By Dr. Tanvi Tijoriwala, ND
Eczema, commonly known as Atopic Dermatitis, is one of the most frequently diagnosed conditions in Canada. It affects 10-15% of children, many of whom are still affected by it in their adulthood.
Eczema is very often confused to be a skin condition because of its characteristic itchy rash. However, it’s a condition that is triggered by the immune system and influenced by digestive health and stress. This is why, it is important to employ an inside-out approach to eczema as opposed to relying on skin creams.
There are various types of eczema rashes and each can be triggered due to external and internal factors. This condition is also often associated with allergies, asthma, digestive issues and anxiety.
Factors such as – gut health, inflammatory foods, scented skin care products, stressful events, hormonal changes and exposure to allergens can trigger an eczema flare-up.
What can I do about this?
As a naturopathic doctor who treats children and adults with eczema very often, I have developed a system to help patients with eczema have less itch and feel confident in their skin.
Here are some of the steps taken during our journey to help you feel better
- Optimize digestion – 70-80% of our immune system is actually in our gut so it makes sense that eczema can be relieved by improving digestion. Many adults and children with eczema, often suffer from digestive concerns such as constipation, diarrhea, or constant stomach pains. This is because eczema is associated with something known as “leaky gut”. Simply put, your digestion is not processing food and absorbing nutrients properly. Leaky gut can cause deficiencies in several vitamins and minerals that are needed to support skin health. Correcting these deficiencies and optimizing gut health are important steps to treating eczema. Supporting your digestion means giving you the right supplements and eczema friendly recipes.
- Soothe the itch – as mentioned above, many skincare products contain chemicals and scents that aggravate the skin. As part of this system, I give you vetted skincare brands that can help soothe irritated skin instead of aggravating it further. This applies for household products, especially laundry detergents, as well.
- Calm the immune system – Eczema flare ups happen because the immune system reacts strongly to “invaders” such as allergens, foods that don’t sit well with you etc. Preventing and calming this immune response is key in preventing an aggravation of the rash.
- Detox support – When our body does not detox and eliminate toxins effectively, they come out on the skin. This is because the skin is also a detox organ and plays a part in eliminating toxins. An essential component of eczema therapy is to ensure the body’s primary detox machinery, which is the liver and the digestive system, are working efficiently.
- Emotional support and accountability – If you or your child suffer from eczema, only you will understand the agony that is accompanied with the constant itch and burning of a skin rash. A huge part of supportive therapy for my patients is working with them to help them feel well, both physically and mentally. One of the biggest triggers of eczema is also stress. We live in a world where stress is inevitable, but we can manage our body’s reaction to it. I give you tools to deal with your most stressful times, so your skin is not negatively affected.
If you want more information to help you or your child feel safe and healthy in their skin, set up a virtual complimentary consult with me.
If you are a person who suffers from eczema or have a child with atopic dermatitis, here are some quick steps you can take to reduce your/your child’s itch and flare ups:
- Avoid wearing wool clothing or any rough fabrics as it makes the skin itchy
- Use scent-free products at home. This is especially important for your detergent and your skin creams. Check the labels, anything with parfum or sodium lauryl sulfate in it should be avoided.
- Moisturize often. Those with eczema have very dry skin due to increased trans-epidermal water loss. The skin needs to stay hydrated as often as possible.
- Bathe in lukewarm water instead of using extremely hot water. Hot water dries the skin out faster
- Use an inside-out approach to treat eczema, creams alone will not help.
If you want more information to help you or your child feel healthy in their skin, set up a virtual complimentary consult with me.