If you suffer from itchiness, red patches or rashes you may have eczema or dermatitis. I have experienced stress triggered eczema only a few times in my life. I used shea butter and essential oils to calm this whilst upping my intake of magnesium. Here we will look at the different types of dermatitis and how to address them inside and out.
Acute or chronic inflammation caused by direct contact with an irritant and/ or chemical. This allergic response usually occurs at the site of contact and when the reaction is triggered by a few substances within a product it can lead to sensitivity of many substances.
Characteristics include discoloured and raised patches of skin that are sometimes filled with pus. Signs include itching, burning, stinging, hot, swollen and/or oozing skin that sometimes has crusting and secondary infection. This condition is cleared up quickly by stopping contact with the agent that is causing the symptoms.
Atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema)
‘Atopic’ means family history or tendency to develop one or more of a group of conditions such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, skin sensitivities and/or hives. This non infectious inflammatory skin condition is often the result of the bodies attempt at eliminating accumulated toxins through the skin. It can also be due to lack of production of natural skin protecting oils. Eczema can flare up during times of stress.
Characteristics: small pimples especially on the knees and elbows. Signs: itching that is severe and prolonged. Intolerance to primary irritants is common, emotional stress, temperature and humidity changes, wool garments, bacterial skin infection.
Inflammatory scaling condition of the scalp, face and sometimes other parts of the body. Cradle cap in infants is an example of this condition.
Butters: Cacoa, shea, mango, avocado or aloe vera
Oils: Jojoba, avocado, coconut, borage or rosehip
Extracts: Colloidal oatmeal, marshmallow, licorice root, calendula or aloe vera
Aromatherapy oils: German Chamomile, lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, everlasting, juniper, Cedarwood
Reduce itching and physical trauma from scratching: German chamomile, lavender, sandalwood
Anti-inflammatory (calm agro skin): German Chamomile, everlasting, yarrow
Reduce weeping and oozing: Juniperberry
Oils to assist detox to decrease eczema: Carrot seed, rosemary, everlasting
Oils to add in times of stress: Bergamot, geranium, lavender, ylang ylang, sandalwood.
- Lifestyle factors to consider include allergies in the diet and food hypersensitivity. The avoidance of common allergens such as cows milk, eggs, cheese food additives and refined sugars.
- Test for food or chemical hypersensitivity. Common sensitivities include cosmetics, hair dyes, shampoo, fragrances, insecticides, polishes, nasal sprays, toothpastes, detergents, soap and in particular lanolin.
Vital that clinical type and the stage of the eczema is treated accurately.
Magnesium deficiency: When the bodies magnesium levels are low histamine is produced. Histamines cause swelling blood vessels to leak fluid into the skin and tissues resulting in red patches of blotchy, itchy skin. A deficiency in magnesium also reduces elasticity and moisture levels within the skin which equals dryness and inflammation.
Food Sources: Raw Cacao, pumpkin seeds, spinach, quinoa, soy beans and cashews.
Supplements: Ethical nutrients powder (Recharge and relax). It contains high levels of magnesium as well as other stress supporting factors. As stress can also be a major contributor to eczema this is very helpful. Also has Vitamins B3 and B6 and zinc.
Vitamin C – Natural antihistamine blocking histamines (the chemical produced and stored in the body that is released during an allergic reaction. The role of histamine is to cope with the invading irritant or allergen, however, by doing this it also causes allergic symtoms). Vitamin C also plays an active role in strengthening the skin.
Food Sources: Red capsicum, papaya, tofu, sesame seeds, spinach.
Omega 3 – Reduces the inflammatory compounds in the body. This essential fatty acid assists with the health of the cell membrane acting as a barrier blocking out harmful toxins. Nutrients as well as waste products cross in and out of the cell membrane.
Food Sources: Flaxseeds and chia seeds.
Supplements: Algal Omega 3 DHA/EPA supplements are highly effective in providing beneficial levels of cruelty free sustainable Omega 3. It is a diet high in algae that makes fish oil so high in omega content.
Zinc – Is also said to be a consideration with these skin conditions as this mineral plays a role in protecting the layers of the skin. Low levels of zinc can cause the skin to become very dry, flaky dry and cracked. This often leads to inflammation and itchiness contributing to eczema. There are enzymes and proteins that rely on zinc to regenerate skin cells and protect skin layers.
Food Sources: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, cashew, buckwheat, pine nuts, pecans, soy beans.
Supplements: The most bioavailable form of zinc supplementation is Zinc picolinate.
A note on creams containing drugs, long term use of steroidal creams to control flare ups of these skin conditions can lead to a change in the way that your body uses sugars and fats. These changes are so drastic that it can lead to insulin resistance and even type 2 diabetes.1