Eczema is a skin condition that I see frequently in my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice. It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by dry skin that becomes irritated, inflamed, and itchy. Excessive scratching can lead to open sites on the skin which can increase one’s risk of infection. Eczema can occur anywhere on the skin but is most common on the flexors of the elbows, knees and wrists. It is also commonly found on the face, back, arms and legs. After flare ups the skin can appear thickened and scaly and can even affect the pigmentation of the skin.
This condition is thought to be caused by the immune system being hyper reactive to an irritant (such as environmental or food) and is also more common in people with a family or personal history of allergies or asthma. Stress is also known to be a significant trigger.
This skin condition can be experienced in different intensities and in all age groups, and can significantly impact one’s quality of life. There is a lot that Naturopathic Medicine has to offer in the treatment of Eczema. Keep reading below to see how I most commonly treat my patients suffering from this debilitating condition.
Eczema and Botanical Medicine/Herbs
Herbs are a very powerful way of treating this inflammatory skin condition. Herbs can be used internally to support the skin, as well as topically to soothe and heal the skin. In every patient, these herbs are chosen specifically to ensure they do not interact with any medications the patient is currently taking. You can read more about herbs here.
Vitamins and Supplements
Based on the patients individual symptoms and health history, professional grade supplements can be used to treat the patient. I typically choose anti-inflammatory supplements as well as supplements that are specific for healing the skin. As a Naturopathic Doctor I typically treat my patients digestive system as well because many skin conditions are linked to the health of the gut. If the digestive system is not functioning optimally we can see problems arise with the immune system as well as the skin, and since it is thought that eczema is linked to a hyperactive immune system reacting to irritants, supporting the digestive system with good quality supplements becomes that much more important. You can read more about professional grade supplements here.
Food Sensitivity Testing
Food sensitivities can definitely trigger irritated and inflamed skin, and I have seen this so often in my practice. By testing for food sensitivities we can determine which foods may be triggering a patients immune system, and eliminate these positive foods from that patients diet. Doing this can allow the immune system to become less reactive in general. The foods that are eliminated do not have to be removed from the patients diet forever, and reintroduction is performed while evaluating the patients response. I have seen many cases of eczema clear up by eliminating food sensitivities. You can read more about food sensitivity testing here.
Although not one of my first choices of modalities in the treatment of eczema, acupuncture can help with treatment, as well as having many other benefits. You can read more about acupuncture here.
Stress is thought to be a significant trigger to eczema and so stress management for my patients is very important. For some people this is yoga or meditation, or going to the gym or engaging in physical activity, and for others it is a hobby or having a good friend to talk to. Everyone has different ways of managing their stress and some methods work better for some than for others. Read more about this here.
As you can see, there is a lot that Naturopathic Medicine has to offer in the treatment of Eczema. If you have any questions about how it can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me at my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice at (403) 719-2594!
Naturopathic Vitality Clinic
205-5403 Crowchild Trail NW