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Otherwise known as dermatitis, eczema is presents as skin irritation and inflammation. It is commonly linked to asthma and hayfever as allergic people typically experience these three conditions. In lieu of the ‘bandaid’ approach, if we can stop the progression and determine the initial trigger it can often protect someone later in life.

Food triggers are a major irritant to eczema and can be seen frequently if children are introduced to solids too early. The infant’s digestive system is very immature and can take time to properly develop. As such it is best to breastfeed for as long as possible and take your time introducing solids. If a child is older (or even in an adult) dietary challenges are helpful to identify food triggers but require strict avoidance and then a rechallenge. You may find it easier to work with a qualified practitioner, as any food can be a potential problem.

Supportive strategies include:

  • Increase dietary sources of essential fatty acids such as those found in avocado, cold pressed oils (especially olive and sunflower), oily fish (salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel), and nuts and seeds
  • Herbal ointments of chickweed, calendula and paw paw can provide temporary relief
  • Nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin A, E and C and supplementation of fish oils and evening primrose oil can help to rebuild the skin
  • Skincare, soaps and washing detergents can irritate sensitive skins. Natural alternatives may be a good option. Remember that anything that the skin comes in contact with can be a potential irritant. Find the part of the body where the eczema exists and assess everything that touches it – You may be lucky and find a simple answer!
  • Reducing stress is important as stress hormones such as cortisol can aggravate significantly.
  • Sleep deprivation will further compound the picture so make sure you get enough sleep!