My first date with my current boyfriend was on a hot, sunny day in late summer. We hit it off immediately, and by the end of the evening, he had confessed many things to me, one of which was that when it gets cold he gets terrible eczema on his hands.
Thankfully, we’ve been together long enough now that I’ve gotten to see first hand what that is like for him. Red, scaly, peeling, painful palms. Always too dry. Itchy, irritated, cracked. And it was making him miserable to be around (sorry honey!). Thankfully we found a way to get rid of it. Read on to find out how.
The Cause of Eczema
For most people, my man included, eczema starts in childhood. And it always has some sort of a digestive component. This is why it can be stubborn and take a long time to treat, with many ups and downs along the way. Chinese medicine says for every year you’ve had a condition, it takes one month of treatment to correct.
Even without obvious digestive symptoms, eczema has its roots in poor digestion. According to acupuncture theory, the Metal element is associated with the skin and the large intestine. This is why many skin issues, including eczema, improve when treating the gut. So without further ado – let’s get into the nitty gritty!
1. Gut Healing Diet
As I mentioned above, less-than-optimal digestion is the root cause of that nasty rash. Playing a big part in that are undiagnosed food sensitivities. Sugar, wheat and dairy are big culprits, so cutting them out of the diet for a while is essential. Remember, it’s not forever, just until your body heals.
And it (hopefully) goes without saying that a whole foods diet, full of vegetables and healthy fats, must happen. For anyone with less than perfect gut function, cook your fruits and vegetables well in order to break down the cell walls and make them more digestible. So eat and cook a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods.
One “food” in particular is extremely healing to the gut. Bone broth helps to close and smooth out the gaps in intestinal walls that can cause food sensitivities, skin rashes, etc. It is quite easy to make at home, and more stores are offering it pre-made as well. Just don’t get the regular, prepackaged stock at the grocery store.
There are 3 supplements that, in addition to your healing diet, will support gut and skin health, and get rid of your eczema.
1. Probiotics – Repopulate your gut flora with probiotics every day. These little guys help to digest your food, and when you take antibiotics, are under a lot of stress, or take many other meds, they get wiped out. Adding a small amount of cultured food to each meal will help support this as well (real pickles, sauerkraut or kimchi, a small dollop of yogurt, miso, or 4. oz. of kombucha or kefir will do the trick). Make sure your probiotic includes multiple strands of bacteria.
2. Gelatin – specifically Collagen Hydrolysate from grass-fed beef is the easiest to use. This is great for the gut, as it contains the same amino acids as bone broth, but it also helps the skin, hair, nails, joints, etc.
3. Fish oil – I prefer cod liver oil because it is the least processed, and contains plenty of vitamins A and D.
3. Hands Off!
I know it feels better temporarily to scratch, pick at, and otherwise play with your rashes, but do your best not to. Using a Manuka Honey Salve like this one can help protect, soothe and moisturize your skin. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of the honey will help make life more bearable while you work through the rest of this list.
If you’ve been suffering with eczema for years, and the other suggestions just feel like they’re taking too long, acupuncture can help. It reminds your body’s own self healing mechanism that it still has work to do, and can speed up healing. Many acupuncturists are also herbalists, and can work with you to find an herbal formula that will work for you. Chinese medicine is very individualized, so your practitioner will ask you a bunch of questions, look at your tongue and take your pulse, all to figure out what your specific imbalance is, and treat accordingly.
This acupressure point, Spleen 10, is also known as the Sea of Blood. Because rashes on the skin always have some component of heat in the blood, this is the go-to point for eczema. Choose from one of the essential oils listed for even greater effect.
If you’re in the Greenville area and looking for an acupuncturist – I’m never too busy to help you. Feel free to call in: 864-451-4313 to book an appointment, or just schedule a free consultation to learn more.