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Eczema and Dermatitis

Atopic eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin disease most prevalent in children but also common in adults. Eczema or dermatitis is usually diagnosed by the presence of a red, itchy rash on the skin which may be dry & cracked or wet & weepy – the inside of elbows & backs of knees are commonly affected along with the face, hands, neck & ankles. Constant itching often leads to a secondary bacterial or viral infection which tends to further complicate the problem.

Types of Dermatitis include:

  • Contact dermatitis – caused by irritation of the skin or allergic reactions. The rash is usually confined to the area of contact.
  • Atopic dermatitis/ eczema – usually associated with ‘atopy’ or a over-reactivity of the immune system. Sufferers often experience Asthma, Hayfever, food allergies or respiratory allergies.
  • Seborrhoeic Dermatitis – occurs in the scalp, around the nostrils (places where there are glands) & is commonly fungal in nature.

Many sufferers experience these symptoms throughout the year; while others find that these skin complaints tend to flare up at the change of season or during the winter months. Unfortunately these dry, itchy rashes tend to be ongoing and require some sort of prevention & treatment plan.

Natural medicine has a lot to offer both internally & topically to both soothe itchy, inflamed skin as well as prevent further outbreaks. Many people who suffer with eczema or dermatitis tend to also suffer with symptoms of Asthma, Hayfever or allergies; in such cases it can be beneficial to support the immune system & decrease those hypersensitive tendencies.  Vitamin D is an important nutrient for balancing the immune system.

 Numerous research studies support the use of Probiotics for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema; Probiotics are effective and safe for all ages so are particularly ideal for infants and children. Using gentle, chemical-free skin cleansers for bathing is essential and topical creams containing herbs such as Calendula, Chamomile & Liquorice will reduce the irritation and discomfort. Nutritionally it is important to support Omega 3 levels with Fish oil or Flaxseed oil as this will reduce inflammation and assist with balancing the immune system.

It is particularly important with children to identify any allergies. Sensitivities to foods such as milk, egg, flour or soy can precipitate reactions; many sufferers also find a reduction of symptoms once they minimize the chemicals used in body washes, laundry detergents & creams.

A lot of eczema sufferers notice that their symptoms flare in times of stress so it is crucial to support the nervous system with nutrients such as Omega 3, Magnesium & B vitamins as well as herbs like Withania, Rhodiola, St John’s Wort and Passionflower.

Updates - June 3 2011

Flohr, C (2011), ‘Recent perspectives on the global epidemiology of childhood eczema,   Allergologia et Immunopathologia, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp. 174-182

The results have just come in from the largest ever study on childhood eczema – the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. They show significant variations between countries in the rates of childhood eczema, with affluent, developed nations such as those in Western Europe and Australasia having much higher rates than countries in Eastern and Central Europe or East Asia.

Why? Some theories are that in these countries children spend less time in the sun (which has been shown to have positive effects on eczema), or that the ‘standard western diet’ they consume is pro-inflammatory.

Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for Eczema:

Products Suggested Dosage
Grahams Bath Oil (120ml, 250ml)
Grahams Natural Shampoo (250ml)
Grahams Natural Conditioner (250ml)
Grahams Natural Soap (100g)
Billy Goat Soap (100g) - Various scents.
Billy Goat Moisturiser (200ml)
Billy Goat Hand and Body Wash (250ml)
Use this non-irritant, soothing range instead of conventional skin care.

Four Cow Farm Baby Lotion (125ml, 250ml, 485ml pump)

Four Cow Farm Baby Wash (125ml, 250ml. 845ml pump)

Four Cow Farm Calendula Remedy (50g, 100g)


All Four Cow Farm products can be used by adults too.  Especially those with eczema or sensitive skin.

Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus (30 caps) OR
Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus Dairy Free (30 Caps)

Herbs of Gold Omega 3 Concentrate  (100 Caps, 200 Caps)  
Nutra Life Vitamin D3 1000IU (60 Caps)  
Ethical Nutrients Hi-Strength Fish Oil (170ml, 280ml)  
Melrose Organic Flaxseed Oil (200ml, 250ml, 500ml)  
Vital Greens (120g, 300g, 600g)  
Eco Store Laundry Powder Concentrate 1kg (Front Load, Top Load)
Eco Store Laundry Liquid (500ml, 1L)
Eco Store Dish Washing Liquid (500mls, 1L)  

NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.

For more information on Eczema or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.

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