Eczema

E163D082-0FC7-49A7-BA1A-F90F66B7EA30

Exactly What Is Eczema?

Eczema (sometimes referred to as atopic dermatitis) is a common condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The severity can vary greatly.

Eczema is most common in children and will typically clear as they age. However, they will often continue to have sensitive skin AND eczema will often return again in later life.

71113EA2-EBC6-402B-A5FC-976F497E8A3C.png

As I’ve explained in previous articles, our skin should act as a protective barrier against external irritants and bacteria. However when the skin is affected by eczema (and the lipid barrier is compromised), external irritants and bacteria are able to penetrate into the skin and moisture is lost . This causes further irritation, inflammation and dryness, which can lead to cracks in the skin, itching, infection etc.

4D9D799B-684E-435C-A44E-061EFFE91243.png

While the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, we do know  that;-

Skin hypersensitivity and reactions are often the by-product of hypervigilant immune system skin cells (called Langerhans cells), thrown into overdrive by triggers such as environmental allergens, stress etc.

To put it simply, eczema is caused by inflammation of the skin.

TRIGGERS, which activate and exacerbate episodes of eczema include diet, hormonal, environmental, stress and lifestyle-related factors.

Common triggers include soap, perfume, detergents, stress and change in temperature or weather. Food allergies can also play a part, especially in young children. Individuals will react differently to different triggers.

Other Triggers

  • Hormones: Women can experience increased eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in the menstrual cycle.
  • Stress: This is not a direct cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse. See mind-skin connection.

Mild cases of eczema can leave the skin irritated, dry, red, scaly and itchy, while the more severe cases can lead to weeping, bleeding and crusting of the skin.

Managing Eczema

For many people, the severity of flare-ups will lessen with maturity, and ‘some’ may completely outgrow it. However, as eczema can come and go throughout life, learning how to manage flare-ups and identifying triggers is the best course of action.

E37FBCFE-B695-48A9-ACDF-82919BEAE63C.png

There are a number of things people with eczema can do to support skin health and alleviate symptoms, such as:

Avoiding external irritants and allergens

Common environmental irritants include:

  • Harsh soaps, bubble baths, some shampoos
  • Wool, nylon
  • Grass and sometimes sand

Common allergens (substances that can aggravate eczema if you are allergic to them) include:

  • pollens;
  • house dust mites;
  • animal dander (small scales from the skin and hair of animals).
  • certain foods.

Note:  an allergy assessment by an allergist will properly identify the allergic triggers.

  • As Overheating can make eczema worse,  therefor try not to have heating too high in winter, bathe in lukewarm water (not too hot), don’t use an electric blanket.
  • Prevent your skin becoming dehydrated and dry (which are two different conditions).
  • Wear cotton and soft fabrics, and avoid rough, scratchy fibers and tight-fitting clothing.
  • Use a mild soap when washing and a non-soap cleanser (such as Soothe gentle cream wash).
  • Gently pat (with a towel) or air dry rather than rubbing the skin dry after bathing.
  • Avoiding rapid changes of temperature and activities (like heated yoga) that make you sweat excessively.
  • learn and avoiding individual eczema triggers
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
  • keep childrens fingernails short to prevent breaking the skin when itching.
  • Use an emollient daily to keep the skin moisturised.
  • Wear cool breathable natural fibres.
  • Eczema can get worse when stressed or anxious, so consider relaxation techniques such as meditation. See Mind-Skin-Axis.
  • Check ingredients of skincare products before use.
  • See common skin conditions

Nutrition and skin health

As certain food allergy’s intolerance’s can aggravating eczema, keeping a food diary can help pin point the particular foods that may be causing flare-ups. Speaking to a nutritional professional will point you in the right direction here.

It is important to remember that eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder. Therefore avoiding inflammatory foods can greatly help manage eczema. See gut-skin connection article.

When it comes to healthy eating, certain Vitamins and Nutrients can have a very positive effect on skin health. Some of the key nutrients believed to be essential in maintaining good skin health include; essential fatty acids (EFAs such as salmon, wallnuts or Sea Buckthorn), Zinc, Probiotics, Selenium, Vitamin E (avocados), Vitamin D, Beta-carotene etc. See here for more info.

Everyone is individual and what your body needs, may be different to someone else’s. A nutrition professional can help you understand what foods may be causing your skin issues and guide you in the right direction.

Moisterisers / Emollients

Moisturising is one of the easiest (and most important) measures in protecting the skin barrier. It can also prevent itching and scratching, as well as reduce eczema flare-ups.

As eczema is a chronic condition, it is important to incorporate regular moisturising into your daily skincare routine.  – normally a cream or ointment that softens and soothes the skin. For very dry skin, this should be done twice per day.

  • Avoid moisturisers that contain perfumes which can irritate the skin.
  • Moisturisers should also be applied within 3 minutes of bathing to ‘lock in the moisture’

Rodan + Fields offers dermatologically tested and proven products that are gentle and safe enough to use on childrens delicate skin. Steps 2 & 3 from the Soothe Regimen are two of the products that I recommend. If you are looking for relief and just don’t know where to turn, please feel free to contact me to see if these products are right for you and your family.

Note: emollient is just another word for a moisturiser

Steroid creams and ointments?

Creams or ointments containing corticosteroid are commonly used for flare-ups of eczema. Steroid preparations can relieve itching by reducing inflammation. However it is important to discuss this with a dermatologist as using high-strength steroid ointments or creams over long periods can be associated with  side effects. Short term use intermitted (when required) is a better option.

Anti-itch preparations for eczema

Cold compresses, oatmeal baths, coal tar and pine tar preparations may help to relieve itchy skin.

Antihistamines are occasionally recommended to relieve itching that is disrupting sleep. Their benefit is partially due to the sedating effect – they do not completely suppress the itch. Sedating antihistamines (such as Phenergan) are therefore best taken at night.

The mind-skin connection

Some skin conditions, including eczema, have a psychological component. This is a dynamic is referred to as psychodermatology.  See more information here…

Also see

Light Therapy benefits

6CB971D3-82F7-4769-BBD7-0A919BE457BA.png

Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse)

Psychodermatogy – The Mind-Skin Connection

Our mind and skin are very much connected. This is now being referred to as Psychodermatogy. Psychological stressors such as chronic depression, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been known to increase flare ups of acne, rosacea, psoriasis, hives, eczema and vitiligo (depigmented white spots on the skin).

According to Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (MD Professor of Dermatology), studies show that “at least 30% of all dermatology patients have some underlying psychological problem that often goes unaddressed”.

Constant stress increases the production of our stress hormone ‘cortisol’. This then triggers inflammation and can also throw off other hormones in our body.  Increased inflammation is not good news for inflammatory skin disorders.

Stress can also disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut. As we know, our gut health can also cause havoc with our skin. See Gut Article

When cortisol levels backfire, it can lead to over activity of oil glands in our skin. The sebaceous glands on the face and neck produce excess sebum, and our pores are more likely to become blocked. Bacteria loves to harvest in these blocked pores, which causes pimples.

FC27F901-A160-480A-82B2-AEB8416EA865.jpeg

Anxiety & other Psychological Conditions can also make it harder to sleep. Studies have shown that sleeplessness seems to have an effect on our skin’s ability to heal. This can then negatively effect skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne etc.

 What else we know about Stress (and other Negative Emotions)

  • When we are anxious or stressed, it becomes much harder to ignore negative sensations, like itching caused by eczema and psoriasis.
  • For psoriasis sufferers –  the immune system really over-responds to stress hormones— which can lead to major flare-ups.
  • Stress hormones also trigger our body’s “fight or flight” response. Blood, oxygen and nutrients are directed to vital areas such as our muscles so that they are ready for action. This means that our non-vital areas such as our SKIN miss out.
  • Cortisol inhibits our bodies repair and healing process. This is not ideal for flare-ups of any inflammatory skin conditions.

 

The Viscous Cycle

Flare-ups of Skin Conditions such as acne and psoriasis can then cause a person to experience more stress, continuing the cycle.

What Can Help

Finding ways to cope with underlying psychological issues (such as stress) can have a very positive impact on improving skin conditions.

  • hypnosis is an option for some people
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • Get more sleep
  • deep breathing exercises
  • seek help from a professional
  • some people fin essential oils useful
  • psychotherapy
  • yoga

 

Exercise Skin Benefits

A Great Read 

first, we make the beast beautiful’ by Sarah Wilson

For more information visit

https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/effects-of-stress-on-your-skin#1

Sea buckthorn – Omega’s for SKIN Health.

Sea buckthorn – a Great Vegetarian Source of Omega Essential Fatty Acids  …and so much more.

For centuries, Sea buckthorn berry has been used in traditional medicine to support healthy blood circulation and the maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes.

It is a natural vegetation source of essential fatty acids including omega-3, omega-6, omega-7 and omega-9. It is also a natural source of antioxidants, contains vitamin C, and amino acids.

Like fish oil, sea buckthorn is beneficial for numerous skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Not only are the berries (of the sea buckthorn) packed full of goodness, the leaves and roots can also be used in different forms as well. Despite its name the bush is actually found on land not in the sea.

54D7FEB8-4A85-4EA3-A7A2-54103A0D77DB

Sea buckthorn is often used in topical skin products, or turned into an oral supplement (capsules). It is a great way for vegetarians to increase their intake of essential omega fatty acids.

Why Omega Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)?

  • They help to keep the skin moist and strong by reducing the amount of water lost through the epidermis (the top layer of skin).
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – especially omega-3 fatty acids, are helpful in the treatment of eczema, rosacea and psoriasis (taken orally and sometimes even topically).
  • Assits with acne.
  • Help prevent premature aging of our skin.
  • Mental Health benefits.
  • Heart Health
  • Help with the management of ADHD

SO …give your Skin a boost and maintain healthy mucous membranes with sea buckthorns (vegetarian) source of essential fatty acids.

Sea buckthorn capsules below

B13B1A7A-AD70-4451-9713-7949BBFAA0AD

Note:  Flaxseeds, chia and walnuts are also good sources of Omega-3 for your Skin.

Common Skin Conditions – What to avoid & what can help.

Four Common Skin Conditions

3CFBDEE1-EA2B-4EC8-A01D-97914FA2C818

Rosacea
An Inflammatory disorder causing redness and sometimes small pimples on the face. The small surface blood vessels (capillaries) enlarge, giving the appearance of a flushed face.
The exact cause is not 100% known. However avoiding the ten below things can help manage the symptoms.
Specific triggers to avoid include stress, high temperatures (including hot baths & saunas), spicy foods, alcohol, some cosmetics, sun exposure, hot drinks and food.

Acne
Obstruction and inflammation of sebaceous glands which leads to infection.
Common triggers include hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause + fluctuations during (certain days) of the menstrual cycle.                                …..See previous adult acne article.

Eczema
Chronic immune-mediated inflammation of the skin involving genetic and environmental factors.
Specific triggers include stress, exposure to allergens (such as dust mite, foods & cosmetics), and dry air.
Linked to asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Psoriasis
A chronic systemic inflammatory disorder. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues in the body. Skin cells build up and form scales and itchy dry patches. Triggers can include stress, infections, medications, sunburn, poor gut health.

10 common causes of these skin conditions

  1. Nutritional deficiencies
  2. Hormonal imbalances
  3. Poor gut health including intestinal dyobiosis
  4. Stress
  5. Thyroid problems
  6. Immune system abnormalities
  7. Infection (bacterial, parasitic or viral)
  8. Medications
  9. Poor hygiene
  10. Allergies

 

Helpful Supplements

– when diet alone isn’t enough

Zinc
Is an absolutely essential micronutrient for the Skin. It helps with tissue growth & repair, inflammation and infection. Deficiency can present as rough or dry skin, dermatitis, skin lesions, an increase in skin infections and slow wound healing.

Vitamin A
Helps prevent skin infection (eg acne), helps with collagen production and wound healing. Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties , helping neutralize free radicals that cause tissue and cellular damage. Consult with your doctor before taking vitamin A supplements when pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Vitamin C
Helps with tissue repair (including healing damaged skin), collagen synthesis, connective tissue, and the skins elasticity. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to dry skin, increased bruising and impaired wound healing.

Essential fatty acids (Omega-3)
Helps with inflammation and wound healing.
Nourishes the Skin and helps prevent moisture loss. Deficiency contributes to eczema, psoriasis, sun spots, dandruff and also thinning hair. Oily fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna have fewer omega-3s than good quality capsules. Omega-3 supplements include Krill oil, Fish Oil or Sea buckthorn oil capsules.

Other Antioxidants (eg vitamin E, selenium, green tea, coenzyme Q10 etc)

Probiotics
Research has shown that the state of your gut has a great deal to do with the condition of your skin. Where there is gut inflammation, there is usually skin inflammation
See Gut Article

Turmeric

Curcumin is the active part of the turmeric plant. It is anti-inflammatory and can help with a wide variety of skin conditions. Curcumin has even been found to help clear mild psoriasis plaques, and prevent flare ups in some sufferers.

Silica
Is required to produce collagen and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Is good for Skin, hair and nails.

Other skin supplements include – echinacea, burdock, sea buckthorn (a vegetarian source of Omega fatty acids), yellow dock, cleavers etc.

Skin Treatments

See LED Light Therapy

Skincare

Soothe has been named as the favourite regimen by The Sydney Morning Herald & has recently been reviewed in Allure. This regimen uses RFp3 Peptite technology -A breakthrough combination of skin soothing peptides & skin detoxifying peptides working with a protease inhibitor at the skins surface to neutralise triggers & reduce visible signs of redness. If you suffer from sensitive, red or irritated skin …..this may be the product for you! It comes with a R+F 60 day money back guarantee. Please contact me to find out how to save 10% on this product and to receive free shipping. Or why not try the Solution Tool to get a personalised Skin Regime

https://visherwood.myrandf.com/au

3E81B982-097A-445C-86F0-75B1254410CF

Some Supplement Recommendations-

72562AAE-542C-4513-9255-F4C2D6ED6B24.jpeg

Note- We know Fish oil has many health benefits due to the essential fatty acids EPA & DHA (omega 3’s). However there are fish oils and there are fish oils. SO many of the ones found in our supermarkets are manufactured cheaply and can even be rancid! BioCeuticals fish oil undergoes strict testing to ensure its purity & to make sure it is of the highest quality, using ethically sourced fish free of heavy metals.