- A painful, itching and inflammatory disease of the skin characterized by dry or moist lesions, eczema is usually acute or chronic and should be treated by a physician.
- In many cases eczema is caused by an allergic reaction to food or chemicals used in face and body products.
- Other triggers include low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, stress and dry or cold weather conditions.
- If you think you have eczema it’s important to consult with your doctor.
Key ingredient to look for
Also known as wild pansy or heartsease, viola tricolor has been used for centuries to treat a variety of skin ailments. Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe irritation and itching and reduce redness while the vulnerary properties help heal.
Widely known to have a calming effect on the mind, chamomile can also calm the skin. German chamomile may reduce inflammation that occurs as a result of eczema while speeding up the healing process. Roman chamomile has been shown to help ease the discomfort and itching associated with eczema.
Grape Seed Extract
A common ingredient in skincare products, grape seed extract is naturally full of the flavonoid OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidin), which can help reduce inflammation and rid the body of toxins.
Evening Primrose Oil
Used worldwide to help treat skin disorders, evening primrose oil contains omega-6 essential fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acids and may help soothe skin and reduce the itching caused by eczema.
Also known as marigold, calendula has a high flavonoid content and has long been used to treat skin diseases such as eczema. It promotes the healing of wounds and helps reduce bleeding.
- As eczema is often caused or worsened by chemical irritants found in many products that touch the skin. For example, laundry detergent is often a common contributor to the appearance of eczema. We recommend a mild plant-based detergent, such as Seventh Generation, that won’t aggravate eczema like a traditional detergent. Also, make sure the soap, moisturizers and treatments you put on your skin contain no harsh chemical ingredients. Limit your exposure to hot water as it can dry out skin further. Other trigger factors can include heat, sweating, paint, bleach, wool, pollen and pet dander.
- Eczema can also be triggered by food allergies (either by eating the food or allowing it to come in contact with the skin). Dairy and gluten are two of the biggest reaction food groups. Try keeping a food journal to aid in discovering which food allergies you have. However, if this doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and ask for a medical opinion.
- Make sure your diet is rich in essential fatty acids found in flaxseed, spinach, salmon and avocado, along with plenty of vitamin C and vitamin E. If you’re not getting enough through your diet, consider taking vitamin supplements. Some herbs may trigger eczema including arnica, camphor and oak bark (quercus cortex)
- Other methods of reducing the number of eczema flare ups include learning how to manage stress, keeping skin sufficiently moisturized during dry conditions and removing any extra layers of clothing while exercising to help prevent eczema-causing excess sweat.
- Please see your dermatologist or physician for specific lifestyle recommendations tailored to your individual needs.