Eczema is one of the body’s last cries for help. It is desperately trying to expel toxins from the body, that it has not been able to do so through other means. It is related to chronic inflammation of the gut and liver and has much less to do with dry weather and ‘thin skin’ than most fact sheets let on.
So what could be causing it? A food that the body does not digest well will certainly have the body in turmoil. A food sensitivity will tend to produce inflammation inside the body and may present as either an allergic reaction or simply nothing external, at first glance. The body may try to cope with this inflammation via eczema, particularly if the liver is functioning poorly.
Chemicals are another cause of eczema. This may be from external contact such as soaps, chlorine and detergents and also sunscreen. It may also be from chemicals that the digestive system is exposed to, such as non-organic foods, food additives and even overuse of medications such as steroid creams and antibiotics. Yes, the very products doctors are prescribing to ‘bandaid’ the effects of eczema!
Besides food and chemicals, stress can be another cause. Elevated cortisol in the body can literally produce holes in the intestinal lining, allowing undigested food, yeast and other toxins through, again producing inflammation in the body.
What can I do about eczema? If you aim to get to the root of the problem, try not to turn immediately to steroid creams and ‘dry skin’ products like QV bath oil or Alpha Keri Wash. These ‘dry skin’ products are still made by pharmaceutical companies, with less-than-natural ingredients such as paraffin, petroleum jelly and parabens (known carcinogens), sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS – a dangerous chemical), triclosan (a pesticide) and a host of other chemicals.
The more detoxifying your child’s body has to do, the more their liver is overloaded and the more likely their body will be forced to excrete these wastes through the skin, as eczema.
To be proactive, you will need to consider either first removing potential culprit foods, at least for an elimination test or turning to natural products, to reduce the body’s toxic load from chemicals. In the meantime, consuming Omega 3 and 6 oils, in the form of say fish/krill oil, flaxseed/linseed oil, avocado, cold-pressed olive oil and organic nuts such as walnuts are extremely important for those suffering from eczema. Probiotics, to support gut health, have also shown great improvement.
What are the best natural skin products? Coconut oil is the best product you can use! It can be used as a soap, a moisturiser, an antifungal/viral/microbial first aid cream and a bath oil. It is even an ideal toothpaste (Natural toothpaste recipe) as it kills off the germs and remineralises teeth at the same time.
Natural sunscreens do exist. You just need to visit your local health food store to find them. Interestingly, studies have shown how sunlight can improve eczema.
How do I determine the culprit food? This is a tricky one as eczema may not show up immediately after consuming an inflaming food. Go with your gut. What foods do you think are the worst offenders for your child? Start by doing a 3 week elimination test of this food group and then watching closely as you introduce it back in. Once the body has had a break from this irritating food, it will gain strength and give a much clearer signal of distress when you add it back in.
For those wanting less guesswork, you can seek out an IgG blood test to determine foods your child may be intolerant to, an IgE skin prick test to look at allergies, or using kinesiology to test how the body copes with the main allergens, with simple, pain-free muscle testing.
Is it easier to just ‘bandaid’ the cause? Initially, it definitely seems easier to ignore eczema by using creams and dry skin products. It is easy to blame the weather or put it down to ‘no known cause’. However, eczema visible to our eyes means chronic inflammation on the inside of the body. Research is showing chronic inflammation is the start of all diseases and even cancer, later in life. It is linked to auto-immune disorders such as asthma, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, neurological diseases, arthritis and also linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Eczema will come back to bite harder later in life. A few simple steps such as adding in Omega 3 oils, probiotics and replacing coconut oil with many chemicals, will significantly reduce your child’s chances of living with eczema. Looking into removing culprit foods will improve their chances even more. And chances are, you’ll improve your whole family’s health at the same time.