Healing Eczema with Functional Medicine

16

February, 2024

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition with symptoms of redness, itching and dry, scaly patches on the skin. It is a common (although not normal) condition that can affect people of all ages, but it often starts in early childhood.

Eczema is different than psoriasis in that it usually affects the face, hands and feet and usually has red itchy patches. Psoriasis, while similar in symptoms, commonly presents itself in thicker, itchy scaly patches of skin.

The exact cause of eczema is not completely known, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Common triggers for eczema could include allergens, stress, certain foods, ingredients in products and chemicals, and changes in temperature or air pollutants.

 

The Conventional Approach

If you’re lucky enough to get an appointment with a dermatologist, they most likely will recommend treatments consisting of moisturizers, topical corticosteroids, and antihistamines. These can help manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups, but, they don’t address the ROOT causes and triggers.

As you might know, we tackle symptoms, health issues (including eczema) with a comprehensive, root cause approach!

We understand that eczema (and all skin issues) are a direct reflection of an imbalance of your body’s systems.

 

The Functional Medicine Approach

walls covered in mold

Here are some key principles my practice uses:

Identify Triggers: Top ones would include allergens, certain foods, stress, or environmental factors.

Nutrition: Consider eliminating foods and ingredients that could be exacerbating the eczema. Common triggers may include dairy, gluten, eggs, and nuts. We work with our patients with personalized therapeutic nutrition recommendations!

Gut Health: The gut is where it’s at! When the body is under stress, the gut is mostly like not healthy. Skin issues and imbalanced gut health is intricately connected! Addressing any underlying gut issues may positively impact eczema.

Nutrient-Rich Diet: Ensure you are getting a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Essential fatty acids, vitamins (especially vitamin D), and minerals like zinc are important for skin health. Top foods might be wild caught seafood, flaxseed, avocado and organic meats.

Hydration: Keep your skin well-hydrated by drinking enough water; at least half of your body weight in ounces per day! Hydration is step one to an overall healthy, functioning body. 

Manage Stress: Stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms! Focus on reducing the stress you have control over, and then work on using stress-reducing practices on a regular basis. Some ideas could include walking and gentle exercise, stretching, deep breathing, reading, meditation and prayer, laughter etc.

Natural Topical Treatments: Some options might include coconut oil, tea tree (melaluca) calendula cream, aloe vera gel, or chamomile, to help calm and soothe the skin.

Avoid Irritants: Identify and avoid potential irritants in your environment, such as harsh detergents, certain fabrics, and chemical-laden skincare products.We recommend a variety of non toxic, natural based products (like Pure Haven) for your skin, your home, and other personal care needs (I like and use these myself!)

Above all, Functional Medicine always uses a personalized approach. We use specific testing (like looking at nutritional deficiencies and gut health) to determine exactly what the best course of action is.

Where to Start

Here are some of the foundational treatment options I use for eczema:

  • We address the pH of the skin
  • We address the filaggrin gene mutation that is often found in eczema patients
  • We recommend natural products that have minimal ingredients
  • We address the gut microbiome

Although this approach does take more time to improve the skin than the conventional approach of shutting off the symptoms, we are addressing the underlying cause of eczema/atopic dermatitis.  Our patients that have chosen this model of care are more happy in the long run due to:

  1. They have gained a thorough understanding of how and why their skin is flared. 
  2. They are fully equipped to handle the flare-ups should they arise. 
  3. They avoid the potent immune modulating medications that dermatologists recommend.

 

If you’re curious to learn how to manage your/ your childs eczema by addressing the underlying cause, please reach out to our office for a complimentary call! Contact us at whisperhealthnow@gmail.com