Home Remedy for Eczema

5 essential nutrients for skin repair

The most crucial home remedy for eczema is this…

Make sure your gut flora, digestion and immune system are performing properly AND get the nutrients your skin needs. If they are deficient, it shows up in your skin with itching, oozing sores, painful rashes and other symptoms.

Natural moisturizers soothe discomfort and itching, but the real secret to self-healing your skin starts inside your body. So try a home remedy for eczema from the list below – or try them all – and watch your skin improve.

Home Remedy for Eczema #1
Get Cultured…

… with cultured foods, probiotics and prebiotics that repair your gut flora (good microbes) and leaky gut.

Red cabbage sauerkraut... cultured foods, probiotics and prebiotics repair your gut and your skin. © Karen Alison

How is this a home remedy for eczema?

Because when you restore the good bacteria to your gut and repair the leaks in the walls of your intestines…

  • You will absorb nutrients properly, instead of suffering from deficiencies that harm your skin
  • You will stop toxins from escaping from your intestines to poison the rest of your body and damage your skin barrier.
  • You will improve your immune system and reduce inflammation and allergies that are part of eczema.


“...multiple, well designed trials have noted benefit [from probiotics and prebiotics] in improving the severity of Atopic Dermatitis [eczema] or potentially preventing onset of AD in high-risk neonates.” Tabassum and Hamdani, Pharmacologists

But grown-ups with eczema need probiotics and cultured foods, too. Badly!

Chris Kresser, functional medicine specialist, clearly states: “...probiotics improve skin conditions.”

In other words, if you want better skin, fix your gut with probiotics.

What are probiotics, prebiotics and cultured foods?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and restore good microbes to disrupted gut flora. They are found in capsule or powder form, and in cultured foods.

Prebiotics are the food of the good bacteria (probiotics) inside your intestines. Prebiotic foods are digested by that bacteria, not in your stomach.

Pretty much any raw fruit or vegetable will give you some prebiotic effect. Garlic, onions, jicama, Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens, asparagus and avocado are good sources... think salad.

And... surprise!... raw honey is a prebiotic, too. (Yum!)

Good bacteria likes lots of plant fiber to "chew" on (apart from that honey), while bad bacteria (pathogens) love refined sugar, refined flour and deep-fried fats.

That’s why your mom was right when she told you to eat your vegetables!

Raw honey, the surprise prebiotic. © Karen Alison

Cultured foods include:

  • kombucha tea
  • kefir – similar to yogurt but with about 5 times as much probiotic value – and can be made with nut milk or rice milk if you’re dairy-intolerant
  • sauerkraut and other cultured vegetables
  • kimchi (spicy Asian sauerkraut)

All these cultured or fermented foods contain probiotics, but they must be made with brine – water and salt – NOT with vinegar, which is acid and kills the bacteria that can benefit your skin.

Foods like miso, tempeh, and soy sauce are also fermented foods but may contain gluten which is a whole other problem for skin with eczema (see #4 below.)


Recently, topical applications of probiotics are being studied. In the meantime, you can try putting plain kefir on your skin to soothe it.

But more importantly, eat vegetables and probiotic or cultured foods, drink kombucha, and take good quality probiotics to restore your innards and your skin.

Warning! If your system is quite toxic, you may go through a “healing crisis.” The probiotics kill off the bad microbes. When many die off quickly, you may not feel good.

If this happens, back off and give your body a break while you drink lots of water and eat leafy greens and crucifers (like broccoli, collards, cabbage, arugula and kale) to help flush out toxins. Then start again… slowly.

Home Remedy for Eczema #2
Essential fatty acids

Are you low in omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs)? Most of us are.

When you have eczema, it’s especially important that you get your omega 3’s and other fatty acids because, without them, your skin will have trouble recovering.

When you have eczema, it’s especially important that you get your omega 3’s and other fatty acids because, without them, your skin will have trouble recovering. © Karen Alison

Dr. Udo Erasmus - probably the world’s foremost authority on fats and oils - says that essential fatty acids are crucial to your survival.

If you don’t have enough EFAs in your food, the omega fatty acids that are available will be sent to nourish your brain and heart. Why? Because they are much more important to your health than your skin.

After all, you can stay alive without good skin but without your brain and heart? Forget it.

Yup. Poor old skin is last on the list when it comes to dishing out nutrients. So give yourself lots of omega fatty acids and watch your skin improve with this essential home remedy for eczema.

Where to get essential fatty acids?

  • Fish oil is considered the most bio-available form of EFAs. It is also rich in vitamin D, another fantastic home remedy for eczema (see #3 below.)
  • If you are vegetarian, a blend of plant-based oils containing DHA from single-celled algae is another excellent option.
  • Fish
  • Free-range egg yolks

For omega 3’s you can also take:

  • Flax oil – I love flax oil for its rich, buttery taste. Great on veggies or blended into smoothies.
  • Ground flax seeds – an amazingly nutritious food that benefits more than your skin (and helps to prevent heart attack and stroke according to Dr. Michael Greger.)

Home Remedy for Eczema #3
Vitamin D

Here’s an interesting one. Studies done as far apart as Boston and Mongolia – two places with a lot of winter – showed that 80% of children whose eczema is worse in winter improved with vitamin D.

Another study showed that taking vitamin E with the vitamin D was even more effective for eczema.

My doctor (whom I visit regularly, at least once every 10 years or so) told me that, if you live north of the 39th parallel, you can’t absorb enough vitamin D through your skin in the winter, even if you spend all day outdoors.

Which goes to show that vitamin D is not just for children.


Home Remedy for Eczema #4 - Food
What’s that cupcake doing to your skin??

Okay, here’s the bad news. When you have eczema, cupcakes are not your best friend. Nor are any other foods made with gluten grains – wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale.

Maybe you like beer more than cupcakes? Sorry, but it’s full of gluten, too.

Food allergies and intolerances are a very common cause of skin problems, especially in children.


Studies show that…

  • One third of people with atopic dermatitis (eczema) have proven food allergies.
  • 30% of adults with eczema have antibodies to gliadin. That mean they react badly to wheat and other gluten-containing grains which worsen eczema.
  • Celiacs have three times more atopic dermatitis than everyone else.


Also…

  • Dr. James Braly lists eczema and psoriasis as “Gluten-Associated Medical Conditions” in his excellent book Dangerous Grains
  • Dr. Doris Rapp, author of The Impossible Child, confirms that eczema occurs as a reaction to foods and chemicals. She points out that these food and chemical intolerances affect children’s behaviour, thinking and ability to function at school, as well as skin.

Is gluten-free better?

So are gluten-free breads and cakes better for you?

Not necessarily.

Many gluten-free items are made with cotton, cellulose or corn, to give you that starch-like bulk. But fungus may lurk within them, causing your eczema to flare.

And, I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wrap my head around chewing on cotton. The Rodale Institute says it’s “considered the world’s dirtiest crop” because it is so heavily pesticided. Do you really want to put that in your mouth just to pretend you’re eating bread? Ick.

So, what to do?

  • Avoid the top food allergens: gluten, dairy, corn, sugar, soy, processed foods with preservatives and colours, deep-fried foods (very hard on digestion and skin.)

Go Paleo and eat real food like delicious blueberries. © Karen Alison
  • Go Paleo and eat real food. It’s a no-grain, no-sugar, no-dairy way of eating and it’s great for skin! Everyone I know who has changed to a Paleo diet has commented on the improvement in their skin.

  • Get your food allergies and intolerances checked. Some methods I’ve tried and found useful are electro-dermal testing, Applied Kinesiology or Touch for Health, dowsing, and BIE – BioElectric Intolerance Elimination. Then you will actually know what is causing the problem.
  • You can also try an elimination diet. It’s more time- consuming but it’s free. You have to remove a food – and all versions of it! – from your diet for at least a week and monitor your reactions. After a week, you try eating a small amount and see what happens. If you react to gluten, you’ll probably feel terrible when you stop eating it. I did. That is your body detoxing the gluten!
  • If you go the medical route, be aware that scratch tests are not considered very effective. Allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are a spectrum. Where you are on that spectrum may not be recognized by a specific test. Dr. Braly favours blood tests.
  • Personally, even though I tested badly for wheat and cut it out, I didn’t clue in to the fact that I was gluten-sensitive until I read Dr. Braly’s book, Dangerous Grains, and saw my blood family’s health history in many of the medical conditions he lists that are related to gluten. So, if you go gluten-free, cut out all the cereal grains, not just wheat.
  • Avoid problem food(s) 100% - especially if it’s gluten. Gluten contributes to leaky gut syndrome and that can take months to heal properly. When your gut is damaged by gluten, chemicals and drugs, and you keep putting them into your body, your villi (lining of the intestines) will never heal. That means you’ll have fecal particles floating around in your bloodstream AND you won’t absorb nutrients properly – which will definitely affect your skin.


Home Remedy for Eczema #5
Mums - breastfeed your baby

This is a home remedy for eczema to help you keep your child from developing the condition.

The University of Maryland says that: “Infants and young children are most affected [by eczema] (about 65% of cases occur before age 1, and about 90% occur before age 5).”

However, if you breastfeed your baby for at least 4 months and don’t give him or her any other foods during that time, your child is far less likely to get eczema. Apparently, this is especially true if you don’t consume any dairy products from cow’s milk during that time.

You’ll find more information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from eczema in the next article…

Related Articles

Natural moisturizers to soothe itchy, troubled skin. 9 effective topical home remedies for eczema.


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Have health questions or questions about natural remedies? Ask them here. Your success stories, comments and ideas are welcome, too!

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