Well, sadly, it's not quite possible to eliminate eczema all together, as eczema is something people are prone to, not something we can 'cure', but changing what food you eat could certainly mitigate the effects of this distressing condition.
How does that work?
Changing your diet can reduce how susceptible you are to irritants, it can build physiological resilience and reduce inflammation in your body, as well as lessening the risk of things that what you eat will trigger a flare-up.
Let’s take each aspect of diet’s relationship to eczema in turn.
Avoiding dietary triggers
Certain foods can trigger a reaction in people who are prone to eczema, setting off an inflammatory response and leading to raised histamine in the bloodstream. That in turn results in rashes, hives, and hot, itchy skin.
Working out and avoiding what foods you’re sensitive to is a good way of cutting down the number and severity of flares you experience. If you don’t already know what might be causing you to get itchy, try keeping a food diary for 8 weeks, and ask your GP for a referral to a nutritionist.
Read our guest blog by nutritionist Sarah Flower about food intolerances here.
Building up healthy gut flora
Eczema is a largely malfunction of the immune system; basically, the body overreacts to triggers, whether internal or external, and acts as if it is under attack. The gut plays a significant part in the healthy functioning of the immune system, with research showing that people with eczema have very different gut flora to those who don’t, so advice is to make sure that your gut flora are as healthy and balanced as possible, so that inflammatory reactions are minimised.
Read more about gut health here.
Boosting your body’s nutritional intake
Feeding your body with the essentials for skin health is key to minimising the effects of eczema. Your skin needs nutrients - vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids - in order to carry out its continual cycle of replacing all the damaged, old or dehydrated cells in the epidermis. Without Omega oils particularly, skin cells end up fragile and dry, and they can’t maintain an effective barrier against moisture loss or external irritants. What you put into your body is crucial to how it works, so feed it what it needs.
Read more about what foods are good for managing the symptoms of eczema here.
And don't forget that you can feed your skin topically too! Our Essential Starter Kit provides oils, creams and balms to give dry or eczema-prone skin the nutrients it needs to repair and regenerate.