Eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by itchy rashes that typically appear in the creases of the elbows and knees, and on the face, hands, and feet. It is more common in children, but affects a significant number of adults as well. There are several factors that contribute to eczema, including allergic predisposition, diet, stress, hydration, climate, and overall inflammation. Conventional treatment often involves topical steroid creams such as hydrocortisone to reduce localized inflammation. While steroid creams can be effective in reducing symptoms temporarily, they can cause side effects such as skin thinning and stretch marks, and don’t address the root cause of eczema. Here are 4 natural approaches to treating the underlying factors that play a role in eczema.
Eat a nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet
Reducing the overall inflammatory load on the body is beneficial for decreasing inflammation in the skin, and food choices play a major role here. The top pro-inflammatory food offenders to avoid are refined sugar, wheat, and dairy. Meanwhile, it’s important to nourish the body with naturally anti-inflammatory foods such as salmon, turmeric, ginger, and dark leafy greens.
Treat underlying digestive issues
The skin can often be a reflection of what’s happening in the body internally. Digestive upset such as constipation, loose stools, bloating, heartburn, or abdominal pain are clues that digestive health needs to be addressed.
Stress can be a major exacerbating factor in eczema, which draws another connection between the external and internal environments of the body. Implementing regular stress-reduction practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercise, spending time in the forest, and setting appropriate boundaries can be very beneficial for skin health.
Test for food allergies
People with eczema tend to have a predisposition for allergies. Food allergens create inflammation in the body that can manifest as eczema. This response can sometimes be delayed for several days after exposure, which makes identifying the culprit foods challenging.