How to Treat Your Eczema Naturally
What Causes Eczema?
Based on personal observations and reading various books I believe that
eczema is caused by a yeast overgrowth (caused by use of antibiotics
(because antibiotics kill bacteria but not yeast, allowing them to take over
in your gut) or transfer of yeast infection from the mother). Overgrowth of
yeast in the gut causes leaky gut (the yeast physically bore holes in the
stomach and get into the surrounding tissue), the presence of holes in the
gut causes partly digested food to leak out of the gut into the surrounding
tissue. The bodies way of dealing with this is to push the partly digested
food out to the skin, causing inflammation. Yeast overgrowth also produces
extra toxins that your liver must detoxify, causing your liver to be
overworked and also use your skin to get rid of unwanted toxins. Taking a
probiotic helps restore your normal gut microorganisms and control the
yeast. Dairy and gluten seem to cause more problems when leaked into the
surrounding tissue than a lot of other foods. Overgrowth of yeast also
causes itchy skin as seen in eczema.
Signs you have a yeast overgrowth include:
- Cravings for sugar, starchy foods like bread, fruit, juice, chocolate,
- Red itchy skin, yellow scaly patches, white patches on skin (as seen in
- White coating in mouth/genital area
- Irritability/mood swings
- Food intolerances
- Sensitivity to odours and chemicals
- Feel worse on rainy humid days
- Bloated stomach
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Signs of food intolerance:
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Skin problems
- Craving for the food you are intolerant to (due to an endorphin rush when
the food is consumed)
- Upset digestion (diarrhoea, constipation, bloating)
- Muscle aches and pains
- Mood swings
- Sneezing, running nose
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Signs your liver is not working well:
- Yellow whites of the eyes
- Pale complexion
- Bad breath/body odour
- Dry itchy skin
- Poorly digested food (diarrhoea)
- Energy crashes
- Intolerance to food additives
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Steps to take to Treat Eczema Naturally:
1. Make sure your eczema is not caused by a fungal/bacterial overgrowth on the skin. This is especially important if you have had eczema for a while.
- Apply either apple cider vinegar (diluted 1 part to 3 parts water) or colloidal silver then coconut oil to your skin three times a day for three days. If your eczema improves you may have already eliminated the initial cause of the eczema and your skin is just infected. Sometimes ringworm is misdiagnosed for eczema, since the rashes can be similar. Continue treating the infection until your skin heals. Sun exposure is also good heal skin infections.
2. DO NOT EAT SUGAR, this includes from processed foods, fruit and honey! For an adult the maximum amount of fruit you should have is half a piece (e.g. apple) at morning tea and half a piece at afternoon tea until your eczema has settled down. Please scale this portion down for children. Some people may also have trouble with salicylates from fruit and vegetables.
3. I recommend excluding certain foods that are usually associated with eczema. These foods are:
- Dairy (may take up to four weeks to show an improvement in eczema)
- Gluten (and wheat) because it contributes to leaky gut
- Nuts: peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds
- Acidic foods (e.g. tomatoes, citrus, grapes), berries
- Food additives (artificial colourings (102, 104, 107, 110, 122-129, 132, 133, 142, 151, 155, 160b) preservatives (200-203, 210-213, 220-228, 249-252, 280-283), antioxidant (310-321), flavour enhancers (620-635), artificial sweetener (951, 954)).
If symptoms do not improve dramatically after two weeks I recommend trying to get your doctor to do food intolerance testing (IgG antibody blood test for all foods), you may not have success with your doctor. If not, then I took my son to a naturopath for food intolerance testing, a friend had good success with an immunologist (they tested for lots of foods and all sorts of things like grasses and dust mites, her sons eczema seems to be 95% food related).
4. Take a probiotic with multiple strains of bacteria. I found one with just Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidus improved our sons digestion, but did not improve his eczema, nor did the Lactobacillus rhamnosus that is recommended for eczema. I have found Biokult (Lifestream) Advanced Probiotic gave a massive improvement within one week, try a different one when the first one runs out. It may also be helpful to increase the dose over time.
5. Eat as much probiotic containing food as possible such as yoghurt, kefir and homemade saurkraut. You can make yoghurt and kefir at home using coconut cream. For yoghurt heat 500 mls of coconut cream to 40-44 degrees celcius and add two Biokult or other probiotic capsule and ferment for 24 hours in a thermos or yoghurt maker. For kefir you need to purchase kefir grains, heat 500 mls of coconut cream to 25-30 degrees celcius and 1 tablespoon of kefir grains and ferment for 24 hours in a thermos or yoghurt maker.
6. Follow a good whole food diet with lots of vegetables and minimal refined processed food and sugar to assist your liver. Eat a lot of bone broth and homemade jelly to help heal your leaky gut. Eat more garlic and onions to help rid your body of yeast. Yeast infections are a sign you are eating too much sugar and refined foods, you may also have low stomach acid levels, do not drink liquids with meals. Take a drink of diluted cider vinegar or lemon juice 15 minutes before meals to increase your stomach acid levels. You may also benefit from taking a pepsin HCl supplement if you have low stomach acid levels.
7. Give a good multivitamin (since nutrient digestion has been upset and zinc in particular may be deficient), fish oil and evening primrose oil (as fats are not metabolised correctly, you will have dry scaly skin if this is the case) daily. You may need to take an anticandida supplement if you are still showing signs of candida infection, such as bloating.
8. In the short term you may need to use an antibacterial and antifungal cream if the solutions suggested in step one do not work and the skin is red and infected. Calamine cream can also reduce itching as can a bath with oatmeal. You can give baths with ¼ of a cup of salt and ¼ cup of Epsom salts to assist the skin to heal or ¼ cup of baking soda to help with itching. Moisturise afterwards with coconut oil as other moisturisers can feed micro-organisms, but watch out for infection (when the skin gets red and hot). Keep nails cut short if skin is itchy.
9. Use only cotton clothing when in contact with the skin so you do not sweat.
10. Use half the amount of laundry powder (a lot of people I know recommend Persil sensitive for eczema).
11. Once the yeast infection has been under control for at least three months the gut should be fairly well repaired, you may be able to reintroduce foods that have caused food intolerances at a rate of one per week. Note if symptoms come back the food intolerance may need more time or may be a permanent problem.
12. If your symptoms are not improving you may need to reduce histamine containing foods, then salicylate containing foods for a month. Histamine symptoms are: puffy face, hives, allergy, rashes, red around eyes and hayfever symptoms and sometimes asthma. Salicylate symptoms are: red ears, hyperactivity, wetting, rashes.
Books I recommend to Help Treat Eczema Naturally
The book "Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia" by Natasha McBride is very useful, especially for healing leaky gut, liver detoxification, yeast overgrowth, eczema and allergies. It is written for treating Autism, but also deals with eczema. Also has recipes to make probiotic foods.
I also like the "Practial Paleo" book by Diane Sanfilippo, it talks in easy to understand terms what can go wrong with your digestion and how to fix it. It also discusses how to identify if you are digesting your food well. I recommend the Autoimmune diet protocol from this book. Also has methods to make saurkraut and other fermented foods.
There is a book called "The Eczema Diet" by Karen Fischer which has a lot more information about eczema and a recommended diet to follow. There is so much information it may be overwhelming at first. Her recommended diet is fairly restrictive but if your eczema is proving stubborn I recommend following this book.
There is also a book on food intolerances "The Food Intolerance Bible" by
Antony J. Haynes and Antoinette Savill that may be useful.
Hope this helps