Winter is approaching, and with it: dry skin. For those of you with eczema or atopic dermatitis, this can be a stressful time because it is hard to know what winter will bring for your skin. Will it be better than last year? Will it be worse? More itchy? Less itchy? To stop those worries in their tracks, here are three really easy things you can do right away to give yourself a jump start on winter relief:
- Fish oil.
People with eczema have a very depleted skin barrier and so we need more oils than the average person; Omega‑3 fish oils at doses of at least 1,200 mg in a 3:1 EPA to DHA ratio. What does this mean? EPA and DHA are two components of essential Omega 3 fatty acids we need. The ratio is important as we need more EPA than DHA to support inflammation-reduction, and this is even more crucial in adults who have had eczema for a long time. Look for 800 mg dosage in the 3:1 ratio where at least 800 mg is EPA, and the more the better! And — here’s the catch — you have to take at least 1,600 mg of oil daily (that’s almost 2 grams!) for at least two months to see any changes. 2 months! Seems like forever doesn’t it? So get started…
This is a hot topic, because everyone’s heard of probiotics, but many people don’t know which ones to take. Probiotics (beneficial bacteria that create balance in our digestive tract) have unique abilities to support immunity in specific ways. For eczema, research has demonstrated that both in the womb (prenatally) and after birth the key consistent supportive bacteria are bifidobacteria bifidum, lactobacillus reuteri, and bifidobacterium lactis and lactobacillus plantarum. If you are taking capsules of probiotics for your eczema that do not have these strains, you are not taking the right ones. And why do you need to take these bacteria? Immune balancing, of course!
- Cut out dairy products.
Of all of the foods that aggravate eczema, dairy products are at the top of the list. Dairy products produce inflammation, this we know. There is lots of information in research that makes direct links with atopic dermatitis (or eczema) and dairy consumption contributing to a worsening of the condition. In my office I see a 40% reduction in your symptoms just by cutting out dairy. That’s pretty huge, don’t you think? In my humble opinion there is not one patient that does not benefit from dairy reduction in their diet!
Extra tip: Many probiotic strains are grown using dairy cultures. Make sure you are purchasing a dairy-free probiotic if you will be avoiding dairy products.
If you have eczema or dermatitis and you want to know more about these and other methods to get relief, you can always book an appointment with me. Feel free to share this post with your friends and loved ones if you know anyone suffering with eczema.