The Truth About Eczema
This is a dirty word in our house. You can imagine when someone like myself, so passionate on healthy skin had to watch her kiddos and sister suffer with this until we figured out what really was causing it. From the time my kids were babies all I heard was, “use this topical gel” or, “it’s hormones they grow out of it” and sometimes, “it’s the weather”. Wrong. Wrong and WRONG!!
Eczema is the name of a group of conditions that cause the skin to be inflamed, itchy, red, weepy and plain just annoying.
Eczema is extremely common. Over 30 million Americans suffer with some form of eczema. In fact, did you know there are 6 types of eczema? Each presenting different ways.
It’s not contagious, but it can be embarrassing for the sufferer, and you have to be extremely careful not to pick up a staph infection when dealing with the worst types of eczema. When someone develops eczema, it can be a combination of allergens, irritants, or genes. When your body comes in contact with one of these things, it triggers your immune system to over react like your husband when you buy a new pair of summer sandals and matching purse. All that overreacting causes your body to produce inflammation causing eczema to flare up.
So, let’s talk about the different types and what you can do to kick this bad boy to the curb.
Types of Eczema
#1 Atopic Dermatitis is the most common and usually the most severe. It usually makes its grand appearance in childhood and then makes an encore later in life at some point. Research shows that people with eczema may have a mutation gene creating filaggrin, a protein that protects and serves the barrier of the skin. Without enough filaggrin, moisture will escape, and bacteria can enter. This is why some people with a topic dermatitis also suffer with dry skin.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis are dry skin, infections, itchy open crusted sores (sometimes behind the ears). Scratching just inflames the area and the skin becomes thicker and can discolor. Remember the episode of friends where Charlie Sheen and Phoebe have chickenpox? I’ve wanted to put oven mitts on my daughter at times to prevent her from scratching.
#2 Contact Dermatitis which has is caused when you come into contact with a substance that you’re allergic to or an irritant your body can’t handle. This is one I’ve suffered with at times before our house became chemical free. Harmful chemicals are irritants and just coming in contact with your skin can cause contact dermatitis, causing dryness itching and cracking.
You can also develop contact dermatitis by coming in contact with something that you’re allergic to. The skin can actually take up to four days to react. The first time your skin comes in contact with the new allergen it sends a piece of the allergen to your immune system for analysis. It’s stores it and its memory bank. When is exposed to it over and over again it will develop an itchy skin response, so this is the tricky part because it can take several days for you to have a reaction and to figure out what it was you came in contact with.
Watch out for fragrances, formaldehyde, disinfectants, aspartame, and anything wrinkle resistant labels.
The best thing our family did two years ago was switching to a harmful chemical free house. Young Living makes it really easy and extremely affordable to make that switch. It’s saved our skin and pocket books the last few years. If you’re interested on how you can save money and ditch the chemicals, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact dermatitis can be very difficult to distinguish from a topic dermatitis another form of eczema.
Symptoms include red, hot, itchy and weepy blisters most commonly on your hands.
This type of eczema something that we’ve dealt with first hand. So, what causes it? What type of allergies? Nickel allergies for one. It is extremely common among adults and children. Think jewelry, zippers, buttons. However, through my research on some answers for this type, I found nickel can be present in many of the good nutritious foods we eat. Green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, canned foods, oatmeal and chocolate. Noooooo!!!
No, I’m not telling you to go on the “McDonald’s Diet”. But I am telling you to do some research on the foods that you may be consuming every day to see if they’re high and nickel content. Even your cell phone and those aluminum water bottles will cause you grief.
#3 Dyshidrotic Eczema- very common form that causes small very itchy and often weepy blisters on fingers, toes and feet. Ahhhh!!! Allergy season can usually trigger this type for many. However, don’t downplay stress ever when talking eczema. Nickel, moist hands and feet, and pollen can make this type act up like your toddler last nap time as well. My sister even notices a difference when she began using bamboo silverware, ditched the metal water bottles, as well as stainless steel cookware. Sure, we all make fun of her, and are secretly jealous of her bougie place setting, but it prevents her from breakouts of blisters on her hands.
#4 Nummular Eczema- this just sounds made up. It has the shape of coins (meaning nummular) on the body, mostly the legs. It can be itchy, but it isn’t always. Normally the spots are extremely dry, scaly, and sometimes open and wet. It gets mistaken for a fungus infection a lot.
Triggers for this type can be trauma to the skin in that area, poor blood flow, or again heavy metals built up in your system.
# 5 Seborric Dermatitis- this form is affected where the sebaceous glands are present. Normally on the upper back, nose, scalp where genes and hormones play a role. Redness, greasy swollen skin, itching and burning comes along with this type.
Triggers include... stress, hormonal changes, harsh detergents, medicines, and cold dry weather.
#6 Stasis Dermatitis- this one is caused when you have problems with circulation in your veins, generally in the lower legs.
Veins cause pressure to build up as blood flows upwards through the body and heart. The pressure causes fluids to leak out of veins into the skin causing swelling around the ankles.
You will notice as you sleep the swelling disappears but returns when you’re up.
Symptoms are discolored skin, varicose veins, scaling or dry skin, leg ache, and redness.
Triggers are age, high blood pressure, obesity, many pregnancies, and varicose veins.
Pressure stockings, weight loss, elevating legs every few hours can help.
The key to addressing eczema is to figure out the underlying problem. Eczema isn’t a quick fix and is always connected to our gut health.
Topical remedies are just a Band-Aid and won’t hold your issue at bay forever. I’m all for getting ANY skin issue checked out at the doctor, in fact I suggest it, we don’t want anything going undiagnosed. However, just know you need to fix what’s causing the issue, not just address the symptoms of a larger problem.
So, I talk about gut in almost every video on skin in my Oily Esthetician group. If you’re not a member is suggest you ask to join today here!
Gut health is so very important and often the trick to healthy skin where eczema can’t exist.
Gut Health Musts:
-Probiotics if you aren’t currently taking them, you should be. Young Living Life 9’s is a staple in our house.
- Fermented foods, get your kombucha on ladies.
- removing foods with gluten and dairy. You must give your body 4-6 weeks to completely feel and see the effect of going GF and DF. This also helps acne as well.
- Many people with eczema have food allergies. Cow’s milk, soy products, eggs, gluten, corn, nuts, fish, and shellfish. Keep this in mind when you eat.
- Omega 3’s can help support eczema as well by supporting the inflammation response in your body.
Chemicals can be a trigger as well...
-So ditch and switch. If you’re not a YL member hit me up in an email for your free sample of chemical free cleaner that cost about 1.50 a bottle!!
- Watch out for coconut oil, while I love love this, it can cause havoc for some. So, pay attention and if you think you react to it, eliminate it from your routine.
How can you find some support?
- Foods high in flavonoids and powerful antioxidants, which can act like a natural antihistamine. Apples, blueberries, cherries, 🍒 spinach, and kale. Just keep in mind NICKLE if you think that’s a trigger for you.
-Pumpkin seeds and chia seeds provide a good amount of zinc, which can help aid in healing and metabolizing fatty acids.
-Vitamin D gives great support to not only your skin, but your complete system. Most of us lack vitamin D especially in the winter.
-Moisturize!!! Remember to use something without harmful chemicals or irritants. Young Living has a variety of creams, but I personally love the animal ointment if I really need some protection.
- Epsom salt bathes! These give you an extra boost of magnesium your body could use. They also help cleanse and soothe that irritated skin. Check out my blog on detox bathes.
- Witch hazel compresses... I like this particular brand.
- Remember your probiotics. Every night, I even suggest doubling up if you are dealing with an issue.
- Witch hazel compresses... I like this particular brand.
- Stress... use your oils girls. They don’t call it stress away for nothing. Let’s face it as moms, working women, wives and friends we deal with our stress plus others. So, do what you can to help destress your environment. That may be diffusing your favorite essential oil, taking a bath, reading, girls day, a kick butt boxing class, or zoning out with a HGTV episode. You need to schedule it in, take the time. Listen to your body, it’s the only one you get. Self-care darlings, it’s very important. The world will go on. Pray those problems away at night and get some sleep. Self-care is something I stress, because as women we put it off, so be good to yourself ❤️ YOU deserve it!!!