Prevent Summer Eczema – Start doing this now

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 2:54:18 PM Pacific/Auckland

By Kim Bulder, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist 

BAM. Just when showing some skin is starting to seem like a good idea – dry, scaly, itchy, red patches start appearing.

Eczema can occur any time, but many people seem to notice it flares up in summer. No matter what time of year, eczema is a sign your skin is screaming out for serious help on the moisture front.

The central issue with eczema is the skin’s inability to self-moisturise and retain moisture. This leads to impaired skin barrier function, extreme dryness, inflammation and itching. The skin can crack and bleed, adding the risk and misery of bacterial infection as the protective barrier is broken. And so begins the vicious eczema cycle of dryness, inflammation, cracking, infection.

The best approach is don’t wait for a flare-up to happen. Ongoing daily moisture protection for the skin is essential to improve the skin barrier and protect against the dryness that kicks off the vicious eczema cycle. 

START NOW - Simple Daily Moisture Boost

  1. Apply a thin layer of pure high grade manuka honey to the skin
  2. Leave on for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer (for hands you can even leave on overnight –  just wear cotton gloves or even old cotton socks on the hands to keep the honey off your bedding)
  3. Rinse off with lukewarm water (the honey rinses off very easily)
  4. Apply a natural moisturising cream or oil to skin immediately (do this step at least twice daily to lock in the moisture that the manuka honey has drawn into the skin cells and keep skin constantly moisturised)

Done regularly you will notice your skin stays hydrated, looks plumper and smoother, and is protected against dryness and eczema. Some people notice their skin improves after the very first application, but continue to do this regularly to keep skin hydrated and healthy.

This will work just as well as a daily treatment if your skin is already super dry, cracked or inflamed. Just keep applying the manuka honey every day as above until it looks renewed and healed.   

Then keep up with regular applications (1-3 times weekly) to keep your skin protected and resilient.


How Manuka Honey treats and prevents eczema and dry skin:

  • Hydrating – honey has humectant and emollient properties to draw moisture to skin cells, soften skin and protect against cracking and moisture loss by improving the skin’s barrier function.
  • Anti-inflammatory – manuka honey reduces inflammation, redness and itching, and helps heal the tissue damage caused by uncontrolled inflammation.
  • Healing – manuka honey stimulates natural skin repair and regeneration to speed the healing process and prevent scarring.
  • Anti-bacterial – high grade manuka honey has proven anti-bacterial activity when applied to broken skin. It is active against the types of bacteria commonly involved in eczema, acne and wounds.


Lifestyle Fixes for Eczema

While treating the skin is essential, avoiding aggravating factors is also important.

  • Avoid hot showers or baths – hot water will further dry out and aggravate dry itchy skin. Also avoid over-washing (especially of hands) and always moisturise afterwards.
  • Investigate dietary triggers – certain foods can trigger eczema flare-ups in some people. Dairy products can be a common one, but everyone is different so get help to identify any food intolerances.  In general, focus on a diet of unprocessed whole foods, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and make pure water your regular choice of beverage.
  • Laundry – use natural laundry detergents and use less than the pack recommends (AVOID any with enzymes or fragrances and also steer clear of fabric softener).  The water should run clear on the final rinse - any residue left in the washing can irritate skin (you’ll also notice your washing will dry stiff and crunchy on the line if not rinsed well enough). Always wash new clothes and household linen before use as they frequently contain manufacturing chemicals that can be highly irritating.
  • Skincare & household products – avoid products containing colours, fragrances, parabens, alcohol, anti-bacterial chemicals, harsh soaps and detergents.  For household cleaning, good old baking soda and vinegar work well instead of harsh bathroom and kitchen cleaning agents, or even better use a microfibre cloth and warm water. These only cost a couple of dollars, last forever, and work brilliantly for chemical-free cleaning.  The environment will thank you, and you won’t believe how shiny your taps look!
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The Manuka Shop