It’s Eczema Awareness Week from May 13-19, and according to dermatologists, Australia has one of the highest incidences of eczema in the world.
The skin condition affects between 10 to 15 per cent of the Australian population; the likelihood is higher in children, with 33 per cent of Australian children suffering from eczema (there’s also a nearly 25 per cent chance of a child developing the illness before the age of two).
Eczema affects the skin, causing itching, dry and cracked skin, hives, blotches and redness. Skin affected by eczema is also more sensitive and hence vulnerable to bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and viruses such as the cold sore virus.
Naturopath Caroline Robertson says, “Eczema can develop for a number of reasons, including climate, lifestyle, hygiene and genetics and can become easily infected, causing pain, inflammation and lack of sleep.”
Here are some tips for you if you’re a suffering from eczema:
- Watch your diet: Reduce or avoid sugar and yeast, instead opt for oily fish, vitamin A and E rich foods and omega-3 rich foods like flaxseeds and walnuts. It can also help if you keep a food diary to track when flareups occur.
- Try supplements: Take skin strengthening vitamin, and probiotics with the lactobacillus rhamnosus strain.
- Avoid irritants: Harsh soaps, foaming agents, fragrances and preservatives in skincare or washing detergents are best avoided.
- Turn the heat down: Reduce the heat of the shower, as it strips natural oils from the skin and further irritates it.
- Keep skin moist: Apply fragrance-free products straight after bathing that include calming ingredients such as shea butter, calendula, lavender, oatmeal and liquorice.
- Look at your gut health: Often, any issues occurring in the gut can reflect in our skin. Increase your gut-friendly foods such as nourishing bone broth & probiotics.
- Seek medical help if necessary.