My 5 top tips for managing my eczema naturally
As I've mentioned before I have always suffered from eczema. As someone who used wear long sleeves and pants (even in Summer!) to cover my elbows and behind my knees, used steroid creams my whole life, and suffered huge self-confidence challenges because of having such chronic eczema- I can honestly say I've tried it all!
I find that it flares up more at different times of the year and Winter is particularly bad.
But making some changes in my life have made a huge difference to the severity and frequency of occurrence, and the way I manage a patch when it appears.
I've previously written a post about the link between gut health and skin health. The long and short of it is- within all of us- our gut is filled with trillions of bacteria- good and bad! Good gut health basically means having a balance of good and bad bacteria. The benefits of having a healthy gut are endless and can aid with: better and more effective digestion, reducing inflammation, a stronger immune system and consequently healthier skin. You can find my sauerkraut recipe here but taking probiotics is another option! You can buy probiotic tablets from most health food stores- look for the jars in the fridge and ask for the pills without gelatine!
Since going vegan I have noticed a huge improvement in my eczema! Eczema can be inflamed by allergens and dairy/ eggs are both allergens! I would also recommend decreasing sugar intake from processed sources and increasing prebiotics. Basically, eat more plants! One way to think of prebiotics is like food or nourishment for good bacteria. Prebiotic fiber in high levels is found in apples, bananas, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes and beans. So get that nice-cream in ya!
Irritating chemicals are so common in traditional skincare and personal care products! Take a look at the ingredients on your commonly used products and see how many of them you can understand. On average we use 9 personal care products a day and the average product contains 27 ingredients! That is HUGE! SLS + SLES are the biggest culprits. These foaming agents are the absolute worst and hugely irritate skin, they are also in up to 90% of personal care products. Check anything that foams- dishwashing liquid, hand soap, body wash and even shampoo. I used to suffer a lot from patches on my hands and legs- places that traditionally come in contact with these foaming agents through washing hands, washing dishes and the soap from shampoo/ body wash running down my body. Also look out for chemical fragrances, colours, preservatives and parabens.
If you suffer from eczema you'll know how awful it is when a patch appears! It's almost impossible not to itch and the combination of continuous burning and itching is awful, frustrating and painful! Top tips:
- COOL! Cooling the area and reducing inflammation can also reduce the itch. Take a cold shower, hold a cool wet facecloth on the area or rub over the affected area with chamomile ice cubes.
- I know its hard- but DON'T ITCH! It makes it 10 times worse and can also lead to infection, cracking and delayed healing.
The SOFT Moisturising Cream has become my saviour in this respect. I no longer use steroid creams- just this! I layer it on thick and regularly when I find a patch popping up and repeat until it’s gone. It helps to keep it from drying out and helps to relieve the itch. Since using this approach I haven’t had any patches reach the stage of cracking/ bleeding that they so commonly used to.
If you give any of the above a go please let me know your thoughts or share any tips of your own below!