Hey there, fellow eczema warriors! We know the struggle all too well – the itchiness, dryness, and those moments when your skin feels like it's rebelling against you. But fear not! In this article, we've got some amazing strategies to help you manage and even heal your eczema. So, get ready to show your skin some love and bid farewell to those pesky flare-ups!
Also known as dermatitis, eczema is a skin condition characterized by inflammation that leads to symptoms such as persistent itching, dryness, rashes, scaly patches, blisters, and skin infections. Itchy skin is the primary indication of eczema, which can manifest in a variety of ways. There are over 31 million people in the United States that experience some form of eczema. It can develop during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, with varying degrees of severity.
Eczema can even affect newborn babies within the first weeks and months after birth. Young children often encounter extremely dry patches of skin, accompanied by intense itching that may lead to blisters and skin infections due to excessive scratching. Adults can also develop eczema, most commonly during their 20s or over the age of 50.
Recommended treatment options including moisturizers, antihistamines, topical steroid creams, and corticosteroids, are often used to manage the symptoms of eczema but they don’t address the underlying issues.
What Causes Eczema?
While the exact cause of eczema remains unknown, researchers believe it arises from a combination of genetic factors and environmental triggers. Many individuals with eczema also report symptoms of hay fever, allergic asthma, and food allergies which indicate these could be part of the problem.
Other possible causes include exposure to environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, poor immune function, toxic ingredients in skin care, or digestive issues, and an altered microbiome.
Who would have thought this could be so complicated?
If there’s one thing we know, it’s this: every single person is different. What causes one person’s eczema will not be the same for someone else. Everyone's got their own unique set of culprits. So, whether it’s related to food allergies, lack of proper nutrition, or a sneaky compromised immune system, it’s time to put your detective hat on and get it figured out! But let’s take a look at several options.
Eczema and Food Triggers
There are certain foods that can trigger skin flare-ups and make your eczema especially angry. Almost every eczema sufferer will have a variety of food sensitivities or allergies that can aggravate already itchy skin. We're talking about gluten-containing grains, refined foods, fried foods, red meat, alcohol (sorry, folks), eggs, and dairy products. They're like the food-allergy villains in the eczema movie with one key objective – to wreak havoc on your skin.
But we’ve got a plan! Start tracking your food intake and be your own food detective. Pay attention to how your body responds to the food you eat and eliminate those sneaky troublemakers through an elimination diet. And hey, don't forget to add some water-rich superheroes to your plate, like celery, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, and zucchini. Your skin will thank you for the hydration boost!
You may not know this, but your skin can absorb anything it comes in contact with. Things like lotions or skin care, chemicals in the water during a shower or bath, or simply the air you are exposed to every day. And while there are some things you don’t have any control over like the air or water, you do have the power to control what goes on your skin and the toxic exposures in your home, work, or general living space.
Let’s look at what you can do to minimize these types of exposures.
Say no to cigarettes, mold, and harsh chemicals! These villains can trigger those eczema flare-ups and leave you itching for days. Invest in an air purifier, grab a trusty dehumidifier to keep mold at bay, and make your surroundings as clean and eczema friendly as possible. And don't forget to step outside for some fresh air and sunlight – they're like natural healers for your skin.
Your Gut Microbiome
Deep within your digestive system are trillions and trillions of microbes that work together to keep you healthy. Just like a beautiful garden, the majority of these microbes exist to provide food and other beneficial compounds for the host – which is you. There are also a few non-beneficial species which, when they overpopulate, can crowd out the good guys leaving your bacterial garden full of weeds instead of flowers. Not a good look.
But here’s the cool part. Every surface on your body – both inside and outside – contains these microbes. And they are different and unique on every part of the body. Some bacteria love the dark, warm environment of the digestive tract, some love the drier areas like elbows and knees, and others thrive in areas that are warm and sweaty like the underarms. So fascinating!
Science has shown us that when the gut microbes are out of balance, which is also known as dysbiosis, the skin microbes can become imbalanced as well, leading to eczema, psoriasis, or other skin maladies.
So, if you’re struggling with any kind of skin issue, supporting a healthy gut is a great first step. Consider eliminating grains, especially those containing gluten, refined sugar, processed dairy (raw dairy or kefir are okay), and other refined foods that make up the standard American diet.
Once you’ve eliminated those, consider adding real fermented foods to your daily diet. Just 1 tablespoon per day will make a huge difference. Consuming foods high in fiber will provide an abundant food source for your microbial friends, helping them to reproduce and multiply inside your digestive tract. And lastly, look for a high-quality probiotic to provide additional support. However, this should not be the only thing you opt to do. Probiotics can help, but they will not completely remodel a garden in disarray.
Mushroom Magic for Your Skin
Mushrooms are making a big comeback these days and for good reason. They have a wide array of therapeutic benefits that have been overlooked for decades. But not anymore.
Research into the world of mushrooms is exploding and we are just beginning to discover brand-new insights about how they work in the body.
When it comes to the skin, there’s a unique and little-known mushroom called tremella, also known as the snow mushroom. White and somewhat translucent, this mushroom looks like a loofa sponge and is pretty much a miracle worker when it comes to the skin.
Tremella – The Fountain of Youth
In China, Tremella is known as the “Fountain of Youth,” because of its many health benefits. It is believed that the snow mushroom reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, supports lung function, and helps maintain clear, glowing skin.
But even more interesting is the history of this elusive mushroom. During the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century, it was noted that one of the Four Beauties of ancient China, Yang Guifei, used Tremella mushroom to enhance her youthful, radiant complexion. In fact, it has been said that she was so incredibly beautiful, her “face would put flowers to shame.”
Tremella is rich in fiber which can improve gut health, helps to support and replenish fluids in the body, supports asthma, constipation, balances cholesterol, and reduces redness and swelling. Tremella is also a rich source of vitamin D which is an important part of healthy skin.
While Tremella mushrooms do not contain collagen itself, the polysaccharides found in Tremella mushrooms help to promote collagen synthesis in the skin, which helps boost skin elasticity and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When cooked, Tremella mushrooms become gooey, thick-ish, and mucilaginous. Although this may not sound overly appetizing, it can be incredibly helpful for those with eczema as it quickly enhances the quality and underlying texture of the skin, reducing redness, itching, and skin lesions.
Finding Quality Tremella
The first thing to remember when looking for Tremella is this: not all mushroom suppliers are the same. Just because the fancy label says it’s Tremella, doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting a quality product. In the US, there is currently no regulatory body that holds supplement manufacturers accountable which means they can cut corners, purchase inferior products, and sell them at high prices with high margins.
As far as finding quality Tremella supplements or simply the actual mushroom itself, let’s take a look at a few of your options.
Cooking With Tremella
As mentioned earlier, you can certainly consume Organic Tremella Mushrooms as part of your diet. Here’s how…
After cooking for several hours in water or bone broth, the mushrooms will soften, becoming thick and gelatinous as the fiber and other compounds are liberated and made ready for absorption. You can use it as a thickening agent in soups or stews, add it to a smoothie, or apply it directly to the skin.
The Best Tremella Supplements
Unfortunately, the average consumer is unaware of the huge number of counterfeit mushroom products on the market. Despite slick advertising campaigns and fancy labels, many companies don’t even use the actual mushroom itself (also known as the fruiting body) in their products. Instead, they will harvest the spores from the immature mushroom shoots, mix them with rice, ferment it for a while, and call it good. The end product has more rice in it than mushrooms!
So, here’s how you can tell a quality product from one you should avoid: look for the word ‘mycelium’ on the label. If you see it, you’ll know the fruiting body of the mushroom hasn’t been used which is NOT what you want.
But now for the good news! There are several companies that have bucked the trend and made the commitment to provide high-quality mushroom products that contain the entire mushroom without any spores or rice. And not surprisingly, their products actually work!
The company we recommend is Real Mushrooms. Their products are light years ahead of the competition. The Tremella is delivered in capsule form and does exactly what it is supposed to do – make your skin look amazing! And for those who struggle with eczema, this is a bold promise! With consistent use, the Tremella from Real Mushrooms will leave you with better looking skin in no time at all!
Hope for Healing Eczema
For many, the constant battle with eczema can feel overwhelming. Conventional treatment options using steroid creams or other over-the-counter medications may cause more harm than good. Realizing there are other options that will not only improve the appearance of your skin and reduce the itching but will actually address the root cause, you can put your skin on notice! The game is about to change!
If you or someone you know has struggled with eczema, share this wellness article with them. Let them know there is hope for recovery. We can help you conquer your skin challenges through the use of alternative options that will actually fix the underlying problem!