Eczema

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Kima
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Eczema

Postby Kima » 04 Jan 2013, 15:39

I've always had sensitive skin and a bit of eczema. I had some itchy red patches on my upper arms, which decreased when I stopped using fabric softener and switched to an eco brand of laundry soap. It's still there though, just not too active.

At some point I developed eczema in my armpits. My doctor advized that I stop using deodorant. I didn't manage to do that but finally found one that worked for me and, in spite of the alcohol and essential oils in the deo, the eczema is completely gone in that area.

I've had quite a bit of eczema on my fingers for about seven years and it really annoys me. It may have started at the time when I painted my nails, I'm no longer sure (I soon stopped doing that) My doctor prescribed argan oil and a greasy cream. It's still going strong although it's less painful now that I've switched to more natural cleaning products and use less soap than before.

I also tend to have eczema under my eyebrows, and the eyebrows themselves can develop a bit of dandruff (I really don't like the picture of me that this post encourages readers to develop - it's nothing too obvious, ok?). I've given up eyeliner, seldom wear makeup now, and use the same cream as for the finger eczema.

And there's an issue with my scalp now, it's very itchy and flaky in places. Shampoo burns my scalp, makes it dry and flaky, and it soon goes very greasy (Lush shampoo bars, not regular shampoo). I'm trying to give up shampoo entirely but, five weeks in, I'm having a flare-up and it's hard to decide what to do. I've looked for alternative shampoo brands but cannot find anything without any Sodium Lauryl (or coco) Sulfate, alcohol, or perfume. I've stuck to no shampoo so far, have tried this recipe instead - http://crabappleherbs.com/blog/2008/02/ ... hair-care/ - and ordered emu oil to apply to sensitive areas.

Alright, now you know way too much about my relationship with eczema, but perhaps some of you have ideas or recommendations?

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Re: Eczema

Postby paikea » 04 Jan 2013, 17:50

Have you considered looking into dietary issues? If you have had antibiotics for instance at any time your gut health will have been negatively impacted which can lead to skin problems. For us wheat and dairy are issues (as well as cleaners, washing powders etc). I try to stick to a fairly TF (traditional foods) diet and cook 99% of our food myself. We eat fermented foods to help with gut issues DH has because of ABX (mainly things like kimchi and saurkraut).

There is a fair amount of info about this out there so it should be relatively easy to find out more.

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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 04 Jan 2013, 20:53

I have irritable bowel syndrome so there may indeed be a link between eczema and my digestive system. I'm off wheat and lactose anyway - among other things - due to that condition but went a little overboard during the holiday, which may partly explain the flare-up. The cold and dry weather is another factor. Another thing is that my partner likes to wash bedlinen with mainstream products, which inevitably contain a bit of softener and other nasty things.

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Re: Eczema

Postby ShadowCat » 05 Jan 2013, 07:44

The link between gut-issues and skin problems is recognised in naturopathy. Working on building a healthy gut (if you don't already do so) could aleviate both IBS and your skinproblems.
I recognise the problems you describe with the eyebrows and the scalp. I've got the same problem, probably as a result of CFS. I use very little skinscare, only organic and EDTA- and SLS- free. That includes toothpaste etc. I often just use dr bronners soap (diluted) for most washing actions. Combined with no-poo in periods that things are better.
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Re: Eczema

Postby illion » 05 Jan 2013, 08:33

Dear, Kima :)

I have the same issues with eczema in the scalp. I have found a shampoo that is 100% organic with juniper. Juniper is said to solve many hair and scalp issues, and it really has helped me. This shampoo is produced locally here in Norway, and I don't think they deliver abroad, but maybe you could try to use a good, organic shampoo and rinse your hair with juniper water?

I really hope you find a solution to your problems.

Hugs from Illion

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Re: Eczema

Postby paikea » 05 Jan 2013, 10:22

ditch all the "normal" cleaners because even a little bit can cause a lot of issues if you spend 7+ hours rolled up in it! and yes gut health would be a good thing to wok on. whenever I talk to people who want to work on guthealth I recomend this site:http://www.wildfermentation.com/ he has several books and a lot of information on his website. Imo its a great startingpoint :)

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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 06 Jan 2013, 12:32

Thanks for the advice.

I've been using organic (or at least natural) shampoo for years but they contain SLS or a version of it and so I've stopped using them. The only SLS-free shampoos I've seen are Dr Hauschka and Weleda, but they both contain alcohol and are too expensive. I'll stick with no-poo for now.

I'm seeing a doctor for both the IBS and the eczema, and we're working on it over time using food supplements, phytotherapy and homeotherapy. I usually like fermented foods but at the moment they would exacerbate my gut symptoms. I've been on lactose-free products for months and am considering switching back to ewe dairy, which was better for my skin problems than cow milk. My IBS is a little better now so I may be able to handle a bit more lactose, which in ewe milk is easier to digest.

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Re: Eczema

Postby illion » 07 Jan 2013, 07:20

I hope you get better soon without shampoo.

If you rinse your hair with water every now and then, maybe you could try juniper in the rinsing water? It really is a fabulous plant when it comes to hair and scalp.

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Re: Eczema

Postby ShadowCat » 07 Jan 2013, 08:38

Kima, don't always think the eco-stuff is more expensive, since you need less of it per use. I shampoo (when I do, like after swimming in chlorinated water) with weleda chestnut shampoo, with an amount of half a pea, and it works great. I just finished a tube I had for four years. So, it's an investment once in a while, but day per day, it's often cheaper. Also, the bronner's stuff should be diluted, so you can have a stockbottle for years, and a diluted bottle for use and refill. If you don't dilute it, you literally only need one drop for most jobs.
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Re: Eczema

Postby jgolledge » 21 Jan 2013, 18:11

Hi Kima,
Here is a herbal perspective for you to consider.
First of all, one of the best things for your hair health in general is Nettles. If you can find a natural hair rinse or shampoo based on Nettles, it will only help.

As far as the overall picture with IBS and Eczema, I would suggest you try taking Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) either in a tea or tincture form. You could actually use the cooled tea as a hair rinse also. I would have to ask you a lot more questions in order to get a better picture of things, but that is a start anyways. I do hope it helps!

Warmly,
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Re: Eczema

Postby Corwen » 21 Jan 2013, 20:07

I had eczema for years and it was especially bad when I was working in a bookshop, especially arms, eyelids, scalp, and ultimately itchy patches all over... The solvents in the book ink were making me ill I think, it cleared up when I left. What do you do for a living? It may be your are exposed to something in your work or hobby life that is a problem. Reading a newspaper was enough to give me contact dermatitis when I was at the worst point of eczema.

You are also still being exposed to a lot of chemicals and detergents. Have you seen the 'no soap or shampoo' thread here? My wife and I are both shampoo free for years and years and only use pure olive oil soap. We try to only use a tiny bit of laundry detergent, unless our clothes are actually muddy in which case we wash those apart from the others. I do have to use anti-bacterial handwash sometimes, but I think the low detergent burden really helps to reduce eczema. To heal yourself you could try an absolutely cold turkey regime, no shampoo, detergent or skin cream, just a small amount of pure olive oil soap for 6 weeks or a couple of months and see if there is an improvement. Try washing your clothes with laundry balls instead of soap, they increase the agitation of the machine and if your clothes aren't actually muddy can wash them fine.

The only toothpaste I've found that neither contains talc or sodium laureth sulphate but also gets teeth clean is Weleda's Salt Toothpaste. It is powerful stuff when you first try it!

Something I found made a big difference was water hardness, as my eczema always improved when I went to a soft water area. Hard water is irritating in itself and you have to use more soap and there is more chlorine in hard water. You could try washing in distilled water for a couple of weeks, and if it helps you could then get a home distiller.

Lastly enough omega 3, and the right ratio between omega 3 and omega 6 is really important for skin health. Reducing your omega 6 intake whilst increasing the omega 3s is very good for eczema. Oily fish (I love Rollmops but mackerel, herring, kippers etc are all great), some seeds, especially flax seeds, and many nuts, especially walnuts and hazelnuts are high in 3. Reducing the amount of seed oils like sunflower oil, margarine, palm oil (which is in most processed foods) etc will reduce the omega 6 you are taking in. Changing this ratio will reduce inflammation generally in your body, especially your skin. If you don't eat oily fish regularly you may be critically short of omega 3.

Stress also doesn't help, meditating every day is supposed to help eczema.

Hope something here helps, good luck!
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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 22 Jan 2013, 09:14

First of all, one of the best things for your hair health in general is Nettles. If you can find a natural hair rinse or shampoo based on Nettles, it will only help.
This is great, I found out about nettles a couple of weeks ago and have been using nettle infusions with a dash of apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair. This is my 8th week off shampoo and by now my hair looks more or less normal. The eczema is still there but less itchy. I'll look into marshmallow.

I use very little soap and have switched to pure olive oil soap. I've handed my Ecover laundry product to my partner who now uses that for the bedlinen while I wash my clothes with soapnuts - no synthetic detergent whatsoever. I clean the flat with home-made products most of the time, or else ecological ones. My partner still uses other things occasionally, he's only starting to realise the effect that these things can have on my health!
I had eczema for years and it was especially bad when I was working in a bookshop, especially arms, eyelids, scalp, and ultimately itchy patches all over... The solvents in the book ink were making me ill I think, it cleared up when I left. What do you do for a living? It may be your are exposed to something in your work or hobby life that is a problem. Reading a newspaper was enough to give me contact dermatitis when I was at the worst point of eczema.
Alright, that would explain the eczema on my fingers! A GP once told me it could be the ink in my pen which wasn't convincing. I am holding books ALL THE TIME! And the patches would correspond with the skin that comes into contact with printed paper. I can't really imagine wearing gloves all day but thanks, Corwen, I've just had a little epiphany :blink:

Water is hard here, and I am finding out other or more minimal ways to wash myself than showers, which already seems to help (no more itchy skin all over).

I have oils supplements and already avoid margarine (yuck) and palm oil and the like.

Meditation... I told myself I would do it every day yet I often seem to find excuses...

Thank you for these suggestions! It's already helping me and it can encourage other readers of the thread to make changes :D

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Re: Eczema

Postby Nemoryn » 24 Feb 2013, 21:24

Kima, that sounds so much better than your starting post!
Usual cleanser (if for hair, hands, body or laundry) often dry out. I found out that mainly two ingredients are outdrying: At first, the category of the sulfates (SLS, ALS ... - everything on the INCI-list with "sulfate").
Natural cosmetics use instead of these very aggressive detergents oftens detergents on the basis of coconut, often coconut sulfates. That is the second very outdrying ingredient.
Most products for cleansing use at minimum one of the two, often more.
My solution for my body and hair is natural soap (contains only saponified natural oils and sometimes essential oils or perfume) without coconut oil. For my hair I use an Avocado oil based soap, for my face I love the sheabutter-seasalt combination.
I found my solution through a research on the German LHN ("Langhaarnetzwerk" - a forum for people who want to grow healthy hair). At the english forum LHC (Long Hair Community) you can find similar threads, too.

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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 14 Jul 2015, 07:14

The chronic eczema on my hands is slowly progressing and it's also starting under the sole of one of my feet. I'm worried about it. I've been trying coconut oil and it feels nice but has made no real difference. I thought stress was causing the eczema to stay and develop but I'm on holiday at the moment and it's got worse! I've reduced cosmetics to almost nothing and use vinyl gloves when I come into contact with even mild irritants. Still, no effect on the eczema which is permanent and seems to be spreading faster than before.

By the way, the IBS has been under control for a couple of years now - which is not to say it's completely gone.

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Re: Eczema

Postby DaRC » 14 Jul 2015, 11:09

For my psoriasis, which is not chronic, I have noticed improvement from drinking Forever Living's Aloe Vera Gel
http://www.aloe4us.com/aloe-vera-and-eczema-testimony/
It is expensive though and I've found some of their other products, such as deoderant to badly affect my skin.

I'm still not certain if it's the placebo effect from the drink or not; but it might be worth trying.
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Re: Eczema

Postby ShadowCat » 14 Jul 2015, 11:26

For my psoriasis, which is not chronic, I have noticed improvement from drinking Forever Living's Aloe Vera Gel
(...)it might be worth trying.
Forever Living is so ridiculously expensive because it is sold via multilevel marketing schemes. Sad, because I agree that the base product (the drinkable gel) isn't bad. The other products they sell are mostly bogstandard stuff with fancy labels.

There are other 100% natural aloe-drinks on the market though, that are more resonably priced. Your local wholefoods store should carry some of them. It reminds me to start the bottle that has been sitting in my fridge for a while too, because I'm in an itchyscratchyphase too at the moment.
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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 18 Jul 2015, 14:16

Thank you for your replies. I'll investigate aloe drinks at local organic shops and natural pharmacies. I wonder whether you've tried working directly with the plant? I had one when I was a teenager and sometimes used the gel of the broken leaves for skin care. I suppose it would be possible to ingest it in that form :thinking:

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Re: Eczema

Postby ShadowCat » 19 Jul 2015, 08:55

I suppose it would be possible to ingest it in that form :thinking:
You can but you will find that it is very "cleansing" for the colon if you know what I mean :grin:

There are certain alkaloids in the fresh juice that have strong laxative purposes. In the bottled juice they are less active. In high doses, most alkaloids are toxic to some degree. So that is good to keep in mind before you go off munching on your plant.
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Re: Eczema

Postby illion » 20 Jul 2015, 08:56

I had the same problem some years ago, still have, but not as much as then. Now I can control it with good, fatty, hand lotions, but when my hands were real bad and I had to wear cotton gloves and not get in contact with water there was no way without a cure of antibiotics and hydrocortison.

I tried aloe vera drinks, and gels and lotions but nothing made me better. If your eczema is really bad you have to go to a dermatologist. It can be dangerous if not treated, giving you sepsis or something. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for natural and organic treatment, but go and see a professional.

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Re: Eczema

Postby Kima » 20 Jul 2015, 10:28

There are certain alkaloids in the fresh juice that have strong laxative purposes. In the bottled juice they are less active. In high doses, most alkaloids are toxic to some degree. So that is good to keep in mind before you go off munching on your plant.
Haha thanks for the warning. I get your point and will see if I can find bottled juice locally.
If your eczema is really bad you have to go to a dermatologist. It can be dangerous if not treated, giving you sepsis or something. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for natural and organic treatment, but go and see a professional.
My GP doesn't seem particularly alarmed at this point. I don't have an open-blister type of eczema so I suppose I'm only at risk for sepsis when my skin gets too dry and cracks open on my fingers. I tried a corticoid cream once but it only seemed to make things worse, so I'll avoid it as far as I can. I'm still considering seeing a dermatologist but in my experience specialists have never helped much (except for more practically-minded types such as physiotherapists - though not for exczema obviously)


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