Eczema is a relapsing skin irritation condition that leads to formation of itchy patches on the skin. The patches then become inflamed. They also, have cracking and tearing as well. Eczema is also called as Atopic Dermatitis.
- The disease is more prevalent in children as compared to adults. In children the symptomatic patches become inflamed and tear at different points upon itching.
- Eczema gets activated due to innate ability to protect against certain triggering factors such as foods, clothing and environmental conditions.
- There are 7 different types of eczema each with a more or less similar symptoms.
- Although, it is a non-contagious disease, it may spread to any part of the body to others in the same person.
What are the symptoms of Eczema?
Eczema may be severe or moderate and, in some instances, may remain mild for a longer period of time. The commonly found symptoms are patches of redness, swelling, dryness and sometimes tearing and oozing of skin.
What are the causes of Eczema?
Some are born develop eczema due to predominant genetic factors. One child from all the siblings may have eczema and others may not. It may also flare up and spread after appearance of a single patch. Another important factor, is triggering of immune system to produce allergic response in the presence of an allergen. The allergen may be from any of the following environmental factors:
- Cotton/polyester or any of the other fabrics
- Chemicals found in cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes, cleaning detergents etc.
- Drop or rise in environmental temperatures/ air pressure/ humidity etc.
- Food allergies such gluten, poultry etc.
- Chemicals found in store bought foods
- Predisposing asthma, hay fever or any other such allergies
What is the treatment for Eczema?
Treatment depends upon identification of triggering factors and then later using appropriate medication. Most frequently employed medication includes:
- Steroids: Commonly used are topical steroids to apply directly onto the eczematous patches. These includes over the counter available gels, creams and ointments of Hydrocortisone and corticosterone.
- Antihistamines: Commonly used are fexofenadine, cetirizine, loratadine etc.
- Immunosuppressants, pain killers and other anesthetic skin preparations are also prescribed by the doctors.
What foods are good for Eczema?
Infant eczema is usually genetic and appear a few days after birth. In some cases, up until 3 months. It effects the scalp, face, arms and legs. Concomitant milk allergy such as lactose intolerance is also common in infant.
- 1 cup Chop pumpkin
- ⅔ Lemon
- 2 Apricots
- 1 Bell Pepper
- 1 tbsp Ginger Powder
- Remove the seeds from the pumpkin
- Chop pumpkin into small cubes
- Feed the ingredients one at a time, in the order listed
- Stir the juice thoroughly before consuming
- Drink right away or freeze it in an air tight container
In adults, the eczema can be avoided by avoiding allergenic foods and drinks. However, there are some food groups that are especially beneficial for the regulation of chronic skin conditions such as eczema.
These include the following:
Potassium rich foods:
Potassium provides strong anti-inflammatory effect against histamine reactions. They help minimize redness swelling and itching caused by any allergen.
These foods include:
- Peas, cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, avocados, broccoli
- Bananas, orange, apples and prunes
- Raisins, apricots, almonds and dates
- Among fish cod, trout and tuna are especially rich in potassium concentration
- Kidney beans, black eyed peas and other legumes are beneficial for eczema prone skin
- Lentils have also proved to provide remission from eczema due to inflammation of skin conditions.
Omega- 3 & omega-6 play an important role in cellular development. These are also energy source for metabolic functions. In addition, some of the essential omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have proven to lower the inflammatory response produced during dermatitis flare up. However, it is advised to consume a diet balanced in omega 3 and 6 to obtain optimum anti-inflammatory response.
Foods rich in EPA and DHA are as follows:
- Fish oysters, salmon, tuna, mackerel and especially cold-water fish that have high fatty content such as cod, mahi-mahi and sardines.
- Seeds, oil from seed such as flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemps seed etc.
- Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Kidney beans and lentils
Probiotics rich foods:
Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial for the gut. They improve digestion and absorption process. Although probiotics have not shown a promising response in avoiding the trigger of eczema. However, research has proven the usefulness of probiotics for treating eczema flare up and remission of the severity of the disease. This is especially true for low intestinal microbial flora in infants and toddlers.
These foods include:
Vitamin K and Vitamin B complex and Vitamin D rich foods:
The research on the beneficial outcomes of vitamin K, D and B-complex (esp. Vit B12) have shown promising results. These supplements help alleviate the worsening condition of eczema especially in adults. Foods containing these vitamins are:
- Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, celery
- Spring onions (green onions)
- Brussels sprout
- Watermelon, bananas, oranges
- Kidney beans, chick peas, green peas
- Egg yolk
- Fortified cereals
Colorful vegetables and fruits:
Flavonoids are essentially present compounds in colorful plants. Moreover, they perform many important roles. In plant body, they protect against UV light. Research has pointed towards the beneficial effects of flavonoid diet against atopic dermatitis or eczema. Foods containing flavonoids are:
- Capsicum I-e red, yellow and green
- Red cabbage
- Almost all the berries
What foods are to be avoided for eczema
Other than food allergies some foods have the potential to produce a profound allergenic and eczematous response too. These foods should be consumed in a controlled and moderate manner. These foods include:
Food containing high chromium content:
Chromate sensitivity is infamous for developing damaging immunocompetent reaction, thus leading to eczema flare up. The common symptoms of chromate sensitivity are relapsing vesicular type eczema on the hands. Therefore, it is of prime importance that such individuals minimize their daily intake of chromium containing foods. Some of these foods are as follows:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Red meat
- Broccoli and potatoes
- Wheat and other bran foods
Gluten rich foods
Gluten is extensively found in baked goods and whole wheat items. As a result, it produces all sorts of allergic reactions. They could be as acute as anaphylactic shock or chronic as is in the case of eczema and other dermatitis conditions. Accordingly, foods containing high gluten content must be avoided to minimize the flare up reaction. These foods include:
- Whole wheat items such as crackers etc.
- Whole wheat pasta
Highly spicy foods
Although spices and condiments help improve digestion process. But individuals with predisposing genetic factors must be cautious of consuming the following condiments:
- Star anise
- Black pepper
- Red hot peppers
Birch pollen syndrome producing foods
This is characterized by swelling and blister formation in the mouth upon eating of certain foods. Hence, people with birch pollen syndrome are more likely to suffer from eczema and other skin allergies too. Therefore, following foods must be avoided:
Dairy foods such as eggs and butter
Although proteins from these foods is essential for many normal bodily functions. But these foods also have the potential to substantially damage the immune response in the body and may even aggravate it. Therefore, following foods must be avoided:
So, will eczema go away? The answer is yes and no. There is, sadly, no cure for eczema. However, one of the best actions you can take when you develop eczema, is to figure out if you have any external triggers that can caused the flare up. Eliminating your triggers won’t completely get rid of your eczema, but it will make managing it easier. You could start by eliminating aforementioned foods from your diet. Lastly, adding those foods into your diet, that helps reduces inflammation.