Clearing Up Eczema

If you (or your kids) have eczema, you’ve probably been to numerous doctors and dermatologists, and you’ve tried things like cortisone creams, moisturizers, or topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs).  And, if you’re like most people, you’ve discovered that none of these actually fix the problem. Why are these only short-term solutions?

Because they don’t address the reason the rash is happening in the first place.

Everyone knows eczema is a skin rash. What’s less known, though, is that eczema is a common issue for kids and adults with high levels of toxins, food sensitivities, Leaky Gut, or autoimmune diseases.

This is rarely one of those situations where you can dab a little ointment on and everything goes away. Having eczema is like a light going off on the dashboard of your car – it’s a signal that something isn’t right in your body. Sure, you can drive with the warning light on, but if you ignore the light for too long, you’re bound to have serious trouble before long!

Frequent Causes of Eczema

Food Sensitivities
Leaky Gut
Chemicals/Environmental toxins
Poor Detoxification
Low Vitamin D
Low Magnesium
Gut flora imbalance (dysbiosis)
Excessive stress

How to clear up your eczema (for good!)

Find the right doctor
Not all doctors understand that eczema is simply a sign of something else going wrong in the body. A Functional Medicine practitioner will help you identify the root cause of your skin woes and help you heal.

Change your diet
Food triggers are almost always involved with eczema. If you aren’t sure if you are sensitive to foods, either try the Elimination Diet or ask your doctor for a food sensitivity test. We use Cyrex Labs for this – they have the most up-to-date testing procedures.

Take probiotics
The right amount and the right balance of high-quality probiotics are critical for a healthy digestive system, and a healthy digestive system is required to have healthy skin. For some, probiotics alone can eliminate eczema. For others, it can make things worse, so definitely work with a knowledgeable practitioner on this. Introducing probiotics into your system will kill harmful microbes, but the dying microbes release toxins. Those toxins can create a flare of eczema. Minimize the severity of die-off by starting with very low doses of probiotics or fermented foods until you know how you react. Increase gradually to higher doses.

Heal your gut
The health of your skin is directly tied to the health of your gut. Diet changes and probiotics aren’t always enough. Sometimes there’s damage to the digestive system that needs focused attention. Do you have the right amount of stomach acid? Are you making enough enzymes to break down food? Do you have an infection in your digestive system like H. Pylori, parasites, or Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO)? Last, do you have Leaky Gut? The right labs can give you answers here.

Avoid chemicals
Avoid the chemicals often found in household or personal care products. Any items that have a smell or a long list of ingredients that are impossible to pronounce are potential irritants: soaps, dryer sheets, nail polish, sunscreen, lotions, laundry detergent, and cosmetics.  Switch to simple, natural, fragrance-free options.

Skin is one of the major detoxification organs. When toxins are purged through the skin, damage can occur, and the immune system responds with inflammation as a way to bring healing white blood cells to the damaged area. It is this inflammation that shows up as a rash.

Some people just aren’t great at eliminating toxins. Try some gentle things for yourself at home like dry brushing daily before a shower, rebounding on a mini-trampoline for a couple of minutes or Epsom salt baths. Or better yet, find a doctor who can guide you through a more thorough detox program.

The best way to end your struggles with eczema— functional medicine

The real resolution to eczema comes from finding what is creating it in the first place. It may be that you need to reduce the level of toxicity in your body, avoid a food that you are sensitive to, or heal your gut.  Functional medicine practitioners are specially trained at tracking down the root causes for health issues like this and coaching you along a plan to heal.

Eczema can be frustrating. I urge you to find a Functional Medicine practitioner in your area, or call me. I consult with people anywhere in the U.S. I’d be happy to guide you.

Photo: Antoine Robiez

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