Eczema is a term used for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. This refers to a group of diseases with a tendency to develop other allergic conditions, like asthma and hay fever.

Eczema affects more or less 10% to 20% of infants and 3% of adults and children in the U.S. Most infants who develop the condition outgrow it by their tenth birthday, while some people continue to have symptoms on and off throughout life. With the correct treatment, the disease often can be controlled.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
  • 2What Causes Eczema?
  • 3How do I know if a food is making eczema worse?
  • 4What digestive Support/Detox supplements will improve Eczema?
  • 5Why choose Skin Renewal for your eczema treatments?
  • 6Why does your Skin Renewal doctor check for low stomach acid during your consultation for eczema?
  • 7Why is stomach acid important for health and skin conditions?
  • 8How important is stomach acid?

Eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, and when it does, the rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet, other areas may also be affected.

Affected areas usually appear very dry, thick, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. With darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.

In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that occurs mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but could be linked to an overactive response by the body's immune system to an irritant or might be caused by additional factors. We treat Eczema holistically in order to address all the internal and external causes to achieve better results. The presence of Eczema should be viewed as more than just a cosmetic issue – it’s a window into your overall health and may indicate a larger health problem such as low stomach acid with all its ramifications. To detoxify the skin, one has to detoxify the liver. In addition to stress, vitamin deficiencies resulting from low stomach acid and can also be contributing factors. 

ADDITIONAL FACTORS:

  • Low Stomach Acid can eventually lead to dysbiosis and leaky gut which are the primary causes of numerous conditions as 70% of one’s immunity starts in the gut. Dysbiosis is a serious condition that may be the underlying cause of some of our most prevalent diseases or clinical conditions such as breast and colon cancer and autoimmune diseases. It has been overlooked by the medical community due to the previous misunderstanding of the critical role this condition plays in an individuals long-term overall health. Treating Dysbiosis can help remove unhealthy bacteria and yeast in the body which can cause chronic internal inflammation, toxins and diseases.
  • Dysbiosis
  • Leaky Gut
  • SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
  • Constipation
  • Sad diet (Seasonal Affective Disorders): Eating the Standard American Diet also known as a First world Diet with lots of high-fat, High diary, high-sugar and overly-processed foods increase circulating levels of testosterone and an acidic environment. Certain factors such as alcohol, hot liquids, spicy food and all the ingredients mentioned as part of the Sad diet may aggravate Eczema.
  • Stress may worsen the breakout.
  • Sluggish Liver is when ineffective detoxification which is also linked to poor digestion and poor elimination of toxins may cause Eczema. 

IRRITATIONS: 

Some flare-ups may be caused or made worse by irritants to the skin, or by other factors.

Soaps and detergents:
  • They remove the natural oils from the skin, which tends to make the skin dry and itchy and more sensitive to irritants.
  • Thus it is best to avoid soaps, bubble baths, etc. when you wash. Instead, use a thick moisturizer (emollient) as a soap substitute and add an emollient to the bath or shower.
  • Wear rubber gloves with a cotton lining when using detergents or working with other similar chemicals.
  • After you wash clothes with detergents, rinse them well. Biological detergents are known trigger factors and fabric conditioners can make some people's eczema worse.
Toiletries and perfumes:
  • People with eczema find that the perfumes, preservatives and alcohols in toiletries and make-up can be irritating.
  • Best to avoid these, or only use bland products.
Clothing:
  • Wear cotton clothes next to the skin rather than irritating fabrics such as wool.
  • However, it is probably the smoothness of the material rather than the type of material which helps.
  • Some smooth man-made fabrics are probably just as good as cotton.
Temperature:
  • Avoid getting too hot or too cold.
  • Extremes of temperature and humidity may trigger a flare-up of eczema symptoms.

Stress, habitual scratching:

  • Stress does not cause eczema
  • However, some people react to stress by habit scratching. This is called the itch-scratch cycle and can make eczema worse.
  • Try as much as possible not to scratch the eczema. To help with this, keep fingernails cut short so that any scratching is not so sharp and severe.
  • Consider wearing cotton gloves at night if you tend to scratch in your sleep, and use anti-scratch mittens for babies. If you need to relieve an itch, rub with fingers rather than scratch with nails.
  • Some people find that relaxation exercises or similar techniques help to reduce stress. This may help to reduce habit scratching, which may help to reduce the severity of eczema.
Infection:
  • Infection, often introduced by scratching, can aggravate eczema.
Food allergy and eczema:
  • Less than 1 in 10 children with atopic eczema have a food allergy which can make symptoms worse.
  • Young children with severe eczema who may have a food allergy as a trigger factor.
  • The most common foods which cause (trigger) eczema symptoms in some people include: cows' milk, eggs, soya, wheat, fish and nuts.
House dust mite:
  • A tiny insect that occurs in every home. You cannot see it without a microscope. It mainly lives in bedrooms and mattresses as part of the dust.
  • Many people with eczema are allergic to house dust mite.
  • Treatment with other methods such as moisturizers (emollients) and short courses of topical steroids usually works well. Therefore, the effort of trying to eliminate house dust mite is not usually warranted.
Pets:
  • Symptoms in children become worse when they are in contact with pets.
  • An allergy to animal dander which may be responsible. 

Immediate food allergy occurs in some cases:

  • Symptoms develop within two hours of eating the trigger food. Itching and scratching may worsen shortly after eating the trigger food.
  • A common sign is redness, swelling and irritation around the mouth. Another skin symptom that may develop is urticaria.
  • These are itchy, fluid-filled lumps appear on the skin - similar to nettle stings.
  • Other symptoms may occur such as tummy (abdominal) pain, being sick (vomiting), wheezing, itchy eyes and sneezing.

Delayed food allergy occurs in some cases:

  • Symptoms develop 6-24 hours after eating the trigger food.
  • These symptoms include worsening of itching and eczema. Sometimes abdominal pain and diarrhea also occur.
  • If you suspect a food is making eczema symptoms worse it is advised to see a doctor.
  • You may be asked to keep a diary over 4-6 weeks. The diary aims to record any symptoms and all foods and drink taken. It may help to identify one or more suspect foods.
  • To confirm the diagnosis of a food allergy, you will need to see an allergy specialist. Leaving out certain foods without an allergy being confirmed is not usually recommended.
  • The comprehensive 5R GI Restoration Program, created by nutraceutical company Metagenics has the aim to balance your gut and ensure you are as healthy as you can be!

At Skin, Body & Health Renewal all patients with skin conditions such as eczema are treated holistically by our experienced medical doctors. During an eczema consultation at Skin Renewal, your doctor will take a comprehensive history to ensure that there are no important underlying gut and medical conditions that are contributing to your eczema.

There are numerous significant medical conditions that are associated with eczema which we need to identify and address. Conditions such as low stomach acid, dysbiosis and leaky gut all compromise skin and may cause eczema but more importantly these conditions may have future health ramifications such as auto immune disease, food sensitivities, allergies, asthma, depression and even cancer if they are not adequately addressed.

In addition, low stomach will eventually lead to low levels of Zinc and other important minerals and vitamins which are essential for healthy skin.

At Skin Renewal, during your initial consultation with one of our qualified doctors, it may be advised that you are checked for low stomach acid thereafter a complimentary Betaine HCl acid test is explained and done because:

  • Adequate stomach acid is essential for absorption of the minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and folate which are essential for healthy skin.
  • Adequate Stomach acid prevents dysbiosis.
  • Adequate stomach acid is essential for a healthy immune system.
  • Adequate stomach acid will help prevent a "leaky gut" with all its health ramifications from developing.
  • Adequate stomach acid is essential for absorption of the minerals zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and folate which are essential for healthy skin.
  • Adequate stomach acid is necessary for the absorption of the B vitamins.
  • Stomach acid activates protein-digesting enzymes and is necessary for proper digestion of protein.
  • Adequate stomach acid is necessary for the pancreas to release its cascade of digestive enzymes for absorption of carbohydrate and fat.
  • Sub-optimal fat digestion means we won't benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fats, nor the wide array of beneficial effects of fats for fertility, skin health, immunity, etc.
  • Adequate stomach acid destroys pathogens ( bacteria, fungi, parasites etc ) and a lack of stomach acid can lead to bad bacteria proliferating in the small intestine dysbiosis ( bad bacteria and unwanted parasites ) which have health ramifications down the line.

How can we expect to stay healthy with healthy skin if we have chronically poor nutrient and mineral absorption due to incomplete digestion? In fact, absorption can be reduced to the point where even if someone is consuming a nutrient-dense diet, they can suffer both sub-clinical and overt deficiencies. This is because they are not assimilating those nutrients because they have low stomach acid.

We can treat eczema topically, but if we don't improve the absorption problems associated with eczema, then the condition will resurface at a later stage. Having normal levels of stomach function the first important step for a healthy skin and immune system. If one's stomach acid is adequate, the rest of one's digestion and absorption won't be compromised. At Skin Renewal our doctors will explain and check for low stomach acid to ensure optimal treatment of your eczema condition.

Reviews

See all reviews
*Please note results may vary by individuals.
Review -Eczema Free!
Reviewed on 15 April 2015 by Colleen Siebert*

I was an eczema sufferer for 21 years and consulted with numerous doctors and dermatologists, the prescribed treatment being cortisone and cyclosporine. I visited Dr Maureen for beauty advice and after discussions about my health, skin conditions, etc, she asked if I was prepared to try some natural remedies to treat my eczema and over the years always tried out what people recommended- anything to be done with the curse. 

I begrudgingly stopped the cortisone meds and was waiting for the inevitable dry, itchiness to return. Doc treated me with CurcuminPycnogenolWhey To Go Proteinvitamin D3 and Omega 3, as well as eating sauerkraut. Within a month, I was ECZEMA FREE!

I wish doc had come into my life earlier, not only have I done so much damage to my body, but to now know that i'm healthy from the inside out, is amazing. I still have bouts of eczema and continue with natural remedies as above. Skin Renewal and Doctor Maureen Allem have changed my world and i'll be forever indebted. I look at people that have aging skin, dry flaky patches or are itching from eczema and my advice is- see a functional doctor at Health Renewal, this will sort you out. If anyone ever has any questions, I would be happy for you to contact Health Renewal and let them put you in touch with me .

Read more