Identifying the root cause of eczema is imperative to effective treatment.
Contributed By Madeline Chua
While it is not a common topic in our everyday conversations, eczema is a huge concern and source of frustration amongst those suffering from it. It is a chronic skin disorder characterized by itchy, dry, cracked, rough and flaky skin. The rashes may be dry and flaky or wet and weepy. The commonly affected areas are inside elbow joints, behind the knees, neck, hands, palms and feet. Often, the skin will flare up followed by periods of improvement. The most unbearable aspect of the affliction is the itch—it gets worse at night, to the point that it can interfere with sleep.
Eczema sufferers may be under-nourished as eczema has a high correlation with nutrient imbalance caused by a poor diet and absorption of nutrients. They may also be overweight as those with eczema tend to shy away from exercise due to their tendency to develop rashes when they perspire. It may also be a side effect attributed to the usage of steroid medication in the treatment of eczema. They often suffer from low self-esteem, helplessness and frustration about their condition.
In a series of workshops conducted by Body Inc. on eczema and other skin problems in July, in-house clinical herbalist Alina Uchida shed light on the causes of eczema as well as the treatments available to help rebalance the body’s digestive and immune systems in order to tackle eczema at the root.
Uchida, who holds a degree in Complementary Medicine, Diploma in Botanical Medicine and a Diploma in Aromatherapy, said, “The causes of eczema are often hereditary, dietary or external—like chemical exposure, climate, dust mites or stress. But while you may be unable to control hereditary or external factors, you can control eczema by eating wisely. Fast food and processed food as well as eggs and diary products are some examples of food to avoid; they aggravate eczema.”
Some of the standard treatments for eczema include corticosteroids, antihistamines, antibiotics and immune suppressants. However, these treatments aim to provide only symptomatic relief, in that they target and minimize flare-ups of symptom such as itching and inflammation. As such, they do not tackle the root problem of eczema, which could be an imbalance in nutrient or body system.
Furthermore, prescription drugs may cause side effects including weight gain and mood swings, or trigger other allergies, explained Uchida. “Prolonged dependence on antibiotics is also not advisable as the antibiotics can destroy the good gut bacteria that are responsible for maintaining a good immune system.”
Uchida concluded the session by recommending seven types of treatments for better skin. “Eliminating the allergens/irritants, cleansing the internal body systems, restoring the immune system, building up good lymphatic support, maintaining good nutrition, managing stress, and consuming herbs and essential oils are all necessary steps for good skin.”
For more details on eczema and/or other health workshops, contact Body Inc. at +65 6333 5656. For more health tips, tune in to FM Gold 90.5 between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays.