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Skin Care

Eczema and Alternative Treatments

That nasty red rash popped up again like it does every summer. Eyebrows and sideburns have dandruff that never seem to quit. Or, the blisters keep oozing and the itching won't stop. Sound familiar? If so, you may have Eczema, like millions of other people worldwide.

Eczema is a general term used to describe various types of dermatitis or skin irritations that exhibit a multitude of symptoms; some worse than others, but, bothersome and annoying, nonetheless. Diagnosing eczema can be challenging and confusing, since eczema presents in many different ways and for many different reasons. Some eczema is seasonal, while others are chronic; however, what they all have in common is a disturbing rash that can compromise the quality of life, and embarrass even the most confident of men.

Although there are several types of eczema, "atopic eczema" or "atopic dermatitis", known as AD, is the most common variety men experience. It's also the most severe, long lasting, and difficult to treat. One interesting fact is it often afflicts those who have allergies, particularly asthma or hay fever, or who have family members that suffer with it, since it's a genetic condition for many. Like all forms of eczema, an underlying illness may also be the cause, so address any known health problems. Typical triggers include cold or hot weather, exposure to allergens, stress, infections, colds and other illnesses, and very dry air with low humidity. The AD symptom most commonly experienced is red, itchy skin that produces scaling, weeping, thickening, flaking, crusting, and color changes of the skin.  Rashes and outbreaks most commonly appear on the face, behind the knees, and in the bends of the elbows, although eczema can affect any part of the body.

So, besides genetics and possible illness, what other reasons might a guy come down with eczema? Many alternative health professionals believe there's a connection between AD and several health conditions that could be corrected, consequently, eliminating eczema breakouts. According to the natural health industry, the following conditions are the most commonly believed causes of atopic dermatitis.

Hypochlorhydria: This is low levels of hydrochloric acid or stomach acid in the stomach. Stomach acid is essential to digestion and health for several reasons. It is the primary digestive juice that breaks down proteins and minerals for better absorption and assimilation. Without proper absorption of these necessary nutrients, health is compromised; showing a strong connection to dermatitis.

How much acid our stomach produces is out of our control, but for those whose levels are low, supplemental acidity in the form of Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL) is recommended. Because symptoms of low stomach acid are the same as high stomach acid, it's often a matter of trial and error. If taking HCL or other natural acidic products, like vinegar and bitters, help with digestion then stomach acid is low. If taking it makes digestion worse by increasing stomach acid, then hypochlorhydria is probably not the problem. HCL should only be taken with food, or it will burn the stomach. Follow the product's directions for dosage amounts and how to take it.

Leaky Gut Syndrome: This condition can occur when intestines become porous and allow tiny particles of undigested food to escape and enter the bloodstream. Symptoms typically include impaired digestive problems: gas, bloating, cramps, and food sensitivities. Aches and pains often accompany Leaky Gut, as do allergies – therein lies the connection to eczema. Causes and treatments are still unknown, and since no one's sure whether leakage is the cause or outcome, recovery is challenging. Alternative medicine often treats this condition with glutamine (amino acid) supplements, which in theory rebuilds and strengthens the intestinal lining. Some experience successful treatment, but not all. Seek the advice of a doctor or alternative medicine practitioner if you suspect you have Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Candidiasis: This is an overgrowth of yeast in the body, which can cause all kinds of imbalances, including skin problems. A diet high is sugar, carbs, and alcohol, along with the use of antibiotics and steroids kill off good bacteria and promote the growth of yeast. An overabundance of yeast can be addressed and brought back into normal range by both conventional and alternative medicine. Regardless of the treatment, it usually includes taking probiotics, which will help put levels of good bacteria back into balance. There are several natural products known to kill yeast. Research or speak with a healthcare professional for recommendations.

Inability to absorb and utilize fats: Our skin needs healthy fats to remain healthy and function properly. Without proper fat metabolism, skin issues, like dryness and rashes often arise. Some people who have this problem see better fat absorption with the use of digestive enzymes, which will help breakdown fats and promote their absorption. A digestive enzyme used for this purpose needs to be or include "lipase" – the digestive enzyme recognized to digest fat.

Inadequate Fat Intake: This has to do with the amount of healthy fats consumed, and not whether the body can utilize them or not, so there's typically no need for a digestive enzyme. You know who you are, so if your diet is lacking in the essential fatty acids: fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive, avocado, borage oil, etc., add them to your diet through oils or oil softgel supplements. A noticeable improvement should be seen within several weeks.

It's frustrating when we can't get to the root of a problem, especially when it pertains to our health. If you suffer with AD or any other type of eczema, seek the advice of a doctor, preferably a dermatologist, or alternative health care professional. There's a plethora of information online, and most health food store professionals can offer advice, also. Regardless of who or where you opt to go for treatment – get it! Treatment does not guarantee success, but it sure beats suffering in silence. And don't forget to do the obvious by eliminating any foods or environmental factors that cause outbreaks.  Gentlemen, be proactive with your health!

by Aaron Marino

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