"Look for probiotic products that have been backed by scientific research," says best-selling author Fred Pescatore, MD., who recommends Essential Formulas Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics 12 PLUS (the product has been used in university studies).
Technically known as dermatitis, eczema is actually a group of skin conditions that affects an estimated 15 million Americans. It's marked by redness, peeling skin, open sores, and incessant itching. If that weren't bad enough, conventional treatments aren't always effective and often rely on antibiotics and topical steroids that can thin the skin, weaken an already delicate immune system, and damage the liver. Fortunately, Mother Nature has a number of safe, effective tricks up her sleeve to help control this condition.
What Makes Your Eczema Flare Up?
For some people, a dry climate can trigger eczema. For others, stress or illness can worsen the disease. Certain foods (particularly wheat, gluten, and dairy), fabrics, or the chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and cleaning products can also produce symptoms or make them worse. Keeping a food journal and/or trying an elimination diet can help you pinpoint underlying food allergies triggering eczema symptoms.
Studies show that some people with eczema do not have the ability to process fatty acids normally. This can result in a deficiency of the fatty acid GLA. Studies show that supplementing with GLA-rich (borage, evening primrose, or black currant) can help prevent eczema outbreaks. In one review of 26 clinical trials, British researchers concluded that evening primrose oil effectively reduced itching, crusting, swelling, and redness when used routinely for four to eight weeks.
Treat and Prevent Eczema Naturally
Another fatty acid-DHA-can also soothe angry skin, and can be found in fatty fish such as salmon. A randomized, double-blind trial of 53 patients with eczema found that taking 5.4 grams of supplemental DHA significantly improved symptoms.
Probiotics can also help prevent eczema, at least in children. Several studies show that exposure to beneficial bugs both before birth and during the first two years of life appears to stop eczema before it even starts.
Topical treatments can also be effective. Natural creams containing chamomile have proved just as effective for itching and inflammation as a hydrocortisone cream. If you suffer from cracked skin or open wounds, you can also try tamanu oil. This Polynesian oil contains potent polyphenols that can help heal wounds and encourage the formation of new tissue.
American Health Evening Primrose Oil comes in easy-to-swallow softgels, and contains 117 mg per serving of GLA to help prevent eczema outbreaks.
Genuine Health 03mega+ Glow is a blend of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that work together for all-around skin health. It also has red tomato extract and bilberry for beautiful skin.
New Chapter True Tamanu Oil has natural antibacterial properties and has been used traditionally to treat blemishes and skin eruptions, and to promote new tissue formation.
ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Therapy is a soothing, moisturizing lotion that contains naturally GLA-rich borage oil that penetrates cells and nourishes ravaged skin.