Eczema is a common chronic condition that affects over 30 million U.S. Americans alone. There are several types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis. Each eczema type may present with a unique set of symptoms ranging from inflamed skin to oozing scabs.
Atopic dermatitis also is known as AD is the most common form of eczema. The condition is also prevalent in children with about 3.2 million children suffering from AD. As if suffering from itchy and inflamed skin alone wasn’t enough of annoyance. The disease has been known to affect the way people view their appearance, their jobs, daily activities and even the clothes they wear.
Some people with eczema report that they are embarrassed to expose their skin in warmer months, especially their arms and legs due to the embarrassment. In fact, one-third of adults who suffer from AD report they are often or always angry or even embarrassed about their appearance. Even more so, half of the people who suffer from AD are almost always frustrated in general with their condition.
Although eczema can be incredibly frustrating, there are ways to keep skin calm. No one wants to feel embarrassed about the way they look and they shouldn't have to. Let’s look into what eczema is with some quick facts. Also, let’s discover some top-notch foods to incorporate into your diet as well as some natural oils you can use that may help keep your eczema at bay.
What is Eczema
Eczema is not a contagious disease. To state it simply, eczema is a condition where skin patches become inflamed and itchy. The skin may crack and is rough to the touch. Atopic Dermatitis as we stated is the most popular type. Atopic refers to a collection of diseases that involve the immune system. This includes atopic dermatitis, asthma and hayfever. Dermatitis refers to skin inflammation. The general character traits of eczema are:
Dark Colored or Red Patches of Inflamed Skin
Crusting and Oozing
Those who suffer from eczema may have periods in their life where their skin condition is under control and then they experience a flare-up leaving their skin red and inflamed. Eczema has many triggers. Food allergies, fabrics like wool, fragrances, extreme weather changes, dust and animal hair can all contribute to eczema flare-ups.
Eczema and Diet
Research dictates that infants may be less likely to develop eczema if the mom steers clear of cow’s milk while pregnant and takes probiotics. Common food allergies for eczema sufferers are:
Although these foods are eczema triggers for some, that does not mean that they cause eczema. These foods may simply trigger flare-ups if you already have the condition.
Foods that Decrease Flare-ups
Increasing your omega-3 fatty acid intake may help. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to provide anti-inflammatory support. It’s recommended to take at least 250 grams of omega 3 fatty acids daily. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from sea buckthorn seed oil supplements and fatty fish like salmon.
Eating Foods that are high in quercetin may also help. Quercetin has powerful antioxidants and antihistamines that may reduce inflammation. These foods are apples, blueberries, cherries, spinach and kale. Also, adding probiotics to your diet may be beneficial. Foods rich with probiotics include sourdough, miso soup and soft cheeses like gouda.
Oils for Eczema
Over the counter creams, ointments and lotions may keep symptoms under control. Or prescribed topical steroids and creams may help. But in many cases steroids eventually thin the skin, leaving eczema sufferers looking for more natural topical solutions. Natural oils have a history of reducing stress while providing anti-inflammatory support. Even so, it's always best to consult your physician or dermatologist but let's examine how natural oils may help.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Although not an essential oil, there is evidence that suggests coconut oil soothes and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Coconut oil can be used not only on the skin but on the scalp hair and nails. It's best to seal in coconut oil with a fragrance free cream or lotion.
Lavender essential oil may help reduce inflammation and restore your skin’s balance. Dermatologists say it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is recommended to use with a carrier oil or to add a few drops to your bath water.
According to research, due to anti-inflammatory effects, eucalyptus oil is effective for wound healing and skin infections. It’s suggested to dilute the oil with a carrier oil and massage it on the patches in a circular motion. Also, it’s important to ensure the oil you purchase does not contain any fillers or additives.
People who have eczema generally do not have to ability to produce or maintain barriers in the skin. Jojoba oil is nutrient dense and if it’s made without additives and parabens can be a great natural skin conditioner. It seals in moisture and can form an effective barrier for your skin. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties
Because essential oils are so potent they should be diluted with a carrier oil. Sunflower oil is great for this purpose alone. But it’s also rich in vitamins A, C and E. It restores lost moisture and is soothing to the skin while reducing inflammation.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Studies suggest sea buckthorn may be beneficial for eczema by reducing the thickness or scabs while healing skin wounds. Sea buckthorn overall promotes healthy skin. Researchers believe these beneficial effects stem from the omega-7 and omega-3 fat content inside of sea buckthorn oil. Evidence also suggests that sea buckthorn may prevent skin dryness. Sea buckthorn can be used alone or mixed with other oils, creams and lotions. SeabuckWonders’ Seed Oil and Berry Oil supports healthy inflammation response and promotes skin health. It contains omega-3 and 7 which is what research believes help eczema. It also has powerful antioxidants.
The Take Away
Eczema is a condition that affects millions of people. It can have a serious psychological effect but it can be tamed with the right methods. Changing your diet and applying the right topical treatments may keep your eczema calm allowing you to bare your skin with confidence. Some people grow out of eczema once they enter adulthood. But a large portion of suffers will experience flare-ups their entire lives.
Angela Rightout is an enthusiastic, innovative writer with extensive experience in content writing, journalism, videography and social media. She earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Loyola University Chicago. She is passionate about well-researched content.
Angela enjoys writing on a broad range of topics from health and wellness to food, technology, entertainment and news.