Eczema is a common skin condition that causes intense itching, rashes, and dry, flaky or moist, oozing skin. About 1 in 10 people worldwide will suffer from eczema during the course of their lives. Although eczema is common, it can cause significant distress for those who suffer from it. Eczema typically affects skin on the face, neck, and chest, as well as in the folds of skin where elbows, knees and wrists bend, but can appear anywhere on the body.
Most eczema sufferers are diagnosed as young children, and many outgrow it as they get older. In some instances, though, eczema does not improve as children grow up, or it only starts in adulthood.
Causes of Eczema
Although doctors aren't sure what exactly causes eczema, they suspect that it may have something to do with how the immune system functions. Eczema and allergies (another immune reaction) seem to go together often, which supports this idea. Most eczema sufferers find that they have certain triggers that will bring on their eczema. Some of these triggers include certain foods, cold or hot weather, and stress, as well as exposure to allergens.
Once eczema is triggered, sufferers usually scratch the skin affected, which damages the skin and releases inflammatory chemicals. The inflammation causes the itch to begin all over again. This is known as the itch-scratch cycle of eczema. Outbreaks of eczema can look and feel different or affect different parts of the body, even for the same person.
How to Heal Eczema
There is no known cure for eczema, but sufferers may be able to lessen both the number and severity of outbreaks with dietary changes and topical treatments.
Bone broth or unflavored, natural gelatin can be taken internally to strengthen the body's immune and digestive systems, which are thought to play a part in eczema. Probiotics and fermented foods like kefir and apple cider vinegar may also help restore balance to your body's systems so that flare-ups occur less often. Choosing real foods like fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods will increase the amount of vitamins and minerals your body gets, helping it to heal naturally and function better.
Virgin coconut oil can also be used both internally and externally to help heal eczema. Coconut oil is useful to eczema sufferers for several different reasons. The lauric acid it contains can penetrate into skin cells and deliver soothing moisture, fighting back inflammation and infection. Additionally, coconut oil contains high levels of vitamin E, a proven skin soother.
Coconut oil is also rich in antioxidants, so consuming it can help your body heal from the inside out. You can add it to smoothies, mix it into coffee, soups and other hot liquids, or just drink it straight, about 1-2 tablespoons a day. It can also be added to baked goods instead of other oils or used to saute or pan-fry foods.
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