In April 2018 I wrote this blog post about the steps I was taking to improve my eczema and as a result gut, mood and sleep. I’d actually like to start this blog the same as I did that one;
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
The reason I start with this is because what works for one might not work for another and sometimes people can get a little bit defensive when it comes to food. But as always, I share my experiences because I truly believe that sharing sometimes makes people feel less alone.
The fact is that for years I suffered from extremely traumatising eczema. I had weeping sores on my arms, legs and eyes. Rashes would last months (if not years!) and when it was really bad the infections and anxiety caused from scratching my eczema even put me in hospital on many occasions.
As detailed in that last blog post it was an allergy specialist by the name of Dr Pete Smith who finally got to the root cause of my eczema – a combination of lifestyle and diet. However I’ve found over the last few years that whilst I have my eczema relatively under control, certain factors can trigger it…
Stress being a big one.
It’s been an incredibly tough year. Personally, watching my small business face unprecedented challenges, my close friend pass away from cancer and my clients, friends and loved ones face incredible heartache – it’s all been a bit much. I think almost everyone can agree that 2020 has provided us all with more than enough challenges, decision fatigue and slaps in the face.
And on top of everything, this has consequently wreaked havoc on my skin.
My eczema has been so red, raw and painful on my neck and under my eyes that clients have asked if I’m okay. That’s when I know my eczema is bad – people start feeling concerned for me. Being a ballet teacher, my body is constantly on display to my class of students and because they’re such beautiful. caring humans they notice and ask if everything is okay.
With stress at an all time high and eczema managing to penetrate my nutrition and lifestyle habits that usually keep it under control, I’m trying these three things lately. And whilst nothing completely cures chronic skin conditions like eczema, I’ve found these have certainly improved my condition…
1. Reassessing my diet and stripping back to basics…
Whilst I maintain a pretty good diet full of wholesome and varied foods, I occasionally treat myself with something packaged (hello corn chips!) or a glass of wine that’s not organic. Well, when my skin is playing up I really shouldn’t be doing that!
To assess where I’m slipping up, I kept a food journal for one whole week. It’s super important to mention that I didn’t do this to control what I ate, just to evaluate what might be causing any harm. I noticed that I was consuming a surprising amount of dairy (which is a known inflammatory for eczema) and I’ve eliminated it for the meantime.
On top of reassessing I’m also leaning towards a more plant based diet for lunch and dinner (with the occasional grass fed steak or organic chicken) whilst only eating fresh fruit before 12pm to give my digestion and liver a chance to rest. I’m still going to the farmers market every Sunday and thoroughly enjoy buying all the fruit that’s in season – they really are natures sweets!
I’ve also ordered a SOL Cleanse (which I’ve heard fabulous things about!) that arrives on Monday. I chose the three day ‘Wholefoods Cleanse’ which includes daily organic juices, salads and Ayurvedic dal for dinner. The cleanse is supposed to support liver function, improve digestion, support detoxification and is free of any preservatives, additives and chemicals that are especially harmful to those that suffer from skin conditions.
Basically I’m doing a little reset to rebalance my body! I’ll let you know how I go…
2. I make a date with my mat every morning…
Every morning when I get back from my walk or pilates, I roll out my yoga mat to do some breath work, stretching and eat breakfast slowly. It’s such a simple act, but by giving myself 20 – 60 minutes of mindful movement, eating and breathing I feel like it’s helping improve my skin.
For example, sometimes when I’m doing the breath work or eating my fruit I imagine my skin healing with every breath and bite. I know, I know – it sounds a little crazy! But as any dancer will tell you, visualisation goes a long way!
3. I purchased a slightly expensive but beautifully healing skin cream…
So there’s been this product on the market for a while now. I’ve heard rumours about its benefits for people with skin issues like eczema. BUT it’s slightly expensive. Tatcha ‘Indigo Cream’ is $136 for 50ml but guess what, it works!
This particularly luxurious facial cream is a rich blend of oatmeal and other fancy ingredients that the Japanese have been using for hundreds of years to calm and revive sensitive skin. Personally my skin feels incredibly soothed as soon as it touches my skin.
In the past few months I’ve tried quite a few different products and this is the only one that has brought me any relief! I know this sounds like an ad but I am definitely not being paid (I wish I was!) to sing its praises. And I know it comes with a hefty price tag, but Tatcha donate a portion of every sale to help fund girls education through a partnership with non-profit Room To Read. This makes me feel like my purchase is doing some good in the world!