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Treating Eczema with Natural Products and Supplements

Eczema is more than a superficial skin condition. It is an autoimmune condition that can be caused by our genetics, our diet, or toxins from both our diet and the environment. Creams and lotions that improve symptoms do not necessarily cure the disease so, although they definitely have their place in a successful treatment plan, it is also necessary to look at what might be compromising the immune system, and to improve diet and detoxification.

This can be a lengthy process but there are things that can be done to help alleviate symptoms relatively quickly. For the rash itself Ecz Easy receives very many favourable testimonials, containing a powerful combination of organic herbs and flowers with renowned soothing, calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Skin Salvation is also very popular for small areas of skin as it contains a therapetic blend of calendula and chickweed. Likewise, Bee Balme can be incredibly soothing due to its Bee Propolis, Beeswax and Vitamin E content.

It is definitely best to avoid high street toiletries and detergents as many chemical preservatives and perfumes (even in those labelled ‘organic’) can aggravate eczema. We would recommend washing with natural soaps like Castile Soap and Lavender & Calendula Soap, then following up with a natural or organic moisturiser to help soothe and soften the skin, and reduce inflammation. Barefoot Botanicals SOS Protect me Daily Rich Body Lotion is just one example of an excellent moisturizer which does not leave a greasy residue.

However, if your skin is severely inflamed or infected, it could react to almost anything new, and you may want to start with something really basic and pure like Shea Butter or Virgin Coconut Oil. To further soothe and moisturise you can add Pure Potions Bath Oil to your bath, or add 5 tablespoons organic oats (preferably in a muslin bag) to the bath water. Natural washing up and laundry liquids are preferable as well. Wash and dryer balls are also a good alternative.

Because the immune system is involved, individuals with eczema often have food intolerances, sensitivities or allergies – commonly to milk or wheat – though potentially to a whole variety of things such as dust mites, pollen, cats and dogs. It is important to identify what triggers an allergic reaction in the individual and, at the same time, to build up the immune system.

Healthy gut bacteria are strongly linked to the correct functioning of the immune system. Clinical studies have demonstrated the importance of probiotic supplements to eczema sufferers. Not only do probiotics (like Pro-otic) increase the numbers of these good bacteria, they also strengthen the immune system in a number of complex ways, as well as help to maintain the gut barrier. When this gut barrier is leaky, the blood tends to become full of toxins and the body also loses (and becomes deficient in) essential nutrients before they have been digested.

One such nutrient which people with eczema have been scientifically shown to be deficient in is omega 3 fatty acids (found in small quantities in oily fish). The best way to supplement Omega 3 Oils is in Marine Fish Oils or Krill Oil. Often they really can help to moisturise the skin and greatly reduce the severity of symptoms.

Probiotics have also been extensively researched. One study suggested that babies at high risk of allergic disorders such as eczema have different types and numbers of bacteria in their digestive tracts than other babies, and that probiotic supplements taken by pregnant women and children may actually reduce the occurrence of childhood eczema.

Another large, long-term study looked at whether the use of a probiotic supplement could influence infantile eczema. Over a thousand pregnant women carrying high-risk babies took a probiotic supplement or a placebo for 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. The newborns then took the same probiotics along with galacto-oligosaccharides (shown to help multiple strains of beneficial bacteria flourish) for 6 months. After 2 years, the probiotics were significantly more effective than placebo at preventing eczema.

Supplementing with Probiotics, and Omega 3 (Marine Fish Oils or Krill Oil), whilst switching to natural or organic products – and especially those designed to tackle eczema – could make all the difference. Eczema is not just skin deep.

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Welcome to the new Natural Shop Blog!

Welcome to our new Blog! Our first post is about Rosacea. We hope you enjoy it and we welcome your comments.

Rosacea (or Acne Rosacea)
symptoms include rough, itchy, red blotched skin, small red bumps or pustules on your nose, cheeks, forehead, and/or chin, small prominent blood vessels on your nose and/or cheeks and a tendency to flush or blush. Hair loss is another unfortunate symptom for some.

The skin is naturally host to many organisms such as bacteria, viruses, mites and other parasites, but in China, research in to Rosacea has concentrated on a mite called demodex  – which is often associated with blackheads, acne and other skin disorders. This mite is less than 0.4 mm long and can live anywhere on the body where there are hair roots and sebum glands, but it tends to be most prevalent on the face, and especially the chin, forehead, nose and cheeks, as these areas provide an optimum temperature in which it can live and breed. Demodex can also live in eyelash roots and cause blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelash follicles), and infect the scalp so that certain people with very reactive immune responses to the mite may suffer hair loss as a consequence.

Signs of a problem with demodex mites include itchiness and a crawling sensation on the face (usually around the eyebrows or nose), mostly at night. Although studies have shown that 98% of the population have demodex and that these mites actually provide a role in processing dead skin and reducing the risk of infections, they can cause a problem when normal balance is disturbed or when our immune systems create an unusual response to them. Inflammation, infection, or skin sloughing off and breaking out in to a rash can result when large numbers of these mites congregate in a single follicle. They have also been linked to acne as some doctors think that an abundance of mites can clog the pores, and allow for the growth of bacteria on the skin.

We tend to gain more of these mites as we get older, and Dr. William Regelson, of the Medical College of Virginia has proposed that Demodex is even implicated in hair loss. He speculates that whether people will eventually lose their hair or not is likely to depend on whether the scalp produces an inflammatory reaction in an attempt to reject the mite.

The mite can not be totally eradicated since it is transferred by face to face contact, so the answer is to continually keep it under control. Green Tea Cleanser and Moisturiser can help (as shown in one small study by Syed Skincare Inc.), but it seems that the most positive results come from using Tea Tree Oil or Sea Buckthorn Oil. Research has shown that Demodex is killed by Tea Tree Oil (in 6 minutes) and by Sea Buckthorn Oil. Pure Tea Tree Oil or Sea Buckthorn Oil might not always be tolerated by people with very sensitive skin but there are a number of effective products combining them with other oils in the form of cleansers, soaps, moisturisers and shampoos.

Demodex can survive for up to 52 hours on bedding where sebum and skin cells are present. It is therefore sensible to wash your hair at least every two days with a Sea Buckthorn or Tea Tree Oil based shampoo, or simply by adding a few drops of pure Tea Tree Oil to the shampoo on your hand each time you wash your hair (leaving it on for 10 minutes before rinsing). Changing your pillow cases every two days can help, as can washing your bedding with a perfume-free and dye-free detergent, adding 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil to each load.

It is particularly important to cleanse your face in the evening, since these mites are more active at night, and when they come into contact with bacteria they carry it down into your pores. Adding 5% of Tea Tree Oil to your existing moisturizer is one way of controlling them. This amounts to roughly a teaspoon for every 100ml of moisturizer – or one drop to every application. What adding the tea tree oil to your moisturizer also does is create a more penetrating moisturizer, thus delivering the moisturizer’s properties deeper into your skin. It is sensible to use Tea Tree Oil cream twice daily, but if the cream is too irritating for your skin you could try using it every second day, with Green Tea and Gingko cream on alternate days.
 
Otherwise, you can try Sea Buckthorn, a berry which has renowned nourishing, revitalizing, and restorative properties. It can be used very effectively for acne, dermatitis, irritated, dry, itchy or sore skin, eczema, skin ulcers, stretch marks, burns, scalds, cuts, burns, bed sores and tissue regeneration. Sea Buckthorn is a naturally high source of vitamins A, C and E, carotenes and flavonoids, as well as vitamins B1, B2, K and P, essential fatty acids (3,6,7, and 9) and phytosterols. Dr. Neal Bhatia, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the UCSD, Sand Diego said patients have found the oil, used in both soap and skin cream, as an excellent natural weapon against the parasite and therefore the disease. Again, it can be added to existing cleansers and moisturisers, or you can try one of the ready mixed products below. We’d love to hear any of your comments and about how you get on!

A number of products are available at The Natural Shop:

Sea Buckthorn Cleanser
Sea Buckthorn Moisturiser
Sea Buckthorn Soap
Apricot & Sea Buckthorn Shampoo
 
100% Tea Tree Oil
Alpinia & Tea Tree Cleansing Wash
Foaming Face Wash for Acne & Rosacea – with Tea Tree Oil
Pegaga Scalp Treatment – with Tea Tree Oil
Intensive Care Dry Scalp Shampoo – with Tea Tree Oil

Green Tea & Gingko Cleanser
Green Tea & Gingko Moisturiser