Eczema

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eczemaEczema, psoriasis, pruritis

Description:
There are over 3,000 diseases which affect the skin, which is beyond the scope of these notes. However there are a number of treatments and lifestyle changes which can make a substantial improvement. Dermatitis just means inflamed skin.

Eczema is an allergic form of dermatitis, in almost all cases is caused as an allergic response to exposure of something, on the skin, inhaled or eaten.

What your doctor can do -

  • Make the diagnosis by looking at the skin lesions and perhaps asking for the opinion of a dermatologist. Knowing what the disease is is important, as some may be allergic, some caused by the sun or contact and others may have an infectious cause.
  • Biopsy - occasionally a small area of the affected skin is removed usually with a punch biopsy, and it is examined under a microscope to make the diagnosis.
  • Creams - to sooth the skin, irritation or itch, and to make it smoother
  • Anti-inflammatory creams and ointments (hydrocortisone or other steroid lotions) are frequently prescribed. these frequently remove many of the symptoms, but remember they can weaken the skin and can cause long term skin problems. .
  • Anti-infective creams or antibiotics - if the lesion is due to a fungus or bacteria

What you can do:

Lifestyle -

  • Smoking - has been shown to cause premature skin ageing and wrinkles, it weakens the skin and so is likely to aggravate any skin condition. So for many reasons as well as these - STOP
  • Stress - stress itself can cause rashes, and emotional stress can often trigger allergic diseases. Stress, anxiety and depression can all worsen skin symptoms, so if these can be addressed - do.
  • Sunlight - can help some skin conditions and others can be made worse, Certainly excessive sun exposure should be avoided, and probably the major benefit of sun is the production of Vitamin d which can be taken as a supplement - see below.
  • Contact allergies - if the rash is in localised areas, check that there is not some regular exposure to a watch, jewelry cosmetics etc. Use preservative and chemical free washing products and also detergents for washing clothes.
  • Food sensitivity - if the rash comes and goes, fill in a food diary and check the diet in the preceding days and see if there is any common factor. It can be almost any food from fish, shellfish, herbs and spices, even sometimes fruits and vegetables.
  • Sauna - sometimes an infra red sauna can help flush toxins out of the skin.
  • Elimination diet - it is worth stopping gluten, dairy, eggs and peanuts for a while and see if this makes any difference. If it helps, then gradually reintroduce them one at a time to discover the offending food.
  • Protect the gut - much of the immune system is in the gut lining and many allergic and immune problems can start here.   Bad bacteria, leaky gut allowing large food molecules to enter the blood stream and poor absorption can all worsen allergies.  Plenty of fruits and vegetables, bone broth, sprouts and a good simple diet avoid gluten.  Supplements include  probiotics, omega 3 fish oils, a good multi and digestive enzymes.

Nutritional supplements -

  • Multivitamin & multimineral - a good multi tablet ensures that the skin has all the nutrients required for it to function as well as it can. If you look up the side effects of almost every vitamin and many minerals, dermatitis is high on the list. So a good comprehensive multi is essential. A good multi should have sufficient vitamin E (200-400mg) which can help protect the skin, and should also have a protective amount of zinc.
  • Vitamin C - is essential for collagen and fibre production, helps protect against free radicals (caused by ultraviolet light and others) and is probably helps protect the skin. I would recommend people with skin problems take 1 - 2 grams of vitamin c daily.
  • Vitamin D - this is probably very important in nearly all skin conditions. It has many actions and most people with skin conditions should be taking between 4 and 8,000 iu daily.
  • Fish oils - while there is not a lot of evidence that these can help skin conditions, many people swear that their skin is softer and smoother when they take them. Fish oils benefit many other conditions, and I would suggest taking 1 - 2 grams of a good mercury free fish oil daily.
  • Flavanoids - grapeseed extracts and other flavanoids have powerful anti-inflammatory actions, and if there is a lot of inflammation or allergy associated with the skin condition, it would be worth trying a flavanoid supplement.
  • Probiotics - cleansing the bowel and replacing the good bacteria which are often killed by antibiotics and some foods can allow the gut walls to heal. An unhealthy gut can let larger molecules of food through (leaky gut), and these large molecules can frequently cause allergic illnesses and rashes. Take a good probiotic daily for a few days then probably weekly.

The Nutritional supplements I use and recommend to my patients

For my Eczema patients I recommend -

USANA - * Cellsentials, Biomega, Active Calcium plus, Proflavanol C, Probiotics and vitamin D -

Other therapies

There are a number of other therapies which you might like to look at.  They have not been specifically included with this disease because some are a form of treatment which is applicable to most diseases and many focus on the mind, body, spirit, and the universe. These include - acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, energy healing, homeopathy, naturopathy, prayer, visualisation and some people with this condition might like to look at these topics (I have described them more fully on another page on this website click here .) With my personal experience and reading, I do not think that I can comment of whether one or a number of these might help.    They fit well with most conventional and complementary treatments and I suspect some or even all of them can be extremely powerful - if performed by an experienced practitioner.    My only caveat is that if in the course of one of these therapies, you are given potions or herbs, do check with your health practitioner that they will not interfere with other treatments or drugs you are receiving.

Nutritional supplements

I believe in today's world that nutritional supplements are so necessary as to be an essential component of any form of both prevention and treatment. Not only is today's food lacking in nutrients because of the way it was grown and processed, but also most of us make the wrong choices in diet. It is virtually impossible to obtain optimal levels of most of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients although many people try to do so, and even then fresh produce is not available all year round. *There are many quality supplements available on the market, including –Thorne, NFS, Douglas Labs, Xtend Life, True Star Health, USANA, and Metagenics. There are others, but do your due diligence before choosing one. USANA Health Sciences has added a new adjunct to its multivitamin and multi mineral called CellSentials. These are a patented blend of phyto-nutrients which they believe affects cell signaling and growth, and increases the production of preventative antioxidants within the cell. These should add to the value of the multi, so these are the multivitamin/mineral preparation I recommend.