If you are one of the more than 30 million people who suffer with eczema1, you have probably considered just about everything to achieve some long-term control over your symptoms – dry, itchy skin that can cause sleepless nights and scratchy days. About 50% of patients with atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, report having used
alternative and complementary treatments.2
It is important to discuss any treatments with your healthcare provider before trying them, even if they appear to be harmless. Not everything that is “natural” may be right for you.
Lifestyle changes for people with eczema
Some people with eczema find that changing their diet to include more fruits and vegetables and less animal protein has helped improve their eczema symptoms, while others have switched to dye-and-fragrance-free products and noticed improvement. Almost everyone swears by stress reduction as and important way to decrease flareups and severity.
- Probiotics: thought to restore the bacterial balance in the gut and reduce inflammation, including that of the skin. You can find probiotics in yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir, or in supplements that contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Probiotics have been safe in healthy people, but if you have a weakened immune system, you should discuss with your doctor. 3-4
- Coconut oil: along with virgin olive oil, sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil, virgin coconut oil treatments have been reported to improve dryness and dryness-related conditions such as abrasions, redness, and thickening of the skin due to scratching and to help with itch, inflammation, and improvement of the skin barrier function. 5
- Vitamins:Omega 3 Fish Oil found naturally in fatty fish such as salmon and trout, mackerel and shellfish such as crabs, oysters and mussels as well as supplements has anti-inflammatory properties that may also help reduce inflammation in skin. Vitamin D and topical B12 are also being studied for their potential benefit to eczema.6-7
- Acupuncture, biofeedback and hypnosis:all three techniques help you reduce stress, one of the riggers for eczema flareups2
- Traditional Chinese medicine: a combination of creams, baths, teas and pills to calm the immune system9
While these therapies are known to be safe for most people, you should discuss your diet and any alternative treatments with your regular physician, to ensure that you are not adding any potential triggers for eczema flareups.