We don’t normally think of it in these terms, but our skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies. Our skin is what we wear as we face the world, and through our sense of touch it is a place of interaction with everyone and everything around us. It is an organ that must be fed and nourished to survive; but it is also a surface of protection that acts as a buffer in our relationship with the rest of the world. Because it has this unique dual identity, our skin is vulnerable to threats coming from both inside and outside.
Eczema is a disease of the skin that reflects this split personality because it can arise as a result of either external or internal factors, or from a confluence of environmental and physiological circumstances working together. Manifesting originally as patches of extremely dry or oily skin, as the condition of the skin worsens, eczema eventually develops a range of painful and difficult to treat symptoms. Some of the characteristic symptoms of eczema include:
Eczema can break out on just about any part of the body, but it is most commonly found on the hands, neck, knees, arms, upper chest and wrists. Eczema does not look or feel the same in everyone who has it, as both the symptoms and their severity vary from person to person.
There are two main types of eczema – dermatitis, or contact eczema, and atopic eczema. The former results from contact with irritating substances that causes an allergic reaction, while the latter appears to result primarily from nutritional deficiencies, although dry and/or cold weather conditions seem to play a role as well. Eczema is a disorder that frequently affects infants and small children; but it can also appear suddenly at any stage in adulthood. The infantile version tends to disappear of its own accord once the child moves past puberty, while eczema outbreaks in adults are likely to develop into a chronic condition if left untreated.
Doctors generally prescribe a synthetic steroid product, cortisone, as the preferred treatment for eczema. While this can cause the symptoms to abate temporarily, cortisone is not a cure, and eczema tends to come back with a vengeance after the effects of a cortisone application wear off. In addition, this synthetic steroid product will enter the bloodstream through your skin, where it can have toxic effects on the functioning of the body.
Medical science treats eczema as a disease, and as usual they attempt to treat it with powerful pharmaceutical or chemical products that have dangerous side effects. In reality, eczema is not so much a disease as it is a natural reaction to some underlying problem. If the skin comes in contact with substances that are caustic, or to which your body has an allergy, the symptoms of eczema are the body’s warning that something is wrong. When the cause of eczema is systemic, it is the skin’s way of letting you know it is not getting the nutrients it needs to grow and develop properly. Eczema, in fact, is more of symptom than it is a disease. Thankfully, it is not necessary to depend on the dubious advice of conventional medicine to successfully treat eczema.
Freedom from Eczema – Home Remedies and Nutritional Solutions
As you make the transition to life off of the grid, learning to rely on your own devices is the cornerstone of a new and more independent lifestyle. In fact, you are only trying to rediscover traditional understandings and ways of living that have largely been lost, including the wisdom of folk medicine. This kind of grassroots healing work has gained its hard-earned knowledge through trial and error, and these traditions have much to say about how to treat eczema and other conditions of the skin.
Home remedies for eczema come in the form of topical solutions that can be applied directly to damaged skin. These substances can help soothe pain while promoting the regeneration of new, healthier skin in place of the dry, cracked and scaly skin associated with eczema. While relief from dry and cracking skin can come quickly, these remedies need to be applied daily for a period of weeks or months in areas affected by eczema in order to facilitate a permanent solution.
Some of the topical solutions found to have strong effects in alleviating outbreaks of and the symptoms of eczema include:
- Coconut oil
- Evening primrose oil (can be taken as an oral supplement as well)
- Ground nutmeg
- Mustard oil
- Olive Oil
These are just some of the substances that are known to be effective remedies against eczema. There are also a number of more complex concoctions made from mixtures of herbs or other natural substances that have proven to work quite well in treating conditions of the skin.
Food allergies are one common cause of eczema. The best way to discover if your eczema is allergy-related is to keep a daily log of what you eat (and what you come in contact with) to see if there are any patterns you can detect with respect to your eczema and severe outbreaks of its symptoms.
It would be wonderful if you could solve your eczema problem by tracing it to a specific allergen, because then the cure is easy. However, in most cases your eczema is more likely to be caused by underlying, chronic nutritional deficiencies. In these cases, changing your diet is the secret to curing eczema naturally and completely. Eating too many processed foods and not enough fruits and vegetables denies the body of essential nutrients it needs to build healthy cells, including those of the skin. People with eczema are often suffering from shortages of vitamins A, B and E, as well as certain essential fatty acids and oils, all of which are nutrients that help nourish healthy skin. Some excellent dietary sources for these nutrients include:
- Green vegetables (vitamin A)
- Yellow/Orange fruits and vegetables (vitamin A)
- Hemp, flax, and pumpkin oil (fatty acids and oil)
- Avocados (vitamin E)
- Vitamin B-complex supplements
- Oily fish (salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, for essential oils)
The kind of processed junk food that comprises the bulk of American diets is nutritionally empty, and eczema is one of the results of eating too many of these unhealthy foods. If you are serious about finding long-term relief from eczema, then you must change your diet and increase your consumption of the key nutrients you have been missing.
Taking Charge of Your Own Health
The prevalence of eczema (up to 7% of the American population suffers from the disorder) is directly related to the unhealthy style of living that has been embraced and accepted as normal by most Americans. For those of us seeking escape from the unhealthy diets and environments implicated in this condition, eczema is yet another sign that mainstream society is dysfunctional. The inability of medical science to develop a safe and reliable cure is also revealing; but fortunately, there are a number of things we can do on our own to help banish the suffering of eczema from our lives forever.