My Journey with Eczema
What exactly is eczema? Also known as 'Atopic Dermatitis', Eczema is a fancy word that means your skin is irritated and will show up in dry, red, often itchy patches. Doctors don't really know the exact reason why some get it and some don't. Eczema is not contagious and it is likely caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Eczema may get better or worse over time, but it is often a long-lasting disease. Just like acne, there are so many variables why someone might have eczema.
Genetics, asthma and/or allergies, living in more polluted cities, dry skin, sweating, soaps, household cleaning products, detergents, fragrance, food allergies, stress, etc. all play a role so determining what it is for YOU in order to 'fix' it might mean a lot of work.
For me, it sucked. I once had acne so I know the struggle well. I have spent the majority
of my life passionately helping others clear their skin so when this new-ish flare up of eczema popped up, it was frustrating and embarrassing. I studied diligently and did everything I could to 'get rid of' the condition. I added flaxseed oil to my diet, changed my body soap, used fragrance-free detergents, etc. And while stress is a HUGE trigger for eczema, I tried to maintain a peaceful life of balance while...changing...everything. Not easy. Even topical steroid cortisone creams and Prednisone only controlled the inflammation for the time that I used them. They certainly worked but my hope was to find what caused the issue, not temporarily mask the symptoms. The flare-ups came and went over the years but I was finally ready to be done with it.
Thinking back, my eczema first flared up about 6 years ago. For almost a decade prior, I had been working out 15-20 hours a week training for triathlons. I didn't eat refined carbs or sugar, and my life was pretty rigid. After a difficult break up, I re-evaluated my life and loosened my grip. I chose to work out less, ate whatever I felt like eating (moderation of course), and was much kinder to myself. WAIT. This was when my eczema started?!? Yep.
A few months ago, I decided to go slightly rigid again for experimentation sake. I ate better carbs (whole grains, vegetables and fruit) and avoided sugar again.
I also took that Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test kit they keep advertising online (super fun and I highly recommend! CLICK HERE and grab one for yourself!) that shows your body's immune response to 96 types of food.
The Everlywell test showed I was highly reactive to almonds. ALMONDS!?! I eat tons of almonds and almond butter, so now I eat a lot less. Within one week of my new/old way of eating, my eczema cleared and it's been gone completely for months. I'm sleeping better, feel more focused, and feel leaner and more fit than I have in a long time...like, 6 years, in fact. It seems being 'balanced' means different things to different people and healing isn't linear. What eventually led to me clearing my eczema may not be what clears yours.
My suggestion is do your research. Find out all the things that could exacerbate the condition, and one by one, check them off the list. Have patience. Be kind in the process and don't stress. Everyone's body is different, this is just MY story. If you've gone through this as well, share some tips below that have helped you on YOUR journey! Thanks for reading ;-)