Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: February 13, 2019 Comments: 0
Are you part of the 23% of the world’s population who has some form of eczema? If you’re not, then it is likely you know someone who is. Surely, if you were a lifeguard at a summer day camp, then you definitely saw eczema on campers’ skin. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start with the basics- what is eczema? Eczema is a general term that describes a group of medical conditions that cause red, inflamed, and itchy skin. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis, and it is caused by a malfunction in the immune system along with problems with the skin barrier. Both children and adults are impacted by atopic dermatitis. Mild eczema appears as patches of dry and flaky skin, whereas more severe forms can appear as irritated red patches. Eczema is commonly found in the body’s “bends”- inside elbows, armpits, and on the back of the knees; nonetheless, eczema can appear anywhere. The exact cause of eczema is unknown; however, we do know what triggers it. Triggers include dry skin, irritants like household cleaners, cigarette smoke, stress, hot and sweaty environments, and allergens like seasonal pollen, dust mites and mold. Those affected have periods of remission and reappearance – just when you thought you rid yourself of the rashes, they manage to sneak back up on you again. Eczema is not confined to just the summer or winter, unfortunately it can occur year-round.
Individuals who have eczema should be mindful to not scratch the site, as scratching makes symptoms worse and can cause bleeding. It is recommended to moisturize the skin at least twice a day, and to even take oatmeal baths. Of course, food influences the condition as well. Here are some foods to avoid:
On the other hand, anti-inflammatory foods/supplements may help to calm symptoms down. Here are some examples:
- Fatty fish (salmon and herring) that contain omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega -3 supplements
- Quercetin, powerful antioxidant and antihistamine, containing foods such as apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach and kale. Quercetin is also available as a nutritional supplement.
- Probiotic foods may help to support the immune system, thereby reducing flare-ups. These foods include, sourdough bread, soft cheeses and yogurt. Probiotics are also available as a nutritional supplement.
Eczema symptoms vary for each individual. If you notice that your eczema flares up when you’re stressed, then engage in calming activities. If you notice that your eczema flares up when you eat a particular food, then cut that out of your diet. Just remember, you’re not alone and there are several natural ways to keep your eczema at bay.
(1) Ask Tufts Experts. (2008). Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 26(6), 7. Retrieved from http://proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=34102918&site=ehost-live
(2) Atopic dermatitis (eczema). (2018, March 06). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279
(3) Eczema Causes & Triggers. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/
(4) Eczema Pictures: What Atopic Dermatitis Looks Like, Cradle Cap, How to Treat It. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/ss/slideshow-eczema-overview
(5) Eczema Prevalence, Quality of Life and Economic Impact. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nationaleczema.org/research/eczema-facts/
(6) Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Get relief from eczema. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/get-relief-from-eczema
(7) Solomon, I., Ilie, M. A., Draghici, C., Voiculescu, V. M., Căruntu, C., Boda, D., & Zurac, S. (2019). The impact of lifestyle factors on evolution of atopic dermatitis: An alternative approach. Experimental & Therapeutic Medicine, 17(2), 1078–1084. Retrieved from http://proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=134111826&site=ehost-live
(8) Whelan, C. (n.d.). How To Create An Eczema-Friendly Diet. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/eczema-diet#foods-to-eat