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Eczema can be "cured" but psoriasis is a multifactorial disease that requires a multitreatment approach that is daunting for most people.
Natural treatment begins with detoxification, especially for psoriasis. Saunas, exercise that makes you sweat, bowel, liver and kidney cleansing and removal of mercury amalgams in your teeth are all important considerations. Stress reduction is also an essential part of dealing with skin conditions. It's often said you wear your heart on your sleeve. You also wear your emotions on your skin.
Meditation, journaling, and just plain taking time for yourself are very important tools for calming your body and feelings.
For both conditions, you will need to begin by eliminating sugar and refined and processed foods from your diet. This means avoiding table sugar, foods that contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup, any white food, like white bread, biscuits, pizza dough, baked goods, anything that comes in a box and most canned foods.
The next step is to avoid food irritants and allergens. For skin conditions that may be caused by food allergies or intolerances, I highly recommend the Elimination Diet. Go to www.yeastconnection.com for a detailed plan to eliminate suspect foods from your diet and then gradually re-introduce them, making detailed observations to determine which ones may be causing your problems. (Look under the Yeast Fighting Program section.) You can suspect a food allergy if you have continual craving for that food, or eat it every day.
Add foods rich in vitamins A and B-complex, like green leafy vegetables, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and dried beans.
Add foods that are high in magnesium. These include nuts, seeds, whole grains, and fresh green vegetables -- organic if possible.
Magnesium is so essential for helping to prevent allergies, detoxify, improve skin quality and relaxation that you might consider adding it as a supplement. The most common form is magnesium citrate taken at 300 milligrams twice daily.
Increase the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet -- the healthy fats -- by adding wild salmon (be sure it's free of mercury), walnuts, vegetables, nut and seed oils, especially flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and black currant oil.
I'm going to depart slightly from the dietary recommendations here to recommend two substances that must be taken in supplement form: probiotics and digestive enzymes. I consider them foods and essential for optimal human function, so I'm including them here.
If you are not doing so already, start taking probiotics! While they are not technically foods, I've seen positive results over and over. If you correct the imbalance in intestinal flora by adding "good" bacteria to your system, many systemic problems will resolve themselves. I highly recommend that everyone take a probiotic daily.
In fact, there is a growing body of research that suggests that people with unbalanced intestinal flora have a higher risk of developing skin conditions like eczema, but probiotic supplementation diminishes or even eliminates the problem.
Along the same lines, taking supplemental digestive enzymes will enhance digestion and rapidly improve the condition of skin. Digestive enzymes not only digest the meal you are eating, but, taken between meals, they have been shown to digest inflammatory proteins in the body that could otherwise cause skin irritation or other inflammatory conditions.
Supplements That will Help
Here's a list of natural creams and supplements that I have found to be effective in relieving eczema and psoriasis:
Calendula: These creams are very popular in Europe for the topical treatment of eczema and psoriasis. The cream is often combined with soothing chamomile for a variety of skin conditions. It should be applied topically two or three times a day.
Chamomile: The German Commission E approves the use of chamomile for treating a variety of skin conditions. Topical chamomile treatments can reduce inflammation and allergic reaction activity. Look for a cream containing 3 to 10-percent crude drug chamomile content and follow the label for dosage directions.
Dandelion: This lawn "weed" has been used to treat skin conditions in traditional herbal medicine on the premise it detoxifies the blood, thus eliminating allergens, inflammationy-causing toxins and chemicals from the body. It's most commonly used as a tea or you could take 250-500 mg. of dandelion extract daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids: People with skin disorders frequently have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies indicate that supplementation with omega-3s will reduce severity and inflammation of eczema and psoriasis. Look for a good fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement that contains both EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The best forms also include an omega-6 component as well to achieve a balance of the two oils. Take 2 to 4 grams daily.
In addition, be sure you're taking a good multi-vitamin that contains beta-carotene and vitamin A that promotes tissue healing. Another helpful vitamin is vitamin E because it helps moisturize skin from the inside and promotes tissue healing. Taking selenium will help the body use vitamin E. Finally; taking Zinc is a good choice, as it helps with wound healing.
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., is health advisor to Woman's Health Connection at www.yeastconnection.com and is featured on the website's "Ask the Expert" page. She has written Hormone Balance (to be released Spring 2005), Everything Alzheimer's, The Miracle of Magnesium and Natural Prescriptions for Common Ailments.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
The author of this article, Carolyn Dean, is a key medical advisor to www.yeastconnection.com, a Web site I highly recommend to women based on the pioneering work of Dr. William Crook.
Dr. Crook, one of my first mentors and a friend who has since passed away, was the author of the classic book, The Yeast Connection, and many other bestsellers that helped millions of women. He was instrumental in helping me recognize that there was a wide network of physicians who understood the importance of nutrition. He indirectly helped connect me to this network and I will be ever grateful for his guidance in this area as that was really the beginning of my journey into high-level natural health.
His great legacy is being carried on at www.yeastconnection.com, where you will find out all the latest insights on how Candida yeast causes problems in your body, and how to alleviate them.