Do you suffer from dry, cracking, itchy skin? You may be experiencing a common skin disease that affects many people from the dry, cold winter months: eczema.
What is Eczema
This common but irritating skin condition is characterized by severe dry skin, recurrent migraines, and persistent itching. Although not life-threatening, it’s uncomfortable at least, and in extreme cases it may be socially and emotionally debilitating. Not only can the itching induce a man to scratch until they are bleeding, but the effected regions can become painful and result in scarring. Not to mention the emotional toll of having to cover up or conceal embarrassing rashes or sores.
The victim is also much more vulnerable to skin ailments. Severe cases involve skin swelling, crusting, blistering, cracking, oozing and bleeding. Breaking and cracking of the skin allows bacteria and viruses to enter the skin surface, which may cause more serious infection.
Eczema tends to run in families and is generally linked to allergies, hay fever and asthma. Modern medicine doesn’t appear to have much of an idea why it happens to some people rather than to others. The experts have determined however, that this skin ailment has both psychological and physical triggers.
On a psychological level
Stress, anxiety, depression and anxiety can cause or aggravate an outbreak. Controlling stress and negative emotions can have a favorable influence on the psoriasis sufferer. Yoga, meditation and other calming actions can have a positive influence on the length and severity of an episode.
Physical causes fall into two categories: dietary (food related) and ecological. These triggers have to be removed or reduced in order for the problem to be efficiently treated.
Dietary triggers consist of mainly sensitivities or allergies to certain foods. Grano, eggs, dairy products, soy, corn, nuts, food additives, preservatives and coloring are the primary culprits for flare-ups.
Environmental causes are extensive and may include: certain compounds, scented soaps, perfumes or laundry detergents, pesticides, synthetic fibers, rough fabrics, wool and the fabric treatment on fresh garments (“sizing”), excessive perspiration, dust and dust mites, animal dander, mold, pollen, tobacco smoke, and pollution.
Prevention and Remedies
The fantastic news is that a mix of prevention, natural and hydration remedies for the symptoms may control or even eliminate this persistent skin issue.
Unfortunately, traditional medical treatments for psoriasis include drugs such as antihistamines to calm inflammation and redness, and steroid creams to reduce itching and promote healing. However, drugs have undesirable side effects and mask the problem without addressing the cause. Antihistamines can dry out skin, further aggravating the matter, and steroid creams contribute to thinning of the skin and premature aging of skin tissues. Both should obviously be avoided if at all possible.
Natural therapy addresses the causes of dry skin, and treats the symptoms through the use of specially targeted essential oils and botanical extracts.
Prevention is first step in the successful treatment of psoriasis. For potential dietary causes, you might have to do an elimination diet to ascertain your particular triggers. Eliminate all the most common triggers (eggs, wheat, dairy products, soy, corn, nuts, food additives, preservatives and colorings) from the diet for two to four weeks, while treating your dry spots or rashes aggressively to accelerate the healing process. Slowly re-introduce possible dietary triggers, one weekly. When you get a response, you’ve found your private trigger foods or food. You then have to remove this food from your diet entirely to stop the re-occurrence.
With environmental triggers, it can be tricky to ascertain exactly which environmental trigger is accountable. Scratch testing for allergies having a doctor may give clues to which ecological variables you might be sensitive to, however it’s very limited in extent and rarely evaluations for chemical sensitivities.
If you suspect environmental factors are to blame, the best choice is to create changes in your lifestyle to be able to decrease these environmental causes. Switching to non-toxic, natural cleaning products and chemical-free personal care products can help or remove a number of the environmental triggers. Purchase natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton (organic if possible) and always wash clothes several times before wearing. Use just fragrance-free products and chemical-free laundry detergents, and wash in very hot water to reduce dust mites. Finally, eliminate smoking inside, and clean up indoor air with a powerful HEPA air filter to reduce other airborne triggers like pollen and dust.
Moisture is the next step to successful therapy. Properly moisturized skin is healthier, more resilient and flexible, and creates a more effective barrier against pathogens. Drinking sufficient water is the first step in helping your skin stay hydrated. Avoid extremely salty foods, preservatives, caffeine and some other trigger foods, which might dehydrate you in addition to your skin.
Don’t soak too long in hot tubs or take hot showers; they rob skin of moisture and aggravate inflammation. Short, lukewarm showers with a gentle, non-drying soap are best. Moreover, think about installing a de-chlorinating water filter on your shower to eliminate potentially irritating chemicals that can dry and irritate your skin. After showering, always employ an effective moisturizer immediately to lock in moisture.
Finally, you’ll have to take care of the symptoms. Avoid moisturizers and lotions with fragrance, alcohol or other chemical ingredients that are bothersome. Natural remedies are just as powerful or more so than steroids to treat the itching and encourage recovery, without the unwanted side effects. Beneficial ingredients to look for are oatmeal, shea butter, cocoa butter and carrot seed oil. Additional extracts and oils which have been demonstrated to be effective are sunflower, Cardiospermum halibacum, neem, rose hip, calendula and cranberry seed.