There is no known single cause of eczema and many different ideas as to why it occurs. Current research is considering the roles of the Immune system, skin genetic mutations (it seems that it can run in families) and microbiome (bacteria/ viruses and yeast) and we know many factors such as stress and diet also impact its aggressiveness.
For us here at Ferlow Botanicals we very much consider the barrier function of the skin of great importance so that our products do not disturb but go towards repairing and protecting the skin. We use no colour or artificial fragrance. We use subtle amounts of essential oils in a small selection of our products to add the therapeutic benefit of these natural essence to improve our botanical bases.
The inflammation that often occurs with this condition is linked to impaired barrier function of the skin, a great way to understand this is to consider skin surface being similar to that of a wall (cells). The skin cells being building blocks and the cement that would stick everything together is missing, allowing everything that touches the skin to penetrate the skin causing aggravation deep within the dermis.
The surface of the skin also lacks oil lipids, these provide moisture but also provide an ingredient in the ‘cement’ further leading to a lack of the barrier.
So without this precious barrier, the skin is very sensitive, allergens ( dust mites, pollen and microbes) can penetrate causing infections and reactions that are difficult to control. Irritants such as detergents, artificial colour and fragrances will also penetrate causing further aggravation.
The skin then produces large amounts of antibodies to fight all of these aggravators, the redness that so often occurs with this condition is the skin fighting all these things that are attacking its surface.
There is also the Microbiome theory: studies have shown which is that some areas of the body like the moist areas of the elbow and knee crease hold higher levels of bacteria. Studies have shown that these areas often have higher levels due to the moisture often found in these specific areas. There are also considerations that the gut flora may also play into this theory.
Key things to help this eczema
- Less frequent bathing and using cooler water
- Using emollient cream to protect the skin and mimic barrier function of the skin.
- Gentle cleansing avoiding harsh shower gels and shampoos and using a very mild Ph balanced (not stripping the skin further and disturbing the acid mantle on the skin) cleanser
- Avoid swimming pools that use chlorine
Things to avoid
-Harsh washing machine detergent – Find a natural one or dilute before using. European style washing machines which use 1/4 the detergent are helpful.
-Avoid all artificial fragrance and synthetic colour within your skincare routine.
-Wear gloves when using cleaning agents in your home.
-Swimming Pools that use chlorine or bromine
Some people with eczema also found that their body can react strongly to some foods. One of the particular groups are foods that are high in salicylate ( tomatoes peppers, peanuts, oranges to name a few ) as these often trigger a histamine reaction causing itching and redness found in these particular foods. Eating a healthy diet with organic food that is in their simplest form and unprocessed will help your whole body system.
So many possible triggers in this area, moving to a new house with a whole new set of allergens lurking can either improve or cause a flare.
Lots of sufferers find that a healthy dose of sun helps but for some the sun makes their condition worsen!
Keeping cool is of great importance and avoid fabric that irritates, such as wool, and choosing fabric that reduces sweating such as cotton is a great idea. Taking cool showers or using a ceiling fan can also help.
We have a collection of products made from Neem which has given results in helping many eczema sufferers. Neem works on many levels so it calms the skin, encourages healing and is capable of squashing any cheeky bacteria that might be lurking.
Link to Neem Products.