Root Causes of Eczema
Anyone who’s ever dealt with the terrible dry, itchy, red skin caused by eczema has probably wondered “What could possibly be causing this?!” I don’t blame you, it can be incredibly frustrating. For some eczema develops at around 3 years of age and quite often you may be suffering with periodic outbreaks of itchy skin and eczema throughout childhood and adult life. For others, eczema may develop later in life due to specific body system imbalances. I think the most important thing to know is that the skin is merely a reflection of what’s happening within the body.
Food sensitivities occur when you have an immune response to eating a certain food. Unlike food allergies, which are usually severe and immediate, food sensitivity symptoms can be fairly mild and take up to 72 hours to present, so they often go undetected. However, even if they aren’t as severe as food allergies, these repeated immune reactions lead to a serious buildup of inflammation, eventually triggering eczema.
Common Causes of Eczema
The most common irritants for eczema are:
- Chemical irritants in household or personal hygiene products
- Environmental irritants/allergies (dust, dust mites, polle), which can lead to an overactive immune system if constantly exposed
- Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency
- Gut imbalances, such as leaky gut and candida overgrowth, which can lead to food sensitivities, inflammation, and an autoimmune response
- Liver and toxin overload, which can lead to chemical sensitivities or a chemical intolerance
Natural Solutions to Healing Eczema
The first thing to do in most cases with eczema is to repair the gut. But, I wanted to share something that should be kept in mind if you struggle with eczema. If eczema develops due to an imbalance within the liver, specifically if there is a high toxic load within the body, often times the liver can become sluggish and have difficulty with detoxification. In this kind of scenario, for some individuals, a chemical sensitivity or intolerance can develop. These are chemicals that occur naturally in foods which generally include grapes, oranges, kiwi, soy sauce, tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, dried fruits, deli meats, eggs, caffeine, chocolate, coffee, & dairy. Many of these foods are also high in histamine.
If you suffer from eczema and/or allergies, before you dive into a gut repairing journey that includes tons of fermented foods and beverages, it is important to be aware of histamine. If you have a histamine intolerance you may react very intensely to high histamine foods (fermented foods and beverages), such as kombucha, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, beer, wine, and cheese as they are high in histamines.
Histamine is broken down by an enzyme called DAO. Some people can become deficient in this enzyme or it can get blocked due to heavy alcohol consumption. Histamine intolerance doesn’t just affect eczema, it can also play a role in acne and rosacea (reddening of the skin). For those that get red in the face or experience flushing from alcohol, may have a deficiency of this enzyme.
Caffeine also blocks the enzyme DAO. Therefore, if you are experiencing extremely itchy skin you may find relief from eliminating coffee, cacao, and caffeine rich teas from your diet.
Heal your Gut
Leaky gut or intestinal permeability is where the tight junctions of your small intestine open up, allowing bacteria, toxins, viruses, and food particles to escape into your bloodstream.Your immune system tags all of these particles that don’t belong as foreign invaders and goes into attack mode, triggering a big spike in inflammation. This can not only cause eczema, it also leaves you vulnerable to developing more serious conditions down the road. Candida, or yeast overgrowth, and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, also known as SIBO, are two very common gut infections that disrupt your gut microbiome, leading to leaky gut and eczema.Candida, in particular, is a big culprit for eczema because the yeast itself can colonize your skin once your gut becomes permeable. Healing your gut can bring immediate relief to healing eczema and histamine intolerances.
Resolving Eczema for Good
For most people, there are a number of these root causes at play in their eczema, especially when it comes to the gut health issues. That’s why it’s key to get the right testing and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all of the underlying factors, so you can say goodbye to eczema once and for all!