eczema

Is Eczema An Autoimmune Problem?

It’s common that when most of us experience skin issues that we look to creams and topical applications to help reduce the itchiness, dryness, or redness that is occurring. There are companies that make lots of money selling expensive products claiming to benefit your skin – we’ve been trained to think that there’s a next best product to lather up with and it will solve our skin issues.

But most of the time, it doesn’t work.

Do you want to know why?

Skin issues start in the gut.

Eczema Characteristics

There are a number of different skin issues that I see people struggling with, and today I’m specifically going to focus on eczema, though I highly recommend that you look at the following recommendations if you’re struggling with other skin issues.

Eczema is characterized by dry, sensitive skin that is red and itchy.

It can be mild or severe, with the skin have dark, rough, leathery or scaly patches, that, if irritated, can begin to ooze or form a crust.

The skin loses moisture quickly and becomes dried out and susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

Eczema is often associated with asthma and seasonal & food allergies, leading may doctors to refer to it them as ‘atopic triad’.

For those who suffer from eczema, it can really impact their confidence and sense of beauty; it’s uncomfortable physically and emotionally.

Internally, the part that most people never look at, people may experience digestive upset such as bloating, upset stomach, constipation, and loose stool.

Conventional Medicine & Holistic Health

Conventional medicine says that eczema is incurable. But is it, really?

There are studies that have looked at eliminating egg and milk as suspected allergens or had people take nutritional supplements such as fish oil, borage oil and evening primrose oil, and found no substantive result.

Many doctors prescribe steroid cream for treatment. I know, I’ve used it myself. 

There are a couple reasons I’m telling you about this – first, if you have eczema, you’ve probably tried everything and are well versed in what has been studied and what hasn’t work.
Secondly, I want you to know the background and methodology so you can make an informed decision about your health.

What I’m about to tell you is different than the standard approach you’d find at your doctor’s office.

Taking the perspective of a holistic health provider, I first look for the root of what’s causing the eczema. Then we work from there to resolve the symptoms – what you see on your skin.

And I don’t see it as incurable.

In fact, when I was a teenager I had eczema on my face for several years. The operative word is – “had”. I don’t have eczema anymore. How did I do it? By following the steps to removing allergens and healing my intestinal tract.

What’s different from conventional medicine, and what the studies haven’t done, is that we must not only remove the allergens that are causing the immune response, but also replace them with foods that don’t cause an allergic response, then re-inoculate your gut bacteria to finally repair the intestinal tract.

Picking only one or two of these steps and hoping it will resolve itself simply won’t work.

Eczema & Immune Health

There is research that has dipped its toe into looking at the link between chronic immune activation and eczema. Recently, a drug company declared that eczema was an autoimmune disease, though I take their decree with a grain of salt since the researchers are also the manufactures of the drug that treats it, and therefore financially profit from it.

So where do we actually stand?  

There are three key factors that come together in autoimmunity with eczema:

  1. a genetic predisposition,
  2. environmental triggers, and
  3. leaky gut

Research has found that our innate immune response, in combination with environmental factors, compromises our skin barrier function1 and this combination also impacts the tight junctions that hold our cell walls together.

Tight junctions hold together the cell walls in our digestive tract, which – fun fact – is considered external to our bodies because it is one continuous tube from our mouth to our colon. When tight junctions can no longer hold our cells together in our gut, leaky gut happens (also known as increased intestinal permeability).   

Of those three factors, two are controllable (environment & leaky gut) and they both have one thing in common: inflammation.

Inflammation is our bodies’ response to a threat – be it a physical injury, food or environmental allergens, or mental emotional threats such as chronic stress.

It can be caused by many things such as eating foods that have been heavily sprayed with chemicals, having emotionally stressful events without proper care to move through it, taking antibiotics for an illness, or letting digestive issues go unresolved.

Leaky gut is often a result of the digestive inflammation that can lead to autoimmune diseases.

 

What Can I Do?

If you are dedicated and want to begin trying to resolve your eczema, begin by eliminating the top allergenic foods (soy, corn, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts), and focus on eating a whole foods diet.

Remember, this is only one step in healing the inflammation.

With something like eczema, I recommend working with a professional.

You can sign up for my Wellness Program called Sussing Out Your Symptoms where I’ll guide you through the 4 steps I outlined above (remove, replace, reinoculate and repair) so that you can reduce inflammation and reclaim healthy, vibrant skin again.

The video here explains the program for you. 🙂

 

 

I offer my clients coaching that makes reinventing how you eat simple by using easy to follow steps with a very clear plan on how to move forward.

We’ll address any issues that arise, and adapt as necessary as you move through the protocol.

If you want to have a chat to determine if Sussing Out Your Symptoms is the right program for you or if something else might suit you better, I keep spots open in my calendar for free Intro Sessions where we can review what’s going on with you and see if I can be of assistance.

 

References
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874322/