Eczema or atopic dermatitis is not necessarily something you have to live with forever. Scientific research – thankfully in natural eczema treatment - is making progress.
The past 4-5 years have seen a raft of fascinating studies published, many of which illustrate a crucial link between nutrition, internal medicine and eczema.
But there’s one irritating fact!
These studies aren’t that readily available, so your doctor isn’t likely to be aware of them yet. And they might not be the type of remedies or diet doctors usually prescribe - particularly those wedded to the traditional steroid treatment for eczema.
So we have scrutinized the latest research and put together an easily digestible list of ‘takeaways’ to treat eczema from the inside out, at home, and naturally:
1. Antibiotics and Eczema:
New research suggests that taking antibiotics leads to an increased risk of developing eczema and the rates climb higher with every additional course taken.
A study in 2013 concluded that the use of antibiotics in the first year of life is more common in children with eczema.
This is just something to keep in mind and weigh up the pros and cons. There are often cases e.g. with children’s ear infections – when antibiotics are essential. But the next time your doctor suggests antibiotics talk to him/her and make sure they’re strictly necessary.
To combat the unwanted effects of antibiotics have a look at our next step…
2. Probiotics and Eczema:
There’s more evidence on the link between gut health and eczema:
Probiotics in pregnancy and early life have been shown to prevent eczema, which is great news as it shows us that eczema prevention can begin at home.
A 2012 study measured that low intestinal microbial diversity during the first month of life was associated with eczema.
Because of this, consider supplementing your diet with probiotics, especially if you have undergone rounds of antibiotics to help build the good bacteria back up!
For those interested in the link between gut health and general health,
‘Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ’ by Giulia Enders is a fun and fascinating read.
For those of you who want to focus on your own gut health and want a good probiotic, we like the brand Sunbiotics which is free from common allergens.
As for treating baby eczema with probiotics, we recommend this handy guide on how to do so:
3. Food Supplements for Eczema:
Diet is always an important factor in looking after your health and it’s no different when it comes to eczema, but there are sometimes specific nutrients you can add that target specific issues. Recent research has pointed to a number of supplements useful in preventing and combating eczema:
Warning: When it comes to adding dietary supplements to you or your child’s diet, contacting a qualified nutritionist for specific instructions would be advisable, especially if you are already on medication!
- Evening primrose oil: Capsules of this oil have long been advocated for eczema sufferers, but a more recent study, this time on children, again proved its value. The results showed that significant improvements in eczema without any unwanted side effects.
You can find evening primrose here.
- Black currant seed oil: This little-known supplement has a number of great health benefits linked to it. Research showing that mothers who supplemented with the oil produced breast milk better equipped to decrease the likelihood of eczema in their children.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a popular remedy, possessing antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and has been shown to improve skin conditions time and time again. Turmeric can be taken loose or in a capsule form, where 1-3 capsules per day is recommended.
- Chlorella: Chlorella is a nutrient dense green algae and an excellent supplement for a variety of different issues, including eczema . A suggested 1-3 capsules daily is recommended.
- Coconut oil: This can be used in cooking e.g. in frying or baking (as a butter replacement). Coconut oil can have many different beneficial properties, but make sure you get the best quality possible: Organic, extra virgin and cold pressed coconut oil should have the highest nutrient content.
For supplements, we also recommend the brand Viridian who stock organic, vegan and high quality ingredients.
4. Opt for Organic:
Numerous studies now prove that organic food has higher minerals and vitamins than food treated with synthetic chemicals , so opt for organic when you can!
5. Get Some Sunshine!
Although too much sun exposure can have a detrimental effect and we shouldn’t abandon sunscreen, we don’t often hear about the benefits of sunshine quite so often.
The sun has a lot of health benefits attributed to it, including providing us with vitamin D. There have been a number of recent studies showing that vitamin D has a beneficial impact on eczema and that eczema has been associated with low levels of vitamin D in the body. 
There are some dietary sources of vitamin D (such as mushrooms) and it can also be taken as a supplement. When you can, however, opt for sunshine, as it is the best way to get it!
To make sure you’re getting enough of the suns benefits, consistency is key.
Try and get a little bit of sun exposure each day, rather than spending long periods in the sun once in a while.
Just a few minutes is enough – and avoid the sun when it is at its hottest between 12-3 to avoid the risk of burning. For young children and babies, and the fair-skinned, that’s even more important.
Note also that in some cooler climates, an antioxidant moisturizer is better than using a sunscreen all year round to avoid depleting vitamin D.
6. Slow, not Fast Food:
Evidence shows us that your overall lifestyle has an influence on eczema, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep and exercise, but also make sure that you’re eating enough healthy, unprocessed foods. 
Research has shown that consuming too much fast food has a major impact on the occurrence of eczema, so avoid it as much as possible! 
7. Decrease Dairy:
Research conducted in 2013 revealed that mothers who restrict their children’s dairy intake, lower the risk of developing adult and baby eczema. If you can’t let go though, there is also research to suggest that switching over to organic dairy products (rather than conventional) still has a beneficial effect. 
Ask your doctor about having an allergy test for you or your child to determine whether this is a step you need to take. Also ask for an egg  and gluten  test as both of these have been linked to eczema.
Doctors are sometimes reluctant to offer food allergy tests (although happily less so now that food allergies are better understood). If you do meet with resistance, try keeping a food diary to track down patterns of food intolerance, then go back to your doctor armed with the evidence!
As well as consuming supplements, ‘feeding’ your skin using natural topical eczema treatment can work well too. Helpful skin care ingredients include virgin coconut oil, chickweed and aloe vera, so a lotion for itchy skin should contain these. Likewise a gentle natural eczema body wash can help also.
As with food, stay clear of skin care that include allergens (like gluten, dairy and soy) and synthetic ingredients that can cause skin irritation.
So there you have it! Some of the latest research on health and nutrition to help treat eczema.
There are other factors that can influence the appearance of eczema too. What cleaning products you use can impact eczema and also what you wash your clothes with. There are also preventative methods such as the lovely products from Handsocks, who provide soft and protective mittens for babies with eczema (found here!) to stop them scratching and harming their skin.
Take a look at your lifestyle and what impact different factors might be making on your skin and take advantage of the methods to help.
If you decide to put the research into action please tell us how you get on in the comment section below!