The term eczema encompasses a number of red , itchy, skin conditions. Eczema may appear as a dry, scaly, rash or weepy, oozing blisters. It is a type of dermatitis that literally means “inflamed skin.” Chronic eczema causes dry, red, flaky, patches on the skin, most frequently involving the face, neck, scalp, arms, elbows, wrists, and knees. Overall, eczema is estimated to affect up to 20 percent of Americans.
There are two main types: contact dermatitis, which occurs when an irritating substance comes into contact with the skin and eczema caused by inhaled or ingested allergens, such as foods, pollen, dust or animal hair dander. There are three main objectives in the treatment of eczema: reducing inflammation, relieving itching of the skin, and moisturizing dry patches.
Some of the dietary and lifestyle considerations are to avoid known dietary or environmental irritants or allergens. Reduce the build up of arachidonic acid within skin cells, as it is a direct building block of inflammation. This can be done by reducing the intake of the following foods: high-fat meat and dairy products, corn oil, sunflower seed oil, safflower seed oil, and mixed vegetable oils; alcohol and hydrogenated fats. Replace the above foods with chicken, turkey, fish, low-fat cheese, olive oil, canola oil or peanut oil.
Some of the supplements that can also help are Omega 3 fats, Gamma-linolenic acid, B-vitamins, antioxidants (Vit C, E, selenium and zinc), detoxification nutrients and immune regulators (milk thistle, indole 3 carbinol, probiotics, and enzymes). Lastly, the treatment of eczema lesions can be aided with the application of Vitamin B12 in children and young adults. The diet and supplementation practices outlined in this article can provide significant improvement of eczema in many cases.