Did you know that 31.6 million people have experienced some form of eczema in the U.S.? Additionally, 1 in 10 people will develop eczema with peak symptoms showing in early childhood. While it affects everyone differently, this skin condition is usually present on the hands, scalp, knees, or elbows, causing chronic itchiness. Characterized as having brown or red skin patches that appear cracked, dry, or scaly, many don’t know what causes eczema. It is believed to be caused by a combination of triggers (dry skin, irritants, certain foods), genetics, and stress eczema. If untreated, it can worsen or lead to constant flare-ups. However, you can effectively manage your eczema using natural treatments.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, a healthy skin complexion is an external representation of a person’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being. To achieve good health, you need to ensure a fluid balance of yin and yang. These are the two opposing yet interdependent forces in the body.
Read on to learn more about some natural remedies for your eczema treatment.
Stress Related to Eczema on Hands
Stress puts the body in a flight or fight mode, spikes the hormone cortisol which can lead to oily skin and cause eczema or make it worse. Studies have shown that stress affects our immunity, leading to inflammation. It is important to reduce anxiety, get sufficient sleep, and take care of your mental health.
In TCM practices, yin and yang imbalance is caused by stress-related to eczema on the hands. Below, we are outlining a few effects of yin and yang imbalance and 5 tips that you can practice to treat the symptoms of eczema.
Yin and Yang Imbalance in the Body
Firstly, the primary goal of incorporating different therapies to help improve eczema treatment is to help your body achieve a balance of yin and yang forces in the heart, lungs, and spleen, and a smooth flow of qi in the body.
Interestingly, when either of these two forces becomes more prominent than the other, it will impair the normal functioning of all organ systems. Various skin problems can occur with issues in the heart, lungs, and spleen.
The effects of yin and yang imbalance in the heart
Secondly, too much heat (yang) in the heart can cause skin itchiness. Emotional tension or the consumption of too much spicy food usually causes this excess of heat. A yang deficiency can make your complexion appear sallow or dull.
The effects of yin and yang imbalance in the lungs
Thirdly, TCM states that one of the body’s five yin organs, the lungs, is responsible for the health of your hair and skin. The lungs also promote qi circulation in the body and ensure optimal skin hydration. If your lungs are healthy, your skin will appear moist and supple. Additionally, dry lungs and lung heat (excess yang) cause the skin to become flaky, itchy, and create a burning skin sensation.
The effects of yin and yang imbalance in the spleen
Finally, the spleen removes dampness from the body. Dysfunction to this area causes excess dampness and heat to accumulate in the body. Furthermore, it can cause increased production of sebum which can lead to clogged pores and acne breakouts. A skincare regime can help correct this imbalance.
How to Manage Skin Eczema Effectively?
There are various home remedies and therapies that can help improve your eczema treatment. However, seek assistance from a doctor or TCM professional if your ailment is prolonged.
1. Consume traditional herbal remedies
The consumption of a few traditional remedies can be effective in relieving the aggravated symptoms of eczema. Qinzhuliangxue (QZLXD), a Chinese herbal formulation includes several ingredients like licorice root, pearl powder, and skullcap. This effectively relieves eczema symptoms and reduces the frequency of a relapse.
Similarly, a formula called Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (BZYQT) combines ingredients like Bupleurum, Chinese Angelica root (Danggui), and ginseng. It can reduce the severity of eczema in people who are hypersensitive.
You can use BZYQT alongside topical corticosteroids or oral antihistamines to keep your symptoms in check. Because of this, it is a suitable adjunctive therapy to the use of conventional treatments. You may also prepare American ginseng with other ingredients, including dried longans and chicken drumstick, in a herbal remedy that nourishes your yin, clears excess heat from the heart, and improves lung function.
2. Get regular acupuncture treatments
A 2018 study found that acupuncture reduces and helps improve symptoms like itchy skin in people with mild to moderate eczema.
However, another study found acupuncture reduces the size of eczema would and reduces symptoms, related to stress. Additionally, regular acupuncture treatments have been shown to lessen the itchiness and improve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
3. Make dietary changes and know your triggers
Eczema breakouts are also linked to certain foods. For example, eggs, dairy, seafood, sugar, peanuts, and wheat are common triggers of eczema flare-ups.
Often on the “no-eat” list, eliminating certain foods can be an effective way to calm down your eczema. In some cases, a doctor, nutritionist, or TCM practitioner might suggest cutting out trigger foods one by one to be better find the culprit.
Other triggers that can cause flare-ups include cigarette smoke, fragrances, certain fabrics, or household cleaners. Dry skin that becomes brittle, itchy, and rough can also trigger the skin, leading to eczema.
4. Manage your stress
Keeping the body in a state of calm is crucial for overall well-being, including the management of your eczema. Just like you know your food triggers, be aware of the stress-related ones that can cause problems with sleep, a chronic feeling of sadness, or loss of energy. Typically, connected to general malaise or related to societal issues, such as with COVID-19.
5. Take oatmeal baths
One way to find calm and destress is to take comforting baths. Dubbed the “soak and seal” method, baths can help with dry skin and reduce flare-ups. Use warm water and colloidal oatmeal — oatmeal grounded into a fine powder — that forms a paste, supporting the retention of skin moisture and easing inflammation. Additionally, it has soothing effects against itching and irritation
A study conducted by Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that a colloidal oatmeal bathing regimen can reduce symptoms in patients with eczema.
Moreover, you can apply a cold compress to the affected area, use cleaners with low pH levels (range between 4.5-6 on the pH scale), or try wet wrap therapy. In this method, the skin is covered in a bandage (usually overnight), keeping it moist and protected.
In conclusion, natural eczema treatment, such as home remedies, visiting a doctor, and looking at the body’s yin and yang helps alleviate the symptoms. Those with mild symptoms can take comfort in knowing that a consistent practice can treat and control your eczema flare-ups.
- National Eczema Association. 2021. Eczema Causes and Triggers. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]
- National Eczema Association. 2021. Eczema Stats. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]
- NCBI. 2013 . Psychoneuroimmunology of Psychological Stress and Atopic Dermatitis: Pathophysiologic and Therapeutic Updates. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]
- Science Direct. 2018 . Acupuncture improves symptoms in patients with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis: A randomized, sham-controlled preliminary trial. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]
- National Eczema Association. 2021 . Eczema and Bathing. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]
- Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2021 . The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study. [Accessed on December 7, 2021]