This article dwells in detail about how to heal eczema naturally. But the short answer is here: giving first priority to healing from the inside out will wake the body up to righting itself. Support this by outside-in natural applications, to ease the symptoms so the mind and spirit stay strong enough to boost the healing.
It is my firm belief that almost all ailments can be healed naturally. The human body is a miracle. How a sperm and an egg can develop into such a highly complex being, is nothing short of spectacular. How the organs have their unique functions, yet all work in sync to support a breathing, thinking, living being, is beyond the comprehension of these beings.
The same goes for healing. Healing will take place on its own, if we support the body by giving it the best chance.
To learn how to heal eczema naturally, you need this crucial piece of information: the skin is linked to the gut!
This has been the wisdom in many naturopathic medicines, in answering the question of how to heal eczema naturally. In fact, traditional chinese medicine believes that the skin is connected to the lungs as well as the large intestines. That is why for many people with eczema, they have a tendency to be asthmatic as well, since poor skin health is strongly linked to poor lungs health.
The lungs govern the proper opening and closing of the millions of skin pores, through which the external environment interacts with the body internally. So if our lungs health is compromised, it shows up in the skin. If the lungs cannot expel waste gases effectively, strange as it may sound, but the skin suffers. This website provides more information: www.meridianpress.net
The lungs are paired to the large intestines, through meridians that transfer energy to and from these organs. Coincidentally (or not), large intestines also expel waste materials! They take in the substances passed down from the small intestines, absorb the water back into the body, and expel all the other unwanted material.
When the large intestines are sluggish and not doing their job properly, it’s no wonder that the wastes try to expel through the skin. I have also always observed this about my daughter, M, with eczema: whenever she is constipated, her eczema itch flares up like nobody’s business. She would scream helplessly and claw at her skin as she tries to do her bowel movement.
We have since resolved M’s constipation issues through correcting the order in which we consume our fruits: before meals on their own, never with or right after meals.
Knowing all this information, it then brings to light the knowledge and wisdom that eczema warriors need to look into not just what is put on the skin, but more importantly internal health, especially elimination, detox, and of course proper digestion of food, since large intestines are part of the gut, the entire digestive system.
The first place to start will be what we put into our mouths – whether they are clean food or not.
You are what you eat
The choices we make on a meal to meal basis affects our health so much and so directly, that it determines our physical, emotional, and psychological states. Putting natural, wholesome, and unadulterated foods into our mouths is the minimum that we owe our bodies. Treat our bodies this way, with utmost respect and giving it what it essentially needs, and our bodies will repay us with immense health for a lifetime.
If you have been eating junk food, do not be too hard on yourself. Everyone has been there, who has not given in to that chocolate fudge muffin or those crispy potato chips? What matters is moving forward from now, remind yourself every single day, every single mealtime, to make the smartest choice for yourself, and do not be led by habits, sugar addiction, or the old ways of eating for comfort.
But do note that for eczema warriors, sometimes eating clean and healthy is not quite enough. We have to know what triggers their eczema flares. Those with certain food allergies have to take care to avoid them totally. Environmental allergies could also contribute to the flaring of eczema, for instance, both my eczema warriors have been tested allergic to dust mites.
So go for allergy testing as a first step, it gives you some concrete answers, at least partially. More information can be found here: American Academy of Dermatology.
Silent problematic foods
Why did I say you will get partial answers from allergy testing? It is because even if you are tested negative in allergy for certain foods does not necessarily mean your body assimilates it well. There could be some reaction, causing silent inflammation that stresses the body, which may not show up on allergy tests. Common problem foods that could affect eczema warriors on a subtle but potentially serious manner include:
- anything containing gluten
- high salicylates foods
Since testing may not show, how will we ever know? You may ask.
The way to go around this is to start on an elimination diet. Keep a food diary, along with noting down the time and intensity of itch and eczema flares. Try to identify a pattern, if you can. Choose the top 2-3 suspects, and eliminate those from your diet. Different foods take different times to clear from the system, some will show results within a week, others like gluten can take about two months before the inflammation in the body will start to show signs of calming down.
Sometimes going it alone may prove to be too overwhelming. Do not worry. There are numerous elimination diet protocols out there. Do your research, then go by your gut instinct, and embark on one that suits you. To name a few diets that are highly relevant to eczema warriors: gluten free, grain free, whole 30, and paleo AIP (autoimmune protocol).
At the same time that we maintain a clean diet, it is also important to flush out whatever toxic load that has accumulated in our bodies over those years of bad choices. Fruits and vegetables are the best healers among all food groups. Yes, the answer is that simple. If I were to choose one food for detoxing, it would be celery. We include this super food every morning in our green detox smoothie.
It matters what you put on your skin
I used to have the misconception that what goes on your skin should not have such a direct impact on your health as what you put into your mouth. After all you are not ingesting it. I couldn’t be further from the truth. After these years on the eczema journey with my two eczema warriors, I have learnt to scrutinise skin products with the same eagle eyes as those I use to scrutinise food labels.
Our skin is a partially permeable membrane. It is meant to protect us from external factors like most bacteria and viruses, pollutants, chemicals, etc. But it doesn’t mean nothing can cross the skin barrier. Substances that manage to permeate the skin can possibly get absorbed into the bloodstream more directly than through the digestive system, which could take hours.
What we put on the skin
So, no more taking chances when it comes to my eczema warriors. Creams and topicals are purposely made to be absorbed by the skin to work their effects. No thanks, but I wouldn’t be putting anymore chemicals and synthetics onto the skin. I have overhauled all skin care products in the house to only use those that have all natural ingredients, including body wash, shampoo, face and hands cleansers.
During my eczema warriors’ worst flares, there are various natural baths and remedies that have helped see them through the painful and itchy nightmares. Apple cider vinegar baths have worked wonders for them, its detoxing abilities obviously showing through the foul-smelling bath water afterwards. Ginger baths have calmed their itch and inflammation immensely, leaving their skin soothed and cool to the touch.
At times when their eczema wounds get infected, we treat with natural remedies like zinc, sulphur, and garlic water. These are the only trusted products we use for oozing or infected skin: Moogoo Nappy Balm, Moogoo MSM Cream, and The Home Apothecary.
Cleaning products around the house
The same goes for all cleaning products, I have overhauled them all at home. We use only one brand now: Dr Bronner, for almost all cleaning applications in the house. Along with some basic kitchen items like baking soda and vinegar, we are able to DIY all cleaning items like dishwashing liquid, laundry powder and fabric softener, and many more.
I figured that any surface in the house will come into contact with the little feet pattering about, and little busy hands. Food crumbs on the floor may get picked up and popped into the mouth. The glass sliding doors can be great entertainment when the kids huff out their breathe on it, to play with the condensation, draw in it with their fingers, as well as their tongue! I could only heave a sigh of relief that all the glass and mirrors at home are cleaned using vinegar mixed in water.
Simple and basic substances for clean and green living. We really do not need all the toxic chemicals found in specific purpose cleaners that manufacturers would have us buy, from leather polishers and parquet shiners to toilet cleaners and sink squeakers.
Different people have differing views on this. Our personal lesson: steroid is a synthetic hormone that messes the body at the functional level, since hormones are so critical to our survival and well-being. Steroids work to suppress inflammation, hence stifling the body’s call of distress that there is something wrong internally. The problems get pushed deeper into the body, and could complicate into bigger issues.
We used topical steroids only very sparingly as needed, which cleared the eczema perfectly in no time. But it would resurface again in weeks, to which we’d slap on the steroid cream again. Over time, it wrecked havoc in my son and daughter’s tiny bodies, and they started showing signs of topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) when I stopped using steroid on them totally. Read about our steroid withdrawal journey here at this link.
We have walked out of those darkest times, and the only advice we want to give is: no steroids ever again. Unless dealt with a life-threatening situation of course, like breathing difficulties, liver conditions, etc. Listen to the signs and symptoms your body is throwing at you, and fix the root of the problem instead of suppressing it.
Nature is designed to heal
Your body needs you to work with it, not against it. Eat clean, use only natural skin products and cleaning products around the house. As far as possible, no junk food, no chemicals onto the skin, no synthetic drugs like steroids.
It depends on how you want to do it: you may choose to just try one thing at a time, so that you can see whether it works out or not, before moving on to try another change. For instance, we did a gluten free diet for my son, which worked well but there was still a baseline itch, about 3 to 4 itching episodes a day, so we knew being gluten free was helping, except there could be other issues.
Then we moved on to a grain free diet, which almost totally cleared his itch and reduced it to only 1 episode a day, and his nighttime sleep was drastically improved. So working in this systematic way, we could see the cause and effect, and determine what works and what doesn’t.
However, there were also many peripheral things that we were doing, like apple cider vinegar baths, green cleaning around the house, methods of dealing with dust mite allergy, natural skin products, and many more happening at the same time. I believe all these combine and contribute to the greater effect of improved eczema in my children. And it would be too draggy for their condition if I were to implement these changes one at a time to try to assess their individual effects.
So it is really up to your own judgement and your unique set of situations. If you need more information on how to heal eczema naturally, you can look up the National Eczema Association. At the end of the day, always hold on to the conviction that nature is designed to heal, follow the path of natural healing, and you will not go wrong.