As we’re approaching a cold front, I wanted to address something you or someone you know might be experiencing. Eczema can be painful and stressful. Eczema causes the skin to become inflamed and irritated. It is almost always itchy. Affected areas are usually dry and scaly. At times, it’ll appear as a rash. It’s unknown what really causes this condition but it’s been linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant, family history of allergies and food allergies. Although there’s no cure for this condition, there are ways to help reduce symptoms.

Here are 5 important steps to arm yourself with:

1. Know the cause of the flare ups. Do you have a family history of allergies? Are you using toxic ingredients or harsh irritants in your skincare/makeup product, laundry detergent, soaps, shampoos and conditioners? Find out what’s causing the condition and eliminate them immediately. It’s also helpful to get an allergy food or food sensitivity test and get clear on which food your body is sensitive to.

2. Spike your day with vitamins and nutrients. Boost your immune system with antioxidants such as vitamin A, B, C, and E, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, flaxseed oil, and probiotic supplements. Chlorophyll should also be taken daily as this neutralizes acidity in the body.

3. Keep skin hydrated at all times. The first line of defense is a gentle skincare routine that can provide the skin with vitamins, nutrients, moisture and reduces inflammation. Well formulated skincare can benefit by improving the outer skin barrier and keeping skin moist.

4. Eat a healthy diet and eliminate food that trigger flare ups. Avoid foods high in histamine as these will promote inflammation. Buckwheat, green onions, mung bean sprouts, bananas and salmon are all eczema-healthy foods. These foods help decrease inflammation and promote skin repair. Oolong tea which contains polyphenols have also been shown to help reduce symptoms.

5. Ease stress with mind and body techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. According to Everyday health, several studies have shown that biofeedback and other techniques that ease stress and anxiety not only relieve eczema symptoms, but also cut down the number of eczema attacks.

Remember, the key to controlling eczema is prevention.

If you know anyone who is struggling with eczema and would benefit from this, please feel free to share this with them.