Eczema is a skin condition which presents with symptoms of red, inflamed patches on the skin, which can be itchy. Often these patches concentrate in the joints- inside the elbows, behind the knees, on the upper thighs. It is often worsened by heat or clothing which doesn't breathe well...
Mainstream treatments for Eczema include topical steroid based creams, cold wraps and anti-inflammatories to reduce the redness and irritation, and sometimes antibiotics if scratching has broken the skin and caused bleeding. All in all, these remedies are all topical ones, and will only lessen the severity of the symptoms whilst they are being used. When creams, etc are stopped, the Eczema usually flares up again, sometimes being worse than before.
It is important to note that the common allergy 'skin prick' testing often doesn't assess the part of the immune system which can be responsible for Eczema. Skin prick testing looks at IgE- the part of the immunity which will drive 'true allergic reactions' such as anaphylaxis and other health-altering conditions. Eczema does, for most part, not fall into this category. Generally speaking, Eczema will provoke another part of the immune system known as the IgG response- The IgG immunity usually involves slower acting, chronic, and often lower grade inflammation.
I have seen people on the above regimes for years- even right through adulthood. Unfortunately the long term prospects of using steroids are not good- side effects can cause gut problems, mineral malabsorption, bone density issues, and even mental health concerns and thyroid issues. If these medications can be avoided, it is definitely preferred.
What a lot of people don't realize is that there is almost always a more natural, and LONG TERM solution to this very common problem. It does take a bit more work, investigation and patience than simply applying a cream on a daily basis, but it is very worth it for clearer skin, and in the long term, overall better health.
The four main points which need addressing in any case of Eczema, are:
- Improving Gut Health; balancing gut flora
- Improving Detoxification via the Liver, Kidneys, Lungs, Skin and Lymphatic Systems
- Identifying and Addressing the Drivers/Triggers; These can range from food intolerances, heavy metals or toxins built up in the system; allergies; imbalanced gut flora and overloaded liver detoxification pathways; medication residues; emotions such as anxiety, anger or fear
- Reducing overall inflammation and maintaining the skin's natural oil barriers
When this critical point is passed, it is not simply a case of being able to take any offending foods out, a complete reconstruction of the gut environment is required to maintain and 'retrain' the immune system to not be so reactive.
It is also important to note, that even breastfed babies can be reacting to foods that mum may have eaten, or any number of environmental, or endogenous factors. These can be tested for and identified using blood tests, but its important to remember that (in theory) any IgG reactions are simply intolerances- meaning that if we clean up the gut environment and detoxification pathways, we can almost always improve a person's tolerance level to anything they react to.
In Eczema cases I also frequently use Hair Mineral Analysis testing. These help me to identify any underlying drivers such a high levels of Mercury, Arsenic, Copper, Aluminium or other metals. Often babies are born with these already in their system, acquired in Utero from mum, or even from vaccines.
The long term goal for any Eczema sufferer is, of course, to reduce any reactivity and therefore stop any flare ups - If the drivers and imbalances are identified correctly at the beginning, and the gut work is done as young as possible, then the outlook on eliminating any Eczema is a good one.
Eczema and other skin conditions is something that I see and treat all of the time in clinic. If you would like more information on my services or would like to book at time to come in and chat about how we can clear your skin FOR GOOD!, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected], or call the clinic on (03) 9769 3631
Cheers, Claire @ Natural Body Lab :)