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What Is Eczema?
The term "eczema" or "dermatitis" has been used to describe a group of skin problems where the skin becomes itchy and inflamed, and thus red splotches become visible. In a larger scale, eczema is also grouped with the classic allergic diseases, asthma and hay fever, in a complex that is termed "atopy" (from the Greek word "atopos", meaning "out of place").
Eczema is always marked by dry skin. The eczema skin cannot protect itself from increased rate of evaporation, and the loss of moisture leads to further dryness. In turn, the dry skin gets more irritated and itchy, leading to increased scratching that worsens the rash. The itchy, red rash can affect the entire body. Many people get it in the joints of the arms, especially the inside of the elbows, or the joints of the leg, especially at the back of the knees.
Natural Eczema Treatment Versus Steroids
The conventional method of treatment for eczema is by way of steroid applications. However, long term use produces side effects like "thinning of the skin", leading to increased vulnerability to bacterial infection, and hence aggravating the problem of eczema. Alternative health experts also suggest that any form of drugs increases toxicity to the body and this can create other health problems.
Introducing Coconut Palm as "The Tree Of Life"
Virgin Coconut Oil comes from the coconut fruit. The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. The coconut is an important staple in many tropical islands. Perhaps you do not get to see this fruit often enough in the supermarkets but nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some extent for food and their economy.
Coconut is highly nutritious. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, it possesses health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Pacific Islanders call the coconut palm "The Tree of Life", claiming that the oil can be used to cure several diseases. It is a claim that has now been confirmed by research.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids In Coconut Oils Make The Difference
The coconut oil was previously mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content. However, it is now established that not all fats are the same. The fats that are truly "bad" are trans fats, whereas the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats.
Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It is the MCFA that give coconut oil its healing benefits.
The majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have any negative effect on cholesterol and hence, protect the body against from any form of heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.
Lauric acid, known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties, contributes about 50% of the fatty acid in coconut fat. Lauric acid, which is also contained in mother's milk, is the most essential fatty acid for the building of an immune system. In the body, it is converted to monolaurin, a powerful monoglyceride that destroys lipid-coated viruses (such as cytomegalovirus, HIV, herpes, and influenza) as well as pathogenic bacteria.
Virgin Coconut Oil To Heal Eczema Skin
The MCFA help restore damaged skin, by penetrating into the cell structures of the connective tissues. Hence, it is excellent as a natural eczema treatment, for other skin disorders as well as for anti-ageing purposes. It also helps prevent the skin from developing liver spots, by destroying free radical formation.
MCFA in coconut oil help to prevent fungal and bacterial infections in the skin. At least one type of bacterium feeds on the sebum of our skin, breaking down the tryglycerides of the coconut oil into free fatty acids. When they are broken apart into free fatty acids, they become powerful antimicrobials, killing disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
The combination of the slightly acid pH of the skin and the MCFA provides a protective chemical layer on the skin that prevents infection from disease-causing organisms.
When you bathe or shower, ordinary soap tends to wash off the acid mantle of your skin. Applying coconut oil helps to restore the protective layer of your skin. Coconut oil penetrates quickly, keeping your skin soft. It helps to reduce any inflammation and is healing to wounds, blood blisters and rashes. Herbalists have been known to use coconut oil as an ingredient to prepare healing salves and ointments. A home remedy for eliminating plantar warts and athlete's foot is to mix coconut oil and crushed garlic.
To reiterate, associated benefits of coconut oil for eczema skin include:
(1). Reduces inflammation.
(2). Supports tissue healing and repair.
(3). Supports and aids immune system function.
(4). Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
(5). Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
(6). Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
(7). Provides protection form damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation form the sun.
Other benefits of coconut oil include:
(1). Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
(2). Improves calcium and magnesium absorption, supporting the development of strong bones and teeth.
(3). Improves bowel function.
However I prefer natural treatments for eczema and use coconut oil for healing eczema or dermatitis. Unprocessed organic virgin coconut oil soothes immediately and goes to work on healing eczema, dermatitis or just about any skin condition.
Patients with eczema have skin that is very sensitive to many substances such as soap, wool, detergents, make-up, cosmetics, mascara, lipstick, nail polish, shampoos, etc. Once skin is exposed to a trigger, it releases chemicals to the surface of the skin causing the patient to itch.
To achieve control of your ski condition it does take time and energy to follow a successful skin care routine. Skin care routines can be at times time-consuming and may seem monotonous but are necessary and well worth the effort.
We know that when someone is experiencing stress they are more likely to feel itchy and then start scratching their skin. A school-age child who has poor skin control usually feels isolated from his/her peers and can develop low self-esteem.
For an attack of eczema, two conditions are necessary: a predisposition or special irritability of the skin, and a directly exciting cause. Another influence that has received increasing attention from skin specialists is that of any shock to the nervous system or prolonged mental stress or strain.
While we don't understand all the causes of eczema, there is evidence that the following play a role in causing eczema: diet, genetics, the immune system, and abnormalities in the barrier (protective) function of the skin. We do know however that in eczema-prone people, certain things may cause a 'flare' or 'flare-up' or may 'trigger' an episode of eczema.
There are treatments and remedies that do work for eczema depending on what has caused it. But some types of eczema have no known cause. However usually patients can achieve excellent control and live quite comfortably.