Causes of Eczema
To understand why eczema develops and how to find a cure for it, you have to understand and deal with the root causes of this potentially serious skin disease.
Understanding the causes of eczema is not much different from the kind of thinking you would do if a plant you have is not thriving. You probably would say to yourself that your plant is "not doing well", "wilting", or "withering", in your attempt to make a diagnosis. You would first consider whether you failed to give the plant something it requires to flourish and then wonder if the plant might be exposed to something that did not agree with it. You know from science of horticulture that if a plant is stressed by pests, germs or toxins, it may require more nutrients; if it is undernourished it may be more susceptible to the effects of pests, germs or toxins.
We, as human beings, are more complex than plants in that we need a greater variety of nutrients and are subject to a greater variety of germs and toxins, but the most important difference between us and plants is that there is a greater variety among us than there is among the plants. Each one of us is different from everyone else.
Even though every human being is biochemically unique, you can still use a general biological map to guide you towards understanding the causes of eczema.
If you take the strategy for treating the sick plant and apply it to yourself, you might ask the following questions:
1. What kinds of nutrients do I need to get in order for my skin to heal?
2. What kinds of toxins do I need to avoid in order to heal my skin?
According to scientific knowledge the kinds of nutrients a person needs in order to thrive are; vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, water and other factors such as light, love and rest.
The kinds of toxins a person needs to avoid in order to thrive are allergens. Examples of allergens are food, pollen, dust, chemicals, mold and other microorganisms. Examples of other toxins are lead, mercury, aluminum, compounds produced by living creatures including ourselves and our germs; and synthetic compounds, most of which are products of petrochemicals which in turn come from oil. Radiation of various kinds is potentially toxic as well.
Based on the above information, when searching for the causes of eczema, you need to ask yourself questions beginning with the word "could." For example, with my eczema, I asked myself these questions "Could I have an essential fatty acid deficiency that may have contributed to my eczema?" "Could I have accumulated high levels of damaging cortisone compounds in my liver and kidney?"
The literature on the incidence of nutrient deficiencies or special nutritional needs and the prevalence of toxins in our environment provides ample scientific backing to the legitimacy of posing these questions and understanding their relationship to eczema.
Causes of Eczema
- Something is out of balance. e.g., The body is producing too many or too few hormones. In the case of eczema low thyroid function can be a major cause of eczema. When the thyroid function is low, circulation is reduced. In advanced cases of hypothyroidism, the skin, in fact, may receive as little as one-fourth to one-fifth the normal blood supply.
With reduced circulation, the nourishment supplied by blood is reduced and, at the same time, waste products are not removed promptly and completely since blood is the primary remover. The result is a skin which is not normally healthy and the development of itching, swelling, blistering, oozing, and scaling of the skin (Barnes, pp. 112-114) .
- Something is wrong with digestion. If the gut is not healthy, neither is the rest of the body including the skin. In the stomach, nutrients are made usable as fuel for running the body.
James Barker, N.D., in his article, "Skin Health, Eczema, and Preventative Strategies", summarized one of the causes of eczema by stressing the importance of protecting the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract: " If the eyes and the skin are the portals through which we may observe the body's internal health, the gut then is the door through which a majority of disease initiates its entrance into the body.. .. It goes without saying that...the first area of treatment then for the patient displaying eczema should be the gastrointestinal lining, without a doubt" (p. 58).
Before I developed eczema I always suffered from certain allergies to foods which caused me to constantly experience bloating, diarrhea, stomach ache, heart burn and eventually I was diagnosed with ulcers. One of the main causes of eczema is the dysfunction of the intestinal tract.
- Infection. If the immune system has to get up every day and fight germs (harmful bacteria, yeast, parasites...etc.) it is not surprising that it may become cranky and overly reactive to environmental stimuli.
A cause of eczema is the immune system becoming over reactive and hyper responsive to normal stimuli. In Chinese medicine they describe this condition by saying that a person has too much "heat".
Infections from the growth of Candida albicans is common among eczema patients. For example, in my case, many parts of my skin looked like it had fungus growing on it. I'm pretty sure that I, and virtually everyone else who has eczema, has candidiasis. Candida albicans is a type of yeast-like fungus that can cause
weakening of the immune system and infection known as candidiasis. Candidiasis is the result of eating processed foods (white sugar, white flour, white rice...etc.), using antibiotics and different medical drugs.
My skin looked like it had fungus growing on it.
Please feel free to email me and request articles if you want to learn more about candidiasis.
- Exposure to toxins. The three primary ways that toxins enter the blood stream and thus the body are:
- through the digestive system (eaten),
- through the respiratory system (breathed in),
- and through the skin (absorbed).
In our modern lifestyle, we are exposed to many harmful chemical substances. An exposure to any potential toxins can sensitize us and lead to a diseased state such as eczema.
Exposure to toxins can overload the kidney and liver and when that happens, they become congested. As a result, the burden of daily detoxification can fall on the skin since it is the biggest elimination organ, thus leading to skin problems such as eczema.
- Invasive life events . A stressful lifestyle can affect the intestine greatly . When one is faced with emotional or psychological stress on a daily basis, the body produces cortisol (a hormone) which affects the intestinal tract by destroying friendly bacteria. The digestive system becomes impaired. Most people under stress will say that they feel pain in their stomach (quite typical to my case). Long term stress can cause ulcers as the body continues to secret cortisol. Stress can also stimulate the adrenal glands and exhaust them, causing them to malfunction. A chain reaction can lead to a whole host of diseases including that of eczema.
As you can see from the above list, there are several causes of eczema, and therefore there is no quick fix for eczema. To reverse eczema you must address the causes of the eczema. So, please don't waste your time and money on any of the 'quick cure' lotions and potions offered on various eczema help websites. Look into the causes of eczema and how to address them with changes in your diet and lifestyle. Only you can do that, only you can become your own best healer. I did it through research and the process of elimination and so can you.
- Broda O. Barnes, M.D., and Lawrence Galton. (1976 ).
Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness. New York: NY , Harper & Row.
- Barker, Jason, N.D. (May 2003). "Skin Health, Eczema, and preventative Strategies."
Townsend Letter for Doctors and patients . pp. 56-58.