding to an allergenic food or an environmental toxin. Some of the most common allergens that have been linked to eczema include (but are not limited to) milk, eggs, fish, soy, wheat, citrus, chocolate and peanuts. Environmental toxins that can trigger eczema include soaps, wool clothing, lotions, detergents, plants and topical medications. Keeping a log of when eczema symptoms increase can be a great way to track down and clear up allergies.
Tip 5: Boost your immune system
The immune systems of individuals with eczema tend to be heightened. Mast cells (white blood cells that have a specific immune defense) in individuals that have eczema, tend to release higher amounts of histamine than those who don’t experience eczema. Increased levels of histamine is what causes the intense itching that occurs with eczema. Mast cell stabilizers like quercetin and nettle leaf can be very helpful for decreasing the itching associated with eczema. Vitamins A,C,E, Zinc and Selenium are also excellent immune system supporters that can be utilized to help boost the immune system.
If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your eczema using Naturopathic Medicine, please feel free to reach out at (804) 977-2634.
About the Author:
Micah Allen is a Naturopathic Physician & Licensed Acupuncturist at Richmond Natural Medicine, where she provides a comprehensive yet personalized approach to a plethora of health care concerns. Dr. Allen has an extensive toolbox of natural care options available for her patients that include but are not limited to lifestyle modification, herbal medicine, nutrient repletion, acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine. Dr. Allen’s patients span the entirety of the age and disease process spectrum, from pediatric to geriatric and general wellness to complex chronic disease. Dr. Allen received her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore,Wa. Dr. Allen is board certified through the NCCAOM and is a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM). Dr. Allen is also an adjunct faculty member at South University and an affiliate faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During her downtime, Dr. Allen enjoys yoga, traveling and exploring local museums with her family. Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Allen.