Though they may be small in size, bacteria plays a big role in the overall health of our skin. While the mention of “bacteria” may initially bring to mind skin infections and disease, there is such a thing as “healthy” skin bacterium.
In fact, some of this “healthy” bacterium may even help reduce the severity of eczema. Read on to learn more about the connection between eczema and the microbiome.
Please keep in mind that although what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
Understanding Eczema and Bacteria
People who suffer from eczema have an unhealthy balance of bacteria on their skin. This overflow of “bad” bacteria, such as staphylococcus, is what leads to skin infections such as a staph infection. In addition, colonizing bacteria may be a driving force behind inflammation – a key symptom of eczema.
In an attempt to remove the bad bacteria and improve the skin’s appearance, many people resort to treatments such as bleach baths (although bleach baths do help reduce the number of bacterial infections, we encourage you to try natural baths, such as baking soda, coconut, or oatmeal baths, as a safer alternative).
In the early 20th century, it was discovered that some bacteria in the human body could be beneficial and actually act as a natural barrier against disease. Today, we recognize this “good” bacteria as probiotics.
Eczema and the Microbiome
Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria naturally found in foods such as yogurt and kefir – as well as the human body. In fact, the human body is host to a multitude of bacteria, collectively known as the “microbiome.” 80% of our body’s immune cells live in the microbiome, making gut health extremely important.
If the microbiome is unhealthy, substances such as gluten, bacteria, food particles and viruses can “leak” into the bloodstream. Known as leaky gut syndrome, this can cause the immune system to attack itself, resulting in inflammation and potentially, eczema. This is why it’s so important to have a healthy gut!
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
- Upset stomach – including gas and bloating
- Diarrhea, and constipation
- Unintentional weight changes
- Food intolerances
- Trouble sleeping
- Skin irritation – such as eczema
Can Probiotics Help Eczema?
Many take probiotic supplements to protect themselves against immune dysfunction and reduce inflammation, both of which play a role in the development of eczema.
As mentioned earlier, those suffering from eczema have an overload of “bad bacteria.” Therefore, the goal of probiotic supplements is to restore the microbial balance of the skin.
In recent years, bacteriotherapy for eczema has become increasingly more common, causing those to move away from conventional medicine (such as topical steroids) and instead focus on healing eczema from within.
Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before taking a probiotic as not all supplements actually provide benefit.
How to Heal your Gut
In addition to taking probiotic supplements to restore your gut flora, here are some natural ways to improve gut health:
Get Enough Sleep:
It’s recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Anything less can result in negative consequences for both your body and gut.
If you’re struggling with insomnia, consider wearing eczema sleepwear such as those from Remedywear™. All garments are made with soft silky TENCEL™ and embedded with anti-bacterial zinc to create soothing clothing that can be worn throughout the day or overnight. When worn three nights consecutively, the unique blend of fibers is clinically proven to reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis, reduce itching and improve quality of sleep.
Lower Stress Level:
Stress can impact your gut which, in turn, can affect your eczema. To avoid stress-induced flare-ups, calm your mind by practicing meditation, going for a walk, spending time with loved ones, or indulging in self care measures such as reading a book or taking a gentle bath.
Change Eating Habits
The food you eat affects your overall well-being. In addition to knowing your food triggers, there are some simple dietary changes you can make to improve your gut.
We suggest moving away from a diet of processed and high-fat foods that are high in refined sugar and moving towards a more-plant based diet that is high in anti-inflammatory foods. Helpful foods include legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, and berries.
To learn more about how eczema and diet are related, check out The Eczema Detox Book by Karen Fischer. In addition to providing eczema-friendly recipes that are great for the whole family, Karen shares how reducing your intake of natural chemicals can help heal eczema from within.
Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes