Photo by Anunay Mahajan


“There is a fine line between dry skin and eczema – a cracked, sometimes itchy fine line. Eczema sufferers often mistake their skin symptoms for something else like simply dehydrated skin that moisturizer never seems to completely heal. Often, eczema indicates a greater internal problem – a symptom of an imbalance deeper than we might think our superficial skin issues could reflect.

Skin is our largest organ. It has an intimate connection to many of our internal organs. Skin acts predominantly as a barrier from the potentially hostile external environment, but just as importantly functions as a route of elimination for our internal environment. Our skin sweats and excretes toxins. It is not unlike our kidneys that keep nutritive substances in our bodies meanwhile eliminating our waste. What happens with eczema symptoms such as swelling, blistering, oozing, weeping and crusting is the result of backup of waste toxicity that promotes these symptoms. Our immune system if we expect complete resolution of the problem.

Seventy percent of our immune system is found in our digestive tract. This is why alternative medical practitioners focus treatment so much on healing our guts. When we support the digestive system, we can ultimately directly effect and resolve eczema. We often see individuals who have food intolerance develop allergic reaction to food proteins that our immune system finds offensive. To investigate this problem, we suggest a food elimination challenge and/or an immunoglobulin G blood test that can identifies the most likely culprits in our diets. Subsequent removal of the food can dramatically effect symptoms like eczema. The body needs a wash out period from the allergen so that it does not need heightened vigilance against an otherwise harmless food. Many times, after supporting and repairing the digestive system with medicines, we are able to re-introduce these foods back into our diets without the previously seen negative effects.

Many times the toxicity is not purely food related, but due to a reaction to a substance in our external environment. For those with eczema, look for common environmental triggers like preservatives in food and chemical agents in soaps and detergents. Sodium lauryl sulphate and its derivates can cause sensitivity reactions on the skin. Keep a hypoallergenic approach to cleaning agents. This way, we prevent the overuse of chemicals that may result in sensitivity reactions like eczema. Just because it’s meant for cleaning, doesn’t mean it’s clean itself.

As many eczema sufferers know, stress can also aggravate their symptoms. Not only do we partake in poor health choices like junk food diets when we are stressed, but stress itself exacerbates symptoms because it promotes weakened immune states through the hormone cortisol. We can be routinely mindful of our stress levels and coping mechanisms in order to sway the body away from stress response. Interestingly, conventional treatments for eczema are typically cortisol derived creams called corticosteroids. These steroids are immune suppressant, which are not meant to address the root of the problem, rather mask the symptom. They also have detrimental effects if used long term such as: stretch marks, rash, skin thinning, and infection. They are quick acting medicines, but are by no means a cure.

For anyone suffering from eczema who wants to get to the root of the problem please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner at evolve Nurturing Vitality.”

Dr. Bobby Parmar vancouver naturopath

Author:  Dr. Bobby Parmar, BASc., ND