Over the past month or so, I've been sharing on the topic of eczema, and how to naturally and holistically approach it in order to bring both relief and healing. If you missed any of the past posts, here they are:
4) Try Food Eliminations
Eczema as a reaction to a food allergy or sensitivity is very, very common. Some of the most common food suspects are: Wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, shellfish, tomatoes, strawberries, and citrus, though there can be other culprits as well.
Often, these are not true allergies, but rather something that the body has become sensitive to through poor digestion, improper preparation or simply an inability to properly assimilate that particular food. By removing these foods temporarily from the diet, and working to heal the digestive system during that time, many of them can safely be reintroduced with no further problems.
If you have access to a good Naturopath, I would highly recommend a visit to one. They are able to provide detailed food sensitivity testing (such as a Vega or other similar test), and this often highlights sensitivities that you might not have otherwise considered. An alternative would be to have conventional allergy testing done.
If none of these options are available to you, or you would prefer to just do it yourself, you can do an elimination diet (see this
for a fairly good explanation of how to do an elimination diet). The basic idea is that you eliminate all common allergens for a period of time, and then slowly, one by one, reintroduce them and watch carefully for reactions.
While undertaking a diet like this, it's important to strengthen the body and the immune system, and some good ways to do this are to: avoid all refined grains and sugar, take a probiotic supplement (such as acidophilus, or even better, one that contains several different strains of good bacteria), focus on eating nutrient-dense foods and also on getting plenty of fiber and water for good elimination. All of these things will help to heal a weakened digestive system.
5) Consider Detoxification
Though we are unclear of exactly where the toxins have come from, this seems to be one of the major issues for my son. We do our best to avoid toxins in our home, but we are still continually exposed to them through the water supply, the air, the foods we eat (we don't eat perfectly, 100% organic, and even if we did, there are still traces of pesticides and other chemicals from the environment that we can't control), etc. His body seems to have a particularly hard time flushing those toxins out, so that has been our main focus in his treatments.
Supporting the liver, gallbladder, and digestive system are very important, which we did using homeopathics and probiotic supplements. We've also used blood detoxifiers, which included more homeopathics and certain foods that aid with this (especially leafy greens, anything with chlorophyll and also chlorella). We've taken out foods that he was reacting to sensitively, to allow his gut to heal, and to give his body one less thing to have to deal with while trying to flush the toxins.
When you have to take this approach, know that it usually gets worse before it gets better. We've been working at it for about 3 months (less intensely in the last month), and we've seen it flare up much worse during that time. Now it's starting to calm
down a lot more, but we also realize that the toxins aren't all gone yet. We've recently started him on a couple of new things and are continuing on again with some previous ones, so (as I expected) it briefly flared up again, but I am hopeful that we are starting to see it heal more thoroughly.
**Just a note on this- If you are unsure of what you are doing in either food eliminations and especially with detoxification, and quite frankly most of us are (myself included), I would work with a trusted naturopath, certified nutritionist or herbalist, or naturally-minded doctor on this, especially when it is with an infant or child!
This was the last of the series on eczema. Obviously, it's not going to answer every question or concern, and is not completely comprehensive in offering solutions, as it is only from my own personal experience and study. I hope, though, that it's given more food for thought and perhaps some ideas for next steps to take. Thank you for all of your wonderful feedback throughout the series!