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Introduction to Eczema

Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation, also known as dermatitis. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. There are many different forms of eczema, however, with each having its own unique symptoms. For our purposes, we will discuss eczema in general.

Eczema can affect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants, and about 85% of people have an onset prior to 5 years of age. Up to 20% of children and 1%-2% of adults are believed to have eczema. Eczema is slightly more common in girls than in boys. It occurs in people of all races.

Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.

No one really knows what causes eczema. We do know that certain things can cause eczema to get worse. When eczema gets worse, it is called a flare-up. A flare-up occurs when the immune system in a sufferers’ skin overreacts to environmental or emotional triggers. This reaction results in symptoms such as itching.

People with eczema may have different triggers. Some of the common things that can trigger an eczema flare-up include:

  • Climate changes including sunlight exposure, humidity and temperature
  • Physical irritants, such as clothes made of rough or scratchy fabrics, like wool or burlap
  • Food Allergies (See Below)
  • Stress or strong emotional situations
  • Infections

While any region of the body may be affected by eczema, in children and adults, eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.

Eczema can sometimes occur as a brief reaction that only leads to symptoms for a few hours or days, but in other cases, the symptoms persist over a longer time and are referred to as chronic dermatitis. In these cases, an eczema sufferer must learn to manage their symptoms. This can be done through living a healthy lifestyle and using naturally healing products such as our seaweed bath products.

Diet’s effect on Psoriasis and Eczema

If your body chemistry is too acid you must eat more alkaline foods to assist psoriasis treatment. You can test your acid/alkaline balance by using simple litmus paper.  If your urine is under +7, you are too acid.

When food is metabolised by the body the end products are either acidic or alkaline. Acids are compounds of elements, which give away hydrogen ions, Alkalines are compounds of elements which attract hydrogen ions. The body needs both Acids and Alkalines for its metabolism but we have more difficulty getting rid of Acids than Alkalines. It is therefore easy for an accumulation of excess Acids to occur which can cause us to get rheumatism or skin problems such as psoriasis. To avoid this, aim for a diet which is 70% Alkaline and 30% Acid.

The following table of Alkaline / Acidity was developed by the Swedish man Ragnar Berg in the 1930's.

ALKALINE (+)

 

ACID (-)

 

Cucumber

+31

Rice with husks

-51

Dried Figs

+28

Bran

-39

Raisins

+16

Whole Wheat

-38

Dried Rose Hips

+15

Oat Flakes

-30

Tomatoes

+14

Eggs

-23

Lettuce

+14

Rye Bread

-22

Mandarin oranges

+12

Meat of all kinds

-10 to -19

Celery

+11

Fish of all kinds

-10 to -19

Oranges

+10

Whole Rye

-17

Carrots

+10

Cheese

-17

Lemons

+10

Cottage Cheese

-17

Leeks

+9

Peanuts

-15

Endive

+9

Asparagus

-14

Spinach

+9

Corn

-14

Gooseberries

+9

Rice, polished

-11

Chives

+8

Wheat Bread

-11

Buckwheat

+8

Soya Beans

-10

Millet

+8

Rye Crispbread

-9

Grapes, Dried Dates

+7

Brussel Sprouts

-9

Bananas

+7

Wheat Flour

-8

Potatoes, peeled

+7

Brown Beans

-8

Blackberries

+7

Butter

-6

Plums

+6

Yellow Peas

-4

Cabbages

+5

Green Beans

-4

Apricots

+5

Margarine

-4

Peaches

+5

Artichokes

-4

Blueberries

+4

Almonds, Hazel

-1

Black Currants

+4

 

 

Milk

+4

 

 

Apples, Pears, Cherries

+3

 

 

Onions

+3

 

 

Strawberries

+2

 

 

The more -, the more acid the food is. The more +, the more alkaline. 0 is balanced.

Any severe change in diet should be done in consultation with a registered dietician or physician.  If you experience any health problems from a change in diet, contact a physician immediately.