And I'm not talking about a dry patch here and there.
It came in waves and phases of histamine firing, skin bubbling, itching, cracking, bleeding, peeling agony. Back of my knees, inside my elbows, neck, face, and hands...
Throughout my childhood my parents, obeying doctors' orders, slathered me with prescription-strength topical steroid creams and commercial lotions. I suffered terribly through high school and college and into adulthood.
I began my pursuit of natural healing in 1997. I had it kicked for a long while having observed a diet and supplement regimen to rid my body of over-growth of yeast (candida albicans), detoxifying drinks and coffee enemas (yes, I was desperate - vying for the extreme options cancer patients were getting results from it -it did seem to help but I can't endorse this practice as there isn't science to back it up).
But 7 years later the eczema came back. With a vengeance. All over my body.
I was desperate. I couldn't live like this.
I went to see the best dermatologist in Atlanta. When he saw me he brought in his associates and interns telling them this was the worst case of eczema he had ever seen. Then, he proceeded to shoot me up with the most high-powered steroid treatments available - three different injections.
I got immediate relief. My skin cleared up and healed. For 2 weeks I felt like a normal person.
Then the side effects of the steroids started kicking in. And the eczema came back.
The next 6 years my health declined rapidly and I believe many of my issues were a result of those high powered steroid shots on top of years and years of cycles of steroid creams, pills and antibiotics taken as a result of infections due to supressed immune system.
Since 2009 I have been hunkering down into the clean and green lifestyle step by step, bit by bit.
Though I still get an occasional flare up on my fingers and on my neck, I can tell you that I believe I have solved the eczema problem.
It's a rather complicated equation. I'd really like to boil it down to 6 keys, hoping this helps others.
1. Food Alert: In the beginning of healing your body you absolutely have to go on a very strict elimination diet and you may need to take some supplements to aid in healing the gut. I recommend you see a naturopath who can do some testing to see what your body is reacting to and help you with some appropriate supplements. Here are a list of foods you most likely are reacting to:
- wheat and anything with wheat in it
- gluten altogether - any grains with gluten
- canned foods (chemicals and some metals in the cans leach into the foods)
- artificial sweeteners (except stevia - stevia seems to be ok)
- hydrogenated fats, commercial oils
- fish with high metal/mercury content
- non organic meats
- shrimp and all shellfish
Yeah, yeah.... I know it sounds daunting. But if you want to heal your eczema you have to get serious.
This is what you CAN eat generally:
- some quinoa and brown rice
- fresh, organic dark leafy greens of all varieties
- fresh, organic berries, apples, melon, citrus
- fresh, organic root vegetables (barring potatoes if you're avoiding nightshades)
- raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- apple cider vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- organic, virgin coconut oil and milk
- dried lentils, legumes soaked and cooked
- organic herbal teas and oolong tea
- organic free range chicken
- grass fed beef, buffalo/bison
- clean, wild caught salmon and other varieties of clean fish
2. Clean-n-Green Environs: It's important to do your best to eliminate the toxic chemicals from your home and work environment as much as possible. Here's a cheat sheet and some tips:
- Replace dish liquid with Castile soap. You can scent with a bit of pure-grade essential oils
- Make your own laundry detergent (just try to use the unscented bar of castile soap)
- Make your own glass cleaner with
- 1 pint (2 cups) water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 10-15 drops of Purify essential oil or Lavender
- Clean your surfaces and tub/shower with
- 1 tsp borax
- 1/2 tsp washing soda
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap
- essential oils as preferred- I use Purify from doTerra 20 drops
- Fill your house and office with air cleaning plants such as Boston Fern, Pothos, Peace Lily, Dracaena, Bamboo Palm
- Essential oils for air freshening and cleaning with a diffuser
3. Clean-n-Green Skin, Hair, Personal Care: If it's poison to eat, don't put it on your skin. Throw out and stop buying commercial products. Here are some ideas:
- You need some ready-made products on hand. I have fallen in love with Gilly's Organics. I use the Good Clean Suds, Better for Body Butter everyday as well as her shampoos. She's a friend and colleague of mine who started creating home-made products that were clean and green in her kitchen and now she's selling them! And most importantly, these products have helped me heal my skin and keep it smooth and calm - no itching.
- You can replace hand soap, face soap and body soap with liquid castile soap.
- Use witch hazel as your toner for face cleansing
- Look for cosmetics made with all natural, organic plant ingredients
- Brush your teeth with baking soda and a bit of peppermint essential oil or order Earthpaste (I love Earthpaste)
- You can use coconut oil as moisturizer anywhere on your body
4. Hydrate from the inside out: Every day be sure you are drinking enough purified water.
5. Keep the bowels squeaky clean and work on healing the gut: This is essential. While there is debate on what is a healthy frequency, I refer to revered Dr. Joseph Mercola on this one. Read about how to know if you have healthy bowel activity and how to heal your gut.
- Eat lots of high fiber fruits and veggies every day at every meal
- Supplement with an insoluable fiber and plenty of water
- Take magnesium citrate to relax the muscles of the intestines
- Take a probiotic on an empty stomach in the morning 30 minutes before you eat
- Drink 16 ounces of warmed water with juice of 1/2 lemon through a straw upon rising in the morning
6. Learn to Relax... Get a Grip on your Stress: Last but not least, this key is key... You must train your mind and body to relax on a daily basis. It's something that does not come to you automatically. You have to practice.
- Download my free guided meditation to relax right here on this website and stay tuned for a whole series of downloadable guided relaxations coming soon here.
- Practice gentle, restorative or yin yoga. Look for a class in your area or check out the many downloadable yoga classes here
- Practice meditation.
- Choose to embrace a mindfulness practice.
Solving the eczema problem requires patience and dedication. You can't expect overnight relief but these 6 keys will be the foundation of your healing journey....
Your itch-free guide,