Written by: Antje Verluen
Food is skincare; skincare is food?
Most tips to help prevent your eczema from getting worse, deal with influencing your eczema from the outside. Such as avoiding cremes that are heavily scented (and don’t forget your laundry detergent) that irritate your skin. And I’m going to assume there is a tube of colloidal oatmeal wherever you go. After a big flare-up my eczema began spreading to more areas, and I started researching which foods could have a positive influence. Here’s what I found on what you can do from the inside out. Food as skincare, oh yes.
Keep a record and find triggers
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that identifying triggers for your eczema takes time. A lot of it. Eczema triggers are very personal and it takes time for you to truly see the effect a certain type of food has on your body. It’s therefore wise to keep track of your diet and log everything you eat over a longer period of time. By that I mean at least two months. Open a spreadsheet and start logging (Android users: there’s an app for that).
The common culprits
As you know, the reasons for eczema are personal. It does help to know the most common culprits. These are cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat/gluten, fish and nuts. Use this list to start with your food-log by experimenting with going without these (one at a time) for a number of weeks. Keep track of the state of your eczema to see if your skin reacts. Oh and kick refined sugar to the curb if you haven’t already (it hinders eczema recovery).
The common calmers
Add peas to your diet! Peas are known to calm eczema, apart from their other healthy benefits. Fermented vegetables are also a must on your list, if you appreciate the taste. Look for fermented vegetables that are free of nightshades. Omega 3’s are important, but look for a plant based source.
Herbs herbs herbs
Don’t forget to stock up on herbs (and use them!). These are the ones that can heal skin, reduce itches or repair your immune system: basil, burdock, calendula, cat’s claw, calendula, chickweed, chamomile, dong quai, ginseng, ginger, parsley, stinging nettle, turmeric and elderberry.
If there is one thing that is known all over the world for having a good effect on your skin, eczema prone or not, it is of course water. Our bodies make up almost 60% of this stuff! While water from the outside (showers and baths) can dehydrate your skin, drinking water is always beneficial. To make it extra beneficial for your eczema-ridden skin, drink mineral or remineralized water instead of tap water. The natural minerals have shown to reduce the effects of eczema (redness, itchiness). As a guideline, try to drink half your weight (pounds) in ounces of water a day.
Have a cup-o-tea
To help you achieve the half-your-weight-in-ounces goal described above, make yourself a cup of Oolong tea. Research shows that this tea has a helpful effect, which is probably due to the anti-allergenic properties of tea polyphenols. Other tea that are mentioned often but not (yet) backed up by science are: dandelion root and chamomile tea.
A 2005 study found that patients who consumed dietary hempseed oil effectively reduced inflammation, dryness and itchiness. But there are times when you don’t have the time to experiment with your diet to see if it has an effect on your eczema. When you’re dealing with a flare-up, you want to relieve your skin asap. Applying CBD-oil could be that relief. Cannabinoids, the active compounds of cannabis, are immuno-suppressant and dampen the immune system. They basically tell your out-of-control immune system to tone it down. Thanks hemp!
Did you find that your diet has an effect on your skin and eczema? I’d love to hear your personal experiences! Share them with us in the comments.