Eczema, a.k.a. atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that can begin in infancy. In fact, 60 percent of children with eczema develop it before the age of one year. This skin condition tends to affect people with a family history of asthma, allergies, hay fever, or rhinitis.
Eczema has been described as the “itch that rashes.” It is characterized by intense itching that provokes scratching. This, in turn causes the skin to become chapped, to ooze, and to even become infected. Chronic scratching can also lead to dry, scaly, and thickened skin, a condition known as lichenification.
There are three basic types of eczema, itching, dry, and oozing. In my clinical experience all three types are often the result of the imbalances caused in the body by poor digestion and food and environmental sensitivities. Food sensitivities are often the culprit, especially with young children.
Genetic predisposition, environmental sensitivities, emotional difficulties, stress, and liver toxicity also contribute to eczema. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine has been unable to pinpoint exact causes and can offer no significant treatments besides temporary relief of symptoms.
Allergies and Sensitivities Can Cause Eczema
In my nearly twenty years of practice working with food and environmental sensitivities in both adults and children, my experience has shown me that eczema is often caused by a variety of food and environmental allergens. The most common include sensitivities to vitamin C found in citrus and other fruits, wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, sugars, soy, food additives, sulfites, artificial colors, gums, tomatoes, meat, fish, pickles, relishes, vanilla, fats and chocolate.
There are many other types of food and environmental factors that I have observed to cause eczema. These include sensitivities to:
Pollens and grasses
Gum, acacia and Arabic, found in creams and cheeses
Lanolin, found in chewing gum
Nickel, found in hydrogenated fats and coins
Formaldehyde, found in clothing (cotton or blends labeled durable-press, wash-and-wear, shrink-proof, wrinkle-resistant, drip-dry, no-iron, or permanent press), as well as rayon, acetate blends, polyester blends, flameproof sleepwear, and woolens
Cosmetics, deodorants, soaps containing lanolin, lip gloss, scented toilet paper, and fragrances found in perfumes, soaps, and detergents
Some kinds of paper towels
Tomatoes, meat and fish products, relishes, sauces, vanillin, artificial flavors, milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, and chocolate
Physical sensitivities to heat, cold, and sun radiation
Linseed oil found in paints, varnishes, and furniture polishes
Mercury found in topical ointments, disinfectants, insecticides, and amalgams (fillings of the teeth)
Dust, pollens, pollution, molds, and the chlorine found in water
Orris root, found in some cosmetics
Parabensm, a preservative found in most drugs and cosmetics
The dyes used in colorized sections of newspapers and magazines
Potassium dichromate, yellow paints, tanned leather, some bleaches, anti-rust compounds, glues, ink, and cement
Potassium iodide fund in table salt
Dry cleaning chemicals
Chloroform, acetone, benzene, turpentine, and ether
Poison ivy and poison oak
Dyes used in clothing, shoes, and textiles (especially black, blue and brown)
Rubber and rubber compounds, found in rubber bands, adhesive tape, bandages, and elasticized underwear
Antibacterial agents found in soaps
Some prescription drugs and antiseptics
Animal dander and dust mites
Cinnamon oil used as a flavoring in toothpaste, mouthwash, and candy
Foods such as soft drinks, ice cream, baked goods, condiments, meats, and chewing gum
There Is Hope: How to Treat Eczema
While mainstream medicine commonly uses cortisone to arrest eczema, natural approaches are more successful in the long run because they attack the cause of this skin disorder. Let’s take a look at some strategies to help alleviate the symptoms of eczema.
First and foremost, in my experience, taking a full-spectrum, vegetarian digestive enzyme with meals can either reduce or eliminate an eczema reaction when certain foods are ingested. I have seen children at the BioSET clinic who were sensitive to the great majority of the foods they were eating. However, once they began taking a digestive enzyme before meals, their lives changed completely. Their skin improved and they became less sensitive to foods and other factors in their environment. Enzymes also reduce food cravings, which lead to over-eating, which can cause an attack of eczema, since digestive enzymes increase the absorption of the nutrients in the foods you eat.
Here are some other important strategies:
Eliminate milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, citrus, and chocolate from the diet. I have never seen a child with eczema who is not sensitive to these foods.
Supplement with flavonoids such as quercitin, grape seed extract, bilberry, and green tea extract.
Taking licorice is helpful in improving eczema.
Take adequate amounts of vitamin A and the mineral Zinc.
Chamomile cream and glycerrhetnic acid (derived from licorice root) ointment work well to heal eczema. Both have been used successfully in clinical studies. Olive oil also works well for dry eczema.
Bathe your child only once or twice a week. Water can be irritating and soaps can be drying.
Choose soft fabrics since rough-fibered clothing can be irritating and cause itching.
Double-rinse clothing and use mild soap instead of detergent.
Studies have found that taking Gamma-linolenic acid can improve eczema.
Eczema also responds well to omega-3 fatty acids, best obtained by eating fatty cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring or taking a fish oil supplement. Flaxseed oil is helpful, especially if you are a vegetarian.
Sharing a story that occurred in my clinic a couple of weeks ago:
A young boy, age 4 has being seeing me for a few months suffering with severe eczema and asthma. After desensitizing with BioSET for many foods, environmental contactants and pollen sensitivities, his eczema and asthma has been greatly improved. The parents were thrilled. I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks, so I was looking forward to his visit a couple of weeks ago. His mother reported that he had a flare up of his eczema on his face, and wrists, and she was not sure what triggered it. The BioSET system can often pinpoint the reaction and hopefully clear it during that visit with excellent results. After testing for a half hour, nothing we could find seemingly was the culprit. I then tested him for latex, (something honestly we never tested) and sure enough he was evident that latex was the culprit. The mother said, gee I don’t know what this is from, and then she went AHA !!- he has been playing with balloons, a new toy !. And latex is the powder in the balloons and interestingly enough, he has been eating tons of avocados and bananas which have concomitant allergic ingredients. The detective work was done, and now to clear this sensitivity. As we began to desensitize him with BioSET, his eczema had already begun to improve right there in the office. This is an example of how eczema is often a result of foods and environmental sensitivities and even those toys that our children handle each day. As for adults, the cosmetics, shampoos, conditioner and body creams can also be culprits as well as the foods you eat the most.
I say this each day: The foods you crave the most are the foods one is most sensitive !
For more information on how to fight eczema, skin problems, and sensitivities to chemicals or foods, please visit my website http://www.bioset.com or read my book The Food Allergy Cure