Did you know that eczema can be caused by both internal and external influences?
Eczema is a common skin issue characterised by an itchy, red rash that flares up on the body.
7 types of Eczema
Atopic: Atopic eczema is chronic and often hereditary. This form of eczema shows initial signs during childhood and can flare up due to triggers such as teething, skin infections or grass pollens.1
Contact: Contact eczema (contact dermatitis) occurs due to irritants or allergens in the environment. This could be anything from raw food to cold winds. Contact eczema typically occurs on the hands, as they come into contact with these allergens.1
Seborrhoeic: There are two categories of seborrhoeic eczema; adult and infantile. Adult seborrhoeic eczema normally affects the scalp, face and torso. Infantile seborrhoeic eczema also occurs on the scalp, but is most common in babies under one year old.1
Discoid: Discoid eczema has a very distinct look which appears as clusters of eczema around the size of a 50 cent piece. This form of eczema is most commonly found in adults with very dry skin.1
Pompholyx: Pompholyx eczema only occurs on the hands and feet. It is characterised by a series of itchy, watery blisters.1
Varicose: Varicose eczema occurs later in life and can be triggered by poor blood circulation or a blood clot in the legs.1
Asteatotic: Asteatotic eczema affects nearly every person over the age of 60 as it is linked with a decrease in oils on the skin's surface. It usually only affects the superficial layer of skin, leaving red and pink grooves.1
What causes Eczema?
Similarly to psoriasis, the exact cause of eczema is still unknown. There are theories however, that eczema could be hereditary, particularly if the person has a family member who has eczema, asthma or hay fever. Many doctors believe in the 'atopic triad' which is a theory describing how eczema is linked to other diseases like hay fever and asthma.2 Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, there are many known triggers that may cause an outbreak. These range from stress and hormonal changes to allergens (e.g. dust mites) and irritants (e.g. soaps).2
Eczema can also be caused by internal influences. We spoke to our Nourished Life naturopath Melanie Ruckley who said "in naturopathy we often recognise the link between skin conditions and 'leaky gut' where food intolerances can cause inflammation. For these clients we find that removing the offending foods and working on healing and restoring digestion function can bring lasting improvements."
What are the symptoms of Eczema?
The symptoms of eczema range from person to person, however common symptoms include dry skin, itching, redness, inflamed skin and scaly areas. Other symptoms are rough patches of skin, crusting, swelling, dark patches and oozing sores on skin.2
Which natural products can help soothe mild forms of Eczema?
If you have undiagnosed eczema, my first recommendation is to seek medical advice from a doctor or dermatologist who may suggest topical treatments. Our Naturopath Melanie Ruckley said "complementary therapies that can assist in managing and soothing eczema may include naturopathy and kinesiology which can pinpoint dietary and environmental triggers and acupuncture as this brings balance to our organ system and reduces stress. These can be used alongside conventional treatments to improve the health and integrity of the skin."
For soothing relief, you can try natural skin care products here which have been designed for sensitive skin conditions. These are some of my favourites:
Coconut Magic Coconut Oil
There's not much that coconut oil can't do! Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin to deliver intense moisture. It's also anti-inflammatory and can help to balance skin.3 This coconut oil from Coconut Magic is cold pressed, highly nutritional and very nourishing for the skin.
Happy Skincare 'Over the Moon' Rich Repair Cream
This deeply moisturising cream is rich and perfect for anyone with dry or sensitive skin. It is the ultimate in hydration! The Over The Moon facial cream is also non-greasy and very easily absorbed. It's formulated with ingredients like Vitamin B3 and Vitamin E, to provide a protective and soothing barrier for dry and itchy skin conditions.4
Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream
This multi-tasking product is loved worldwide with countless encouraging stories about how it has improved a range of skin symptoms! It contains soothing ingredients like honey, beeswax, olive oil, royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis. You can apply this Egyptian Magic cream anywhere on the body that has dry, cracked skin. To see results, apply 2-3 times per day!
Pai Calming Skincare Range
If you have dry or sensitive skin, then I recommend you try Pai's instant calm range. This entire range has been specifically formulated for those with sensitive, dry, itchy red skin. Their Calming Day Cream is filled with gentle antioxidants and Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 to help soothe redness or sensitivities.
Manuka Biotic Range
The Manuka Biotic range provides soothing skin and hair care, making use of Certified Organic Manuka Oil from New Zealand. The Manuka Biotic lotions, cleansers and hair care are great for helping sooth and heal irritated skin, thanks to the antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Manuka Oil.
Waters Co Therapy Showers Filter Deluxe - With Shower Head
This chlorine shower filter from Waters Therapy is deigned to help remove chlorine, rust, dust and any other nasties that can cause irritation to sensitive skin. This filter also adds Vitamin C to your water and natural sea collagen which is great for anyone with dry skin.
If you're more of a bath person, then I recommend adding some pure Vitamin C to your bath to neutralize chlorine and protect your sensitive skin!
Which natural products are perfect for kids with Eczema?
Abode Natural Laundry Liquid
Did you know that your laundry liquid could be causing skin irritation? That's why it's important to choose a natural liquid that is designed for sensitive skin. This Laundry Liquid from abode is perfect for babies and anyone with sensitive skin because it's formulated without nasty chemicals, brighteners, fragrances and enzymes.
Weleda White Mallow Body Lotion
If you're looking for a soothing body lotion for your little one (or yourself!) then I recommend this White Mallow Body Lotion from Weleda. It contains the Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ and is perfect for sensitive skin because it's a really mild formula and completely fragrance free. This Certified Natural body lotion contains soothing White Mallow and Pansy to help soothe and protect irritation. There is also a face version on the White Mellow lotion here.
Weleda Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash
This multi-tasking Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash from Weleda is designed to make bath time a lot easier for both you and your baby. It's very gentle and can be used from head to toe without causing any sensitivities! Made with Calendula, this product promotes supple skin while helping soothe dryness.
Weleda Calendula Fragrance Free Baby Oil
This Weleda Calendula Fragrance Free Baby Oil can be applied all over your baby's body with a gentle massage. Calendula is a superb healing and soothing herb. To use simply apply a few drops to your bubs bath to help keep their skin from drying out.
(sources:1eczema.org, 2nationaleczema.org, 3smartpsoriasisdiet.com, 4happyskincare.com, Nourished Life on staff Naturopath)