For those who know us here at Plant and Share, you've seen how intention pervades…
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is a general term for any type of dermatitis where the skin is irritated. It is the result of an inflammatory response, which occurs due to an internal or external/environmental irritant. When the immune system is triggered by this irritant, inflammation ensues, releasing moisture from the skin. Our protective barrier (outer layers of the skin) then becomes broken down and sheds. The inner layers become exposed and the acid/alkaline balance of the skin is altered, leaving eczema-ravaged skin raw, itchy, hot and red.
There are two main types of eczema:
Atopic dermatitis usually begins in childhood and starts with dry, and very itchy, skin. Scratching causes the dry skin to develop into a rash.
Contact dermatitis, like the name suggests, happens when the skin touches irritating allergens or substances. It often occurs on hands or where you have touched the irritant.
Eczema can cycle through three stages:
- Intense itching, redness, fluid-filled blisters, swelling, heat and pain.
- Dry and flaky skin, itching or burning, and cracks in the skin.
- Thickened leathery-looking skin, deep cracks in the skin, itching.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Seek advice from a professional
It is recommended that you consult a health professional regarding your eczema. A health professional such as a General Practitioner or Dermatologist can assess your skin, provide treatment if infection is present, and arrange for allergy testing.
Healing from the inside out is something we highly recommend – looking at your gut health and identifying food allergies.
We have seen excellent results from those who choose to work with Hannah from A Nourishing Notion. Hannah suffered chronic eczema of the hands and wrists. She has 11 years nursing experience, a certificate in plant based nutrition and knows first-hand how debilitating eczema can be. Hannah offers consultations online via Zoom or face to face in the Nelson region.
Especially for contact dermatitis, discovering which irritants trigger an eczema flare is important. Unfortunately, this takes time and patience, and is often trial and error. Good eczema management is crucial for comfort and self esteem. When you don’t keep on top of it, it can be downright miserable!
Food may help or hinder
Sometimes food allergies or intolerances are the reason behind your eczema flares. An elimination diet removes common food allergens from the diet for a period of time in a bid to identify food triggers. Seek advice from a professional if undertaking a food elimination regime.
Don’t underestimate the power of excellent nutrition and good gut health. Take a quality probiotic, eat probiotic rich foods daily (sauerkraut is a good option), and follow a plant predominant whole-foods eating pattern (limit the junk, alcohol and caffeine!).
‘Low tox’ your life
Try to eliminate all conventional and synthetic products from the home. These include washing powders and household cleaners, soaps and body washes, lotions, shampoos and conditioners, synthetic fragrances such as those found in candles and perfumes, and synthetic fabrics in clothing and bedding.
Drink filtered water where possible (jug, bench, or house filter), or boil then cool water to allow any chlorine to evaporate before drinking. Ideally the use of a mains-fitted water filter is best as you will be showering/bathing in chlorine-free water – skin is porous and absorbs whatever you put on it.
Ensure adequate ventilation of your home on a daily basis by opening windows and doors. Keep on top of dust and mould in the home with regular cleaning.
You have likely tried a multitude of eczema creams and balms only to find them ineffective. Many eczema products aren’t adequate in creating a lasting barrier on the skin. Interestingly, the synthetic chemicals used as a preservative in conventional eczema creams are often irritants in themselves.
Plant and Share Calendula Cream is a rich and nourishing, natural moisturiser. This cream is effective at providing a barrier, and improving skin hydration. Its unique properties allow the active botanicals contained within the cream to heal and repair itchy, inflamed and dry skin.
Plant and Share Calendula Balm is an oil-based product and can be used in conjunction with the cream when your skin is really suffering. It has a higher percentage of calendula oil which is effective at calming redness and itching of the skin.
During an eczema flare up, we recommend applying Plant and Share Calendula Cream 2-3 times a day, and Plant and Share Calendula Balm each night.
When skin is more settled, apply Calendula Cream once a day to maintain moisture and help prevent future flares.
If your skin concerns persist please consult your health care professional.