Millions of people worldwide are plagued by eczema, a chronic skin inflammation that, at best, makes life miserable. Ultimately, there’s no point in debating the reasons behind your condition; what’s important is understanding why you have eczema and what you can do about it.

I want you to have an arsenal of treatments at your disposal that will either keep your eczema under control or, if you have a progressive disease with limited effectiveness of conventional treatments, provide an avenue to try something else.

The focus of naturopathic treatment is to align the body’s ability to heal itself. In this article, we will explore what causes eczema, describe the conventional treatment options available, and then explore naturopathic options so you know what’s an appropriate choice for yourself or someone you care for.

What is Eczema?

This is a general term used for different types of skin rash in which patches of red, inflamed skin are painfully itchy. The commonest forms of eczema include:

Atopic Dermatitis: The most common form, often linked to allergies.

Contact Dermatitis: Triggered by direct contact with irritants or allergens.

Dyshidrotic Eczema: Causes small, itchy blisters on the hands and feet.

Nummular Eczema: Characterized by round, coin-shaped spots on the skin.

Seborrheic Dermatitis: Affects oily areas of the body, like the scalp.

Stasis Dermatitis: Occurs in the lower legs due to poor blood flow.

Mild symptoms – like itching and redness ­­– can progress to blisters and crusting that can interfere with quality of life.

Causes and Risk Factors

Eczema has no single cause but a multifactorial cause due to several genetic, environmental and related causes. The major causes and risk factors of eczema are as follows:

Genetic Predisposition: A family history of eczema, allergies, or asthma increases risk.

Immune System Dysfunction: Abnormal immune responses can trigger inflammation.

Environmental Factors: Pollutants, climate changes, and allergens like pollen and pet danger.

Skin barrier defects: The most common factor in eczema is a mutation in the filaggrin gene – a protein that forms a protective outer layer on the skin and allows it to retain hydration.

Allergens and Irritants: Soaps, detergents, perfumes, and certain fabrics can trigger flare-ups.

Stress and Emotional Factors: Stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms, highlighting the mind-skin connection.

Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menstrual cycles can worsen eczema.

Infections: Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can aggravate the skin condition.

Food: Your child’s eczema may be caused or provoked by an allergy or sensitivity to a particular food – especially milk, dairy products, gluten, wheat, or nuts.

Understanding these root causes helps tailor effective treatment plans.

Conventional Treatments for Eczema

Conventional medical treatments aim to reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Common options include:

Topical corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory and antipruritic (itch-relieving) drugs that, when used for many years, can result in skin thinning.

Oral Medications: Antihistamines for itching, antibiotics for infections, and corticosteroids for severe cases.

Phototherapy: Controlled exposure to ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation.

Biologics: Target specific components of the immune system to reduce inflammation.

While these treatments can be quite effective, they have side effects and can never address the underlying cause of eczema.

Naturopathic Approaches to Eczema

This is the foundation of naturopathy: union with nature means the body can and will heal itself, in the sense that this ‘healing’ is what it strives for when it is allowed to rest back in what it perceives as a natural, balanced state. The remedies that naturopaths recommend for eczema are things that typically counter the underlying issues in a holistic, non-invasive way. They are systemic, body-wide treatments and almost always gentler than their pharmaceutical counterparts.

Naturopathic Treatment Options

1. Diet and Nutrition

Cut down on flares by reducing inflammation – don’t eat the baddies and add in the good guys. Stay away from unhealthy fats and fill up on green leafy vegetables, antioxidant-rich fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat) found in salmon and flax seeds.

Do not consume foods that cause pain/weakness/discomfort/fluid retention/cramping/emesis/abdominal pain/gas/diarrhea.

Hydration: Drinking plenty of water helps maintain skin hydration and overall health.

2. Herbal Remedies

Chamomile and Calendula. Both herbs have been used for centuries for their anti-inflammatory, calming actions. It can be taken either as tea or applied topically in a cream.

Licorice Root is a natural steroid and anti-inflammatory that is available in cream and supplements.

Aloe Vera: Soothes and moisturizes the skin, reducing itching and inflammation.

3. Supplements

Essential Fatty Acids: fish oil and evening primrose oil Essential fatty acids are utilized to treat inflammation and skin barrier function.

Probiotics: As gut health and skin health are linked, probiotics can help modulate the immune system, making eczema symptoms easier to manage.

Vitamins and Mineral*: Vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin E support skin function and immunity.

4. Hydration and Moisturization

Proper Hydration: Ensuring adequate water intake is crucial for skin health.

1. Natural moisturizers: coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil can be used as part of a healthy post-shave care routine to combat irony.

5. Stress Management

Mediation/yoga: Meditation or yoga can lower stress levels and reduce the frequency of eczema symptoms.

Deep Breathing Exercises: Simple techniques to manage stress and improve overall well-being.

Adequate Sleep: Ensuring quality sleep helps the body repair and maintain skin health.

women scratching because of eczema sensitivity

Case Studies and Testimonials

A lot of people got solved by naturopathic treatment, and a lot of them claimed to have had a positive response, especially people with harsh atopic dermatitis; Individuals found the right response the first time on a combination of diets (going wheat and lactose-free, then gluten-free), a hiatus from dairy and meat, herbs and stress management techniques.

That’s the start of the testimonials for naturopaths in the Natural News story: ‘A therapeutic approach which seeks to discover and address the root causes and to promote the spontaneous expression of deep‑down human self‑healing processes will most often lead to significant or complete reversal of eczema symptoms.

Conclusion

While eczema has many causes, genetic and environmental, conventional medicine’s treatment is most often directed at the symptoms. When we address the causes in a more holistic sense through naturopathic treatments, not only can we maintain our patients more safely, but we can also help them heal so that not only are the symptoms kept at bay, but the survivors of childhood eczema can thrive.

Many naturopathic treatments focus on diet, herbs, and supplements and issue prescriptions for hydration, stress management, and emotional well-being. As we get to the root of what’s driving skin disease, we see a true improvement in symptoms such as inflammation and itching in the long term. Over time, I believe that we will see naturopathic treatments becoming far more prevalent as we navigate this very difficult disease called eczema.