If you suffer from eczema, you know how profoundly it can affect your life. Most everyone experiences some skin irritation at some time in their life, often caused by an allergic reaction to pets, food, insect bites or chemicals. But eczema takes that irritation to a whole new level. It’s a chronic non-contagious inflammatory skin condition that brings on inflamed, itchy, red and discolored skin and even blisters. That National Eczema Association (NEA) reports that some 31.6 million people in the United States have some form of eczema, such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis.
Not only can eczema cause great physical or even “unbearable” discomfort; it can cause feelings of anxiety and depression and embarrassment over the physical appearance of your skin. Because eczema affects quality of life, it can lead to other health issues. HealthCentral says that research shows that eczema sufferers are at a greater risk for asthma, food allergies and obesity and may be more prone to smoke and drink, leading to heart disease and stroke.
Topical steroid treatment is common
Topical corticosteroids or steroids often are the first thing doctors prescribe for treating eczema. These synthetic or man-made drugs comes in different strengths (from mild over-the-counter hydrocortisone to more potent corticosteroid prescriptions) and in different forms including creams, solutions, gels, foams and ointments. They help ease skin redness and reduce inflammation and itching to promote healing.
However effective they are, topical steroids can have side effects. Short-term use of topical steroids usually can be safe, but problems, such as thinning of the skin, permanent stretch marks and skin darkening can occur when they are used long term. And, there’s a risk that prolonged use of high-potency topical steroids can lead to systemic side effects, such as adrenal suppression, glaucoma and hypertension. That’s why it’s very important to use corticosteroids in the right amount for the prescribed length of time.
Eczema sufferers looking for more natural ways to reduce the itching and inflammation from eczema have a number of options. Among them:
Colloidal Oatmeal Helps Ease Inflammation
Unlike breakfast oatmeal; colloidal oatmeal, which you can make or buy over the counter, is finely ground into a solution for easier skin application and absorption. Colloidal oatmeal helps with eczema by forming a protective skin barrier and by holding in moisture and easing inflammation. However, while colloidal oatmeal is safe for most, you could develop a skin rash (contact dermatitis.) If so, don’t use the colloidal oatmeal again, and see a doctor if the rash doesn’t clear up.
Dietary Changes May Help
Patients with eczema are more likely to have food allergies and vice versa. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAA&I) cites a study that found “In studies of unselected populations, the likelihood of being sensitized to a food was up to 6 times higher in eczema patients compared to healthy individual.” AAAA&A also noted, “There also is evidence that eczema arises before a food allergy, supporting the theory that eczema actually leads to the development of a food allergy.”
However, food allergies and an eczema flare-up don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. A food allergy is most likely to bring on a flare of eczema skin rash only in infants and in those with severe eczema, writes Everyday Health. Common food culprits are peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, fish and eggs.
Before eliminating any foods from your diet, consult with your doctor or an allergist. They may recommend allergy testing to determine which foods may pose problems.
Eczema sufferers increasingly are turning to Cannabidiol (CBD) as another natural remedy. NEA says that the benefits of CBD for eczema may be due to cannabinoids having anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-itch qualities. “There are receptors in the skin that interact with cannabinoids that could reduce the symptoms and appearance of atopic dermatitis. These effects happen through a constellation of interactions between phytocannabinoids and our endogenous cannabinoid system.”
While more research needs to be conducted on CBD and eczema, one study found that the topical administration of CBD ointment, without any THC helped to improve the quality of life in patients with some skin disorders. The research included 20 patients with two most frequent skin disorders: psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, and resulting scars. The patients administered topical CBD-enriched ointment to lesioned skin daily for three months. The results showed significant improvement skin parameters, the symptoms and also the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score.
Lab+Blends recently introduced True Control Eczema Relief Cream to relieve skin itchiness, redness, dryness, and irritation caused by eczema. It combines ground-breaking Pure CBD Extract to support the reduction of inflammation with 2% skin-protecting colloidal oatmeal and Ceramide NG, an essential lipid naturally found within the skin. Learn more about our new product and how to order.