Eczema - What's the Story?
I get asked about goats milk soaps and helping with eczema quite often. (which is does) Eczema effects 1 in 3 New Zealanders, with 15% of Kiwi kids have Eczema and grow out of it as adults, as your immunity improves. But for some it wreaks havoc on your skin, turning what should be smooth, sleek, and supple into a desolated, cracked, and irritable problem that makes your skin red, dry, sensitive and extremely itchy. Severe eczema is especially malicious and left untreated becomes infected and bleeding raw, which can then develop into internal infections.
Eczema is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors, some common causes include:
Allergies: Allergies to food, pollen, and other substances can trigger eczema symptoms.
Weather: In New Zealand, the changeable climate can exacerbate eczema symptoms, particularly during winter months when low humidity can dry out the skin.
Irritants: Exposure to irritants such as detergents, soaps, and chemicals can cause eczema symptoms.
Stress: Stress is a known trigger for eczema, and New Zealanders are not immune to the stresses of modern life.
Genetics: People with a family history of eczema are more likely to develop the condition
Research has shown many people with allergies such as hayfever and asthma tend to develop eczema. Different triggers may make it worse, such as heat, cold, dust, soaps, detergents, low humidity and different foods, wheat, eggs, dairy.
Whilst there are different ways to treat the symptoms
Moisturise: Keeping the skin moisturised is essential in managing eczema. Using a fragrance-free moisturiser can help reduce dryness and itching.
Avoid irritants: Avoiding irritants such as commercial soaps, detergents, and cleaning products can help reduce the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups.
Allergy testing: Identifying and avoiding allergens that trigger eczema flare-ups can be beneficial. This can be done through allergy testing.
Stress management: Reducing stress through techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can help reduce eczema flare-ups.
Natural vs Steroid products:
There are many different types of topical products available to treat eczema in New Zealand. These include natural balms, soaps and creams and steroid based creams.
Natural: Natural balms, soaps and creams are made from plant-based ingredients and tend not to irritate skin, with simple ingredients are often used to reduce dryness and itching. They can be effective in managing mild cases of eczema. However, they may not be strong enough to manage severe cases.
Steroid creams: Steroid creams are a type of topical medication that contain corticosteroids. They are often used to manage severe cases of eczema. While they can be effective in reducing inflammation and itching, long-term use can have side effects, including thinning of the skin and increased risk of infection.
Start at the start
Prevention is key, I believe in treating the cause, and trying to find out what triggers the eczema is a start and can save you alot of money long term. There is a lot of research on things like keto and other anti-inflammatory eating regimes that could help, you might even find it reduces other allergen problems you may have.
I myself have reduced gluten, reduced processed foods and kept to a whole food way of life to initially reduce inflammation of my knees (netball injury) when medication was causing other problems. But noticeably my hay fever stopped and my itchy skin (caused by being around hay) stopped. I am not a medical expert but sometimes you have to go back to basics and see what we put into our bodies is just as important as what we put on our bodies. As no amount of natural or pharmacy products will cure it. But if you can reduce the causes will be a great start in managing and reducing future bouts.
There is alot of research out there and if you spend the time and sometimes going through the pain of eliminating possible causes would have long term benefits, which not only saves you money, but pain and suffering of the symptoms of eczema. Goodluck.