Last week was World Eczema Week and we would love to spend some time exploring the ways in which eczema can be treated, and potentially even healed, as a result of committing to a few essential lifestyle changes. Whether eczema affects you or a loved one, it’s possible for all of us to lessen its prevalence and find relief.
Eczema - which often manifests as an uncomfortable, itchy rash - is an inflammatory immune system reaction that can be triggered by stress, food sensitivities, and allergies. It is estimated that eczema affects nearly 32 million Americans, and approximately 15 to 20% of children worldwide. Because eczema is such a widespread condition that can quite seriously affect one’s quality of life, we feel that it’s important to take a deeper dive into effective treatments that address the root cause. For starters, the National Eczema Association suggests identifying any potential food allergies and how different diets affect your skin to help minimize symptoms.
The GAPS Diet and Microbiome Support
Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome (GAP Syndrome or GAPS) is a condition establishing a connection between impaired functions of the digestive system and the brain, and includes autoimmune conditions such as eczema. The GAPS diet was designed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to promote natural digestive healing for such conditions, including autism, based on research that points to a resilient gut microbiome as essential for immune function and overall health. It aims to reduce inflammation, support the gut lining, and restore microbial diversity through dietary intervention and detoxification.
“Food is the biggest influence on microbial composition in nature, anywhere,” Dr. Campbell-McBride said in a podcast interview with Melanie Avalon. “You change the food supply, and you change the composition of microbes in any environment immediately, literally, within hours, within minutes.”
The GAPS diet restricts all grains, commercial dairy, starchy vegetables, processed carbohydrates, and refined sugars. These items are replaced with easily digestible and nutrient-dense foods to give the cells of the gut lining and bacterial layer a chance to heal and rebuild. Replacements include homemade meat stocks and bone broths; organic meats such as chicken, beef, pork, turkey, venison, and duck; non-predator fish and fresh shellfish; organic fruits and vegetables; probiotic foods; and nuts and seeds. The essential supplements to complement the GAPS Nutritional Protocol include therapeutic strength probiotics, essential fatty acids, cod liver oil, and digestive enzymes.
To learn more and further explore if the GAPS Diet may be right for you, check out Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s books, Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Gut and Physiology Syndrome. The Heal Your Gut Cookbook is another amazing resource to explore for those feeling called to start healing their body through diet.
To further support a healthy gut microbiome, try adding fermented foods - which are rich in probiotics - to your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. Our favorite microbiome support supplement is Gut Support from Intelligence of Nature (ION*), which is an all-natural and soil-derived digestion and immune system aid. Click here to try it out and receive a free travel bottle with a purchase of a two-month supply ($15 value).
The Mind-Body Connection
The past few decades have brought about fascinating research regarding the profound effect that our mental and emotional health can have on our bodies. According to German New Medicine, one of the leading fields of medicine concerning itself with the mind-body connection, eczema (which is considered a healing process) is the result of a biological conflict brought on by separation correlating with touch. Supporting the process of healing eczema while keeping this in mind can make a world of difference, especially for children.
When engaging with healing from a mind-body perspective, we realize that our primary role in the process is to relax and nurture the mind so as not to interfere with the body’s physical resolution stage. This is where the need for a thriving microbiome comes into play, as well as the importance of stress reduction, especially with skin wellness and symptom alleviation. Dr. Natasha Cambpbell-McBride echoes this sentiment that the body is inherently wise when it comes to healing:
“The human body is the pinnacle of perfection. It is designed perfectly. There is nothing wrong with our bodies. All the healing, all the repair, is programmed into your body. Your own body heals you. Not the pill, not the doctor, not the diet, not anything else. Your own body does all the work. It does all the healing.”
The key is to allow the body to do what it knows to do by creating a safe environment within which it can thrive. This refers to both the internal environment and external environment; stress is a component of both. This study explores the ways in which stress directly impacts gastrointestinal function, and its findings shouldn’t be ignored.
Stress is abundant in the society we have co-created with one another, especially considering the amount of trauma we are exposed to on a near daily basis. Stress can be useful in warning us when we are out of alignment with our choices or circumstances, but it can wreak havoc on our immune systems if we don’t respond to its messaging in a timely manner, or try to ignore it altogether via suppression and numbing out.
There are a few basic ways to reduce stress that many of us already know about. Meditation and exercise are now recommended so often that we often overlook them as real solutions to soothing an overburdened nervous system. There are ways to make them easier habits to implement, like seeing a long walk on the beach as a form of exercise, and listening to guided meditations on Spotify or YouTube instead of trying to sit and think about nothing for half an hour.
Journaling and art are other ways to mitigate stress, as they help to move emotions through and out of the body (think of ‘e-motions’ as energy in motion - they need to move!). So long as we focus on doing things that make us feel good, stress reduction is always a possible side effect due to the oxytocin boost we get from pleasurable experiences, and the body will benefit majorly from the shift.
Reducing stress factors in one’s environment is also a critical move. EMF mitigation, checking your home for mold, choosing non-toxic products for the home, increasing access to nature and plants, and using natural fibers in bedding and clothing as much as possible are all valuable tools for minimizing physical body burden.
Other excellent ways to boost your immune system while reducing stress are through lymphatic massage and sauna therapy. Lymphatic massage is one of the best ways to aid your body in its natural detoxification process. Spending regular time in an infrared sauna raises core body temperature, which helps to keep the immune system strong and in good working order. It can also help draw toxins out of the body, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and enhance relaxation. Some users even report getting a better night's sleep post-sauna. For a portable, easy, at-home sauna experience, we love the HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket.
When it comes to soothing sensitive skin affected by eczema, it’s important to rely on clean skincare made with gentle and nourishing ingredients that can provide comfort and relief from irritating symptoms - without necessarily suppressing the healing process. This means products with unknown fragrances and/or other harsh ingredients should be avoided; the more natural and organic a product is, the better. One such natural ingredient that has been shown to have a positive effect on eczema rashes is manuka honey. Products that use probiotics have also shown positive results.
Finding harmony with her skin was an integral part of C & The Moon founder Carson's journey to developing the Malibu Made Body Scrub - C & The Moon’s launching product. Carson always had very sensitive skin that was easily aggravated by skincare products and allergens. Carson developed eczema on her face and body for the first time after undergoing an emotional personal life change. Because of her passion for holistic healing, Carson knew that her skin changes were a culmination of both physical and emotional factors. After all, the skin is a wonderful communicator that, whether we like it or not, will bring issues to the surface that need to be addressed.
Carson’s skin condition sent her on a healing journey where she discovered the GAPS protocol and was able to completely remedy her eczema from the inside out and outside in. This sensitive time provided so much wisdom and inspiration to Carson's work as a birth doula and founder in the skincare space. Both the Malibu Made Body Scrub and Malibu Made Glow Oil are formulated with natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba oil, sea buckthorn oil, and rosehip oil, which contain anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are commonly used to calm eczema.
"My skin is so incredibly soft, the small bumps that had been on my arms for months are totally gone,” shared Melanie, one of the many people who have had success using C & The Moon’s clean products.
Susie told us, "I have tried countless products and have seen many doctors to get my psoriasis under control. This scrub worked like magic!" Knowing that C & The Moon products are a trusted resource for many with sensitive skin makes Carson feel particularly grateful.
The root causes of eczema are unique to each individual who suffers from it. There is not a one size fit all approach. However, by addressing underlying health issues in the gut, supporting the microbiome at birth and beyond, working to support the nervous system, and having a deeper understanding of the way in which our diets and environments play a role in our skin health supports the body in its intrinsic ability to heal itself.
The content provided in this article(s) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Neither Carson Meyer nor C & The Moon LLC are liable for claims arising from the use of or reliance on information contained in this article.