Eczema is no fun. At best, it’s dry and itchy skin that’s a little red, at worst its blistered, crusty and potentially oozy. When it appears on visible parts of our bodies – such as alms, hands and face – it can be a real blow to our self-confidence. But there a few things you can do to get noticeable relief from both the irritation and appearance of eczema. We put together this guide to help you understand the causes of eczema, potential triggers and few ideas for treating it.
What Causes Eczema?
There is no specific cause of eczema. It may appear as a result of stress, genetics, food and chemical sensitivities, allergies, a clogged liver, a weakened immune system, reactions to household products or even environmental factors. Everyone’s body is different and finding out your specific triggers is a process of trial and error. But here are a few things you might want to look into.
Food Allergies or Intolerances.
An eczema flare is sometimes a symptom of an allergic reaction or intolerance to food. We would recommend taking a basic allergy test, which can be carried out by your GP to help identify any obvious allergies. Intolerances can be a little harder to diagnose. Again, trial and error is the only sure fire way to test if your eczema is a result of an intolerance. Start by cutting out things like wheat, or dairy for a few weeks. These two groups have the highest rates of intolerance. If you don’t notice any improvements, seek medical advice before making any further changes to your diet.
Hormonal imbalances can really affect our skin. 30% of women find their eczema flares up in the days before their period. Hormonal imbalance can be caused by multiple factors so getting an understanding of these will help you keep your hormones balanced and your body and skin in good health. A well as menstruating, pregnancy, puberty and times of high stress can knock are hormones of balance.
Our gut is lined with a single layer of cells, this is the barrier between the inside of our gut and the rest of our body. When we have digestive problems toxins, bacteria and unwanted food particles can enter our body and cause inflammation throughout the body and trigger a reaction in our skin.
What Might Trigger Your Eczema?
Once you’ve identified the root cause of your eczema, the next step is finding out what are your triggers. These are a few things to look out for if you have eczema prone skin.
You’ve probably noticed this one already, but eczema loves to thrive in sweaty areas – elbow and knee creases we’re looking at you! This is because, whilst sweat is mainly water, it contains sodium, potassium, calcium and toxins. These can be drying and irritating to our skin. If you’re prone to sweaty, or condition are humid and sticky, carry some gentle baby wipes and wipe these areas regularly so sweat doesn’t build up.
Some soaps can use harsh chemicals and scents that dry out our skin. This can trigger the symptoms or eczema, particularly inflammations and itchy skin. Try swapping out your soap for coconut oil. It’s a great natural cleanser and moisturiser, plus no nasty chemicals.
An allergy to pollen can trigger eczema to flare up. If you notice your eczema flaring up in the spring it may be due to the increased pollen in the air. The pollen can also cause the skin to itch leading to increased scratching further irritating the skin.
How to treat an eczema flare up.
When it comes to treating eczema, it’s all about finding out what works for your skin. We’ve out together a few things you might like to try, from lifestyle changes to products.
Create a skincare routine that uses as many natural products as possible and reduce the amount of chemicals your put on your skin. Coconut Oil is a great substitute moisturiser and our own range of products are high alkaline, meaning they soothe the skin and contain oxygen – helping promote healthy, glowing skin.
Epsom Bath Salts.
A few handfuls of Epsom Salts added to a warm (but not hot) bath can help calm red and irritated skin as well as reducing flaking.
Meditation and Mindfulness.
You might be sceptical of the benefits of mediation and mindfulness on skin conditions and eczema. But stress is a real trigger for eczema. Taking a few moments every day to calm yourself and managing your stress levels can help balance out your hormones.
There are a lot of over the counter topical eczema treatments. These can be great for dealing with the symptoms of eczema but will rarely treat the root cause. Keep this in mind when using them. Just because your symptoms of eczema have improved, you still need to be treating the root cause.
It's important to remember that our guide is just that, a guide. The nature of eczema means that trial and error is key when it comes to finding out which treatments work for you. Give any changes you make time to work and don’t make too many changes at once. If you’re not seeing any improvements, we would always recommend seeking medical advice from a dermatologist or doctor. And don’t get too stressed about it. Finding what works takes time, but it will be so worth it in the end.