Can you make changes to your bedroom to help with your eczema?
The answer is yes! So let’s take a look at how!
To start off, let’s look at your bed linen.
Look at whether you are using a natural bed linen, or a man-made synthetic material such as polyester, or a polyester mix. Man-made materials which can also be added to natural materials, can cause you to get hot when you’re sleeping and then make you itch.
There are several natural materials that you can choose from, so it’s just a case of preference. My preferred natural material is Bamboo.
As Bamboo is hypoallergenic, it can be cooling in the summer and keep you warm whilst you’re asleep in the winter. It doesn’t suck moisture away from your skin which is good for your eczema, as this bed linen can help prevent your skin from becoming overly dry.
Another natural fabric, derived from wood pulp is Tencel. I’ll be honest and let you know that I haven’t yet tried it, but I have read many reviews that leads me to believe that it may be as good as bamboo for those who find most materials irritating to their skin, as it is super soft. The benefits of using Tencel bed linen for eczema sufferers are that the material which is made up of two different natural fibres is breathable. It absorbs moisture without overly drying the skin and helps the skin to stay cool and dry.
Another natural fabric you have definitely heard of is cotton. The positive thing about cotton is that it is natural and therefore shouldn’t cause you to itch with irritation, unless the colour/dye is the issue. However, cotton can pull moisture away from your skin, leaving it overly dry, so you should aim to use as tight a weave as possible. I have found that organic cotton has the tightest weave, although it might sound bougie and posh, but it will be better against your skin. The tighter the weave, the better the cotton fabric.
A natural pillowcase that I love to use is silk. It is nice and cool against the face, and its slippery texture prevents moisture from being drawn away from the skin. It is way too expensive and bougie for me to purchase an entire bed linen set. Often silk bed linen sets may require dry cleaning instead of machine washing, which means chemicals used during the process, coming into contact with your skin. For now, I have been able to purchase machine washable silk pillowcases, which I am happy with. Again, I opt for a natural colour and keep away from dyed materials, after an unfortunate encounter with a dyed red silk pillowcase that left me with a rash all over my face.
A non-natural fabric that I only use for pillowcases and no other bed linen is satin. The name satin pertains to the weave of the fabric and is often made up of both natural and synthetic materials. It will definitely create too much heat as a bed sheet or duvet cover, but the material is a vegan friendly alternative to silk, to put your face against when asleep. I switch between satin pillowcases, bamboo pillowcases, and silk pillow cases.
Before I move on, I should point out that although wool is a natural material, this can cause discomfort and itching to the skin, so it is best to keep away from this natural fabric.
When it comes to comfort that doesn’t involve the bed itself, another thing to consider is the warmth of your room. I know it’s not quite possible for all people to sleep with their windows open if you live in the city, due to noise, and pollution, but if you live in the countryside then do open your bedroom window. Even in the winter time, have a little bit of the window open but through the summer open it as wide as you can, as long as it is safe and as long as you’re not bringing in unwanted pollution or pollen into the air.
Now, with that being said, if you aren’t able to have a window open or it is still too hot in the bedroom then use a fan. Keeping your bedroom cool is a must as heat can irritate your skin as you become too warm. In my son’s bedroom, he has two. One fan on a low setting, oscillating left to right, through the night and the other used mainly in the summer, directed only toward his body.
Another area of concern that shouldn’t be overlooked is the moisture level of your bedroom. If the air is too dry this too, can affect your skin. In the UK, central heating causes the air in all rooms throughout your home to dry out. A simple fix for this is a humidifier. We have a mini humidifier in each of our bedrooms which we use when the central heating is on in the winter months. The small ones don’t make much, if any noise, and they’re inexpensive. I paid between £20 – £30 for each of ours. Just add water and watch the vapor be released into the air.
If you don’t want to go down the route of a humidifier, you can put a bowl of water underneath your radiator when the central heating is on and although you can’t see it taking place, the water will slowly evaporate into the air.
With these different ways of making improvements to your bedroom, don’t forget that for most of us, eczema is a symptom of what is going on inside the body, so it is important to look at the foods you are eating. If you want ideas of where to start, head over to our YouTube channel for access to free videos advising you how to help yourself.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where you have easy access to clean drinking water, thank your lucky stars.
However, there are some downsides to drinking and using tap water on your skin that you need to know about.
So, here we go.
To prevent the buildup of dangerous bacteria in our tap water, which could cause illness, disease and even death, water companies must add certain chemicals to tap water, to prevent all these things from happening. This is a good thing, but for those with skin conditions your tap water could also be a trigger for your reoccurring eczema and other skin conditions.
There are of course chemicals that don’t have to be added to tap water which can further exasperate your skin issues, such as fluoride, but that is a whole other blog on its own.
Whether you are drinking your tap water or washing with it, all these different chemicals added to our supplied water can affect your skin. Also, as tap water travels to our homes through miles of pipes, other chemicals both naturally occurring and through accidental contamination, can also be picked up along the way. If you find that you are reacting to tap water, it is definitely worth considering how you can make changes that will help your skin.
The way your skin reacts to water, can also be affected by whether you live in a soft or hard water area. The University of Sheffield conducted research, which showed that hard water had a worse affect for those with eczema, than those living in a soft water area.
Here’s what you need to know:
Whether you live in a soft or a hard water area of the country, there are certain precautions you can take before using your shower;
Moisturising with an emollient, preferably a natural emollient before water touches your skin is a big help. A natural butter or an oil on your skin before you have a bath or a shower can be anything from your kitchen: shea butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. These oils or butter helps protect your skin by creating a barrier between the skin and the water.
Once you are in the bath or shower make sure you only use warm water as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and also dry out the skin. Spend no longer than 20 minutes in the bath.
Consider buying a shower head called an ionic shower head. The head of the shower has little mineral and negative iron balls, which help to filtrate and strip out some of the chlorine and impurities from your water. It is particularly beneficial to those with sensitive skin and skin conditions, especially, if you live in a hard water area.
If your preference is to have a bath, you can add salt to the bath, as this really helps soothe the skin. In my household, we switch between using fine Pink Himalayan Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Epsom Salts and Sodium Bicarbonate/Bicarbonate of Soda. These easy to find salts help to soothe your eczema and skin. You then have the choice to use them all together or separately. Either way, using a cup of each of these in your bath will benefit your skin, instead of using over the counter bath foam which can irritate and dry out the skin because of the chemical ingredients and the chemical fragrance.
If you’re happy to sit in a bath with cloudy water, then also consider adding Bentonite Clay. This is a fantastic detox, that draws impurities from the skin. It can also be used as a face mask when a little water is added.
To dry your skin, pat yourself dry, then moisturise straight away to lock the moisture in…remember not to rub the skin too aggressively. I would suggest that if you’re having a bath or shower more than a couple of hours before bedtime, make sure that before you get into bed, you moisturise again. You are definitely worth the time you spend on yourself,
Another option for those living in the hard water areas of the South of England, is to have a water softener fitted to the main supply of your water system at home. The softener works by stripping out the calcium and the sodium from the water as these irritate, inflame, and cause the skin to become too dry.
Now as a last tip, one thing we do in our household specifically for my son and myself, because we can sometimes get dry itchy skin, or just as another way to treat the skin with care, as a preventative measure, is we create our own colloidal oats. Colloidal oats is used by those with eczema or sensitive skin because it helps to calm inflammation, create a protective barrier between the skin and skin irritants, soothe the skin and alleviate itching. It is also used by anyone who simply wants a natural way to look after their skin. Again, I use ingredients from our kitchen. Specifically, gluten free organic oats that we eat for breakfast. You can use a food processor, or if you have a clean coffee grinder, you can put some of the oats into the coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder, or just leave it as it is. You can either mix it directly into the warm water as the water is running in the bath, or I prefer to stuff some of the fine oat’s powder into the foot of tights, stockings or a muslin bag. With the opening knotted I hang the stuffed stocking foot/muslin bag on the tap or leave it in the bath where the water is running and let the water hit the filled bag of oats (or stocking foot). It’s really soothing for your eczema, and it works a treat.
If you’re using colloidal oats, adding the different salts and/or bicarbonate of soda to your bath, then moisturising yourself with natural butters and/or oil, this should work fantastically well to soothe and protect your skin from the outside. So then all you now need to do is take care of yourself from the inside.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you know of other natural tips that you want to share, please do let me know.
Eczema symptoms may go away for a while, then flare up again. Here are some tips to prevent your itching from worsening, becoming inflamed and possibly getting infected:
Keep away from Fragrance!
Fragrance is usually synthetic, unless it specifies that it is natural. One synthetic fragrance can be made up of 30 or more individual synthetic chemicals that cause skin sensitivities. These can all trigger your eczema. It is in in your body wash, facial wash or anything you use or put on your skin that isn’t natural with no added fragrance. For some eczema sufferers, even natural essential oils/fragrances can be a trigger.
Natural Skincare & Ingredients
When you choose your skincare products, always look at the labels.
Go for Natural Oils:
…The list is endless, but some of these oils can cause blockages of pores, so be wary. Remember we are all unique, so what may affect one person positively, may not affect another in the same way.
Is something you are eating triggering your Eczema?
Some of the big food triggers for eczema sufferers, as well as processed junk foods can be natural gluten and milk, eggs, peanuts and oily fish. However, there are many others. The only way to know what you are sensitive to is by doing an temporary exclusion diet for a fortnight, and then reintroducing one trigger food back at a time to see if you react.
Ultra Processed/Junk Foods
These foods are so far removed from being natural, that I believe they should come with a health warning about how artificial and dangerous they really are! They are massively processed, and that is not good for the body.
They are highly addictive due to the sugars, fats, and salt in them. To achieve eczema free skin, it is better to stay away from these.
Natural/Man-Made Bedding & Clothing
Avoid natural scratchy material such as wool; and avoid man-made fabrics like polyester. Instead, you can wear bamboo clothing! It is soft against the skin and let’s your skin breath. I would also opt for natural cotton that hasn’t been dyed with any type of colour.
Except for wool, natural products are always a yes.
Eco Friendly Laundry Liquid
Don’t use harsh soaps, detergents, or solvents. Again, these are massively synthetic which can cause your eczema flare-up. If possible, opt for a fragrance-free brand. As you know by now, anything with added fragrance is a possible trigger for a flare up.
This one is sometimes overlooked. You go around spraying or using plug-in air fresheners around your house, so as well as inhaling it, you are also sitting in and on it, as it lands on your soft furnishings such as your sofa. You’re basically causing your immediate environment around the home to be full of allergens that trigger your eczema, and even asthma.
Is your house too dry?
It’s a good idea to add some moisture to the air in your home, if you have central heating.
This can help avoid having dry skin and aid a comfortable night’s sleep if you have issues with your sinuses.
If you’re sweating a lot, it’s important to have a shower or bath, as your sweat can be a trigger.
Take warm baths or showers and keep them short. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups. Don’t forget to slather on a body oil or body butter based moisturiser on your skin before and after you shower.
Drink enough water!
It’s important to stay hydrated both on the inside and the outside. Don’t neglect one over the other, as looking after the body and the skin are equally as important for the prevention and care of eczema.
Where necessary, work with your health practitioner to find the right treatments for you.
For more information, check out our YouTube video;
In March 2010 a study of 640 infants aged 4 to 11 months was conducted. Of that study, 23% of infants were already found to be sensitive to peanuts.
The researchers measured immunoglobulin E (IgE), an immune system protein the body makes in response to allergens. A positive result means a person is sensitive to that particular food and therefore more likely to be allergic to it.
However, if you aren’t allergic to peanuts, you can still have a sensitivity or intolerance to peanuts, not so much because of the peanut itself, but because of the quality of what it is you are eating.
Let me explain…
Always assume that peanuts are massively sprayed with chemical pesticides unless you come across an organic brand. This is because, producers and manufacturers of highly processed foods create their product as cheaply as possible to make a profit for that company.
Your health isn’t their concern.
This is also the case for all genetically modified (GM) foods. GM crops were originally created to reduce the level of pesticides used on crops, but instead, all that has happened is one harmful pesticide has been replaced by another…just ask the bees and butterflies why their numbers are declining.
I used to believe that peanuts were at the top of the list of GM crops, which is why I quit eating them, but currently they aren’t. My reacting to peanuts was because some of the brands are manufactured in premises that handled gluten and milk, and so my skin would break out because of cross contamination at the processing plant, and because of the manufacturing processes of the other added ingredients.
I did however learn that corn, soya, and canola are at the top of the list for GM foods.
Some foods that are from outside the UK and rest of Europe are from GM sources but don’t forget that unless you check the back of everything you purchase to see where it was manufactured, you can very easily be eating GM foods from the US or China that have been approved for human consumption. Be vigilant and become label savvy with everything you buy, if you want your skin and health to thank you for it.
Unless it states otherwise on the label, always assume that the salt in your peanuts is the crappy stuff, table salt. I was disturbed to find that 98% of salt mined from the salt deposits of the older remnants of seawater (left over when it washes away) is massively processed, losing anything that was good about it i.e. the minerals.
In other words, you’re not actually getting salt…you’re getting what is left after it has been through a chemical process. The salt solution is evaporated under a vacuum to form crystals. Its minerals are stripped away, and it is then made into the fine texture known as table salt.
This is the deposits of more current sea water, and it has therefore retained more of its minerals. As it is less processed it therefore more expensive to produce. If you purchased unrefined over refined, then you have even more of its natural minerals. Refined sea salt is also darker in colour than refined but the chance of seeing this as an ingredient in your peanuts is pretty slim.
PINK HIMALAYAN SALT
This is mined from areas close to the Himalayas, often in Pakistan.
Lower in sodium than table salt, its pink colour is due to its minerals: iron, potassium, magnesium & calcium. As it has minimal processing this can make it more expensive than the other salts, but well worth the extra cost. Not only do I personally believe it to be 100% better than table salt, it also tastes better and you can use less of it in your cooking or on your plate as it has a more potent flavour. But again, at the moment, finding this ingredient in your standard packet of salted peanuts is rare.
When added to your bath water, the magnesium in pink Himalayan salt can help to reduce the inflammation caused by eczema. It might also help reduce the stinging from getting into the water during an eczema flare up.
PEANUT BUTTER– A HEALTHIER SNACK ALTERNATIVE
A healthier alternative to eating peanuts, if you can’t find organic peanuts with sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is organic peanut butter. It doesn’t matter if you prefer crunchy or smooth.
If made at home, peanut butter is simply peanuts that have been whizzed in a food processor…the longer you whizz it, the smoother it becomes.
If you purchase it from a shop, you need to be label savvy and make sure that the only ingredient is organic peanuts. Many manufacturers add sugar, palm oil, sunflower oil, preservatives, colour and other ingredients which are completely unnecessary.
If you do come across peanut butter that has added oil as an ingredient but nothing else, then choose palm oil that has been ethically sourced. If you don’t have access to organic peanut butter, then be vigilant and make sure no chemical pesticides are used. Before I try a new brand, I go online to their website and take a quick look.
If you like to pair your peanut butter with something, try it with slices of apple, carrot, celery or topped with banana slices. I even like it straight from the spoon, or in my porridge or smoothie.
Remember, you don’t have to give up on snacks when you want to eat healthy for your skin, you just need to become more label savvy and more aware.
Hormonal adult acne is acne that occurs after the age of 25. So just when you thought there was a time limit to suffering with a skin condition that is associated with puberty, we now simply have a different label for it in our later years.
When does it start?
So, although teenage acne can sometimes or primarily be triggered by an influx of hormones during puberty, which should then in theory calm down and stabilise after puberty. For adults…and by adults, I mean mainly but not always women, fluctuations in our female hormones can be the cause of our acne returning in our later life.
Your hormones can fluctuate or become imbalanced before and during your period, during pregnancy, when you are pre-menopausal & during your actual menopause. These imbalances can be the cause of your hormonal adult acne.
There is also polycystic ovary syndrome for which some women have a hormonal imbalance, metabolism problem and high levels of insulin.
Periods and the menopause are inevitable as a woman, but how you treat your body can make all the difference as to how much your hormones fluctuate during these times of our lives and pregnancy.
When it comes to men, a disruption in your testosterone levels can be the culprit for your hormonal adult acne.
But don’t despair…you don’t have to suffer!
How can we deal with acne naturally?
To prevent or reduce acne naturally, the food and drink you consume will make a massive difference to your skin. By making simple changes you can help prevent your hormonal/endocrine system from fluctuating during your period, pre-menopause and menopause. You will also help prevent causing changes to other parts of the body that could trigger your acne.
Eating the wrong foods can influence and cause fluctuations or imbalances in your endocrine/hormonal system; can cause low level chronic inflammation in your gut which affects your whole body and skin; can cause sebum/oil production on the skin itself; and can cause a weakened immune system, affecting your overall health and skin WHICH affects whether you get cystic hormonal acne.
So, as you can see by now, those wrong foods cause a whole host of issues to your body and ultimately your skin.
FOOD JOURNAL AND EXCLUSION DIET
Doing a food journal of just monitoring what you eat and drink for 2 weeks, then doing an exclusion diet of removing known acne trigger foods will help to raise some red flags. But remember, exclusion diets should only ever be short term to ensure you are getting a good variety of foods for the vitamins and minerals they supply.
The idea behind a very temporary exclusion diet is to ONLY remove all suspected trigger foods for a few weeks and then add one of your trigger foods back into your diet to see how your health and skin reacts. If no reaction, then enjoy, but if you do react, then the choice is yours as to what you will do next.
Now personally when I gave up certain food groups like milk, I went out and searched online to make sure I was getting my calcium from a plant-based wholefood source and not from processed food. I did this because processed foods for me are also a massive trigger.
When you start to read the labels of some of your favourite packaged foods, you will start to see why you have acne breaks out. All those chemicals that you are unknowingly ingesting are an absolute joke and really don’t belong in our bodies.
If your body is getting its sources of energy from ingredients that are unpronounceable, artificial flavourings, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, and if your food has more than one source of sugar then you’re eating CRAP. The artificial foods are called artificial for a reason…its because they are artificial, and artificial stuff isn’t tolerated well by the body. The same goes for all those different types of sugars that are added to foods. Sugar is added to make it taste nice and to make it more addictive, but ultimately it is ruining our bodies and skin, slowly, so that you won’t notice until the changes are all too obvious.
In fact, if the item of food you have picked up doesn’t look as close to its original natural state as it was picked up from the tree or soil, assume that it is crap.
If the fish you have picked up in the supermarket is from farmed sources and not wild caught, then assume that the fish has been swimming in its own faeces and that antibiotics have been added to the water to prevent disease.
Same goes for our meat, unless you can afford to only eating organic or grass-fed meat, then again assume that the animal will have lived in confined conditions where they will have been given antibiotics and some sort of hormonal treatment for them to grow faster. The same goes for milk and eggs. Washing or cooking the food doesn’t prevent the consumption of all these added chemicals, so they end up in our bodies and cause havoc.
Why am I mentioning all this stuff?
I’m mentioning all these crappy foods, that shouldn’t really be labelled as food, because it doesn’t matter how well you wash your meat and fish, it doesn’t matter how well you cook any of your meat, fish, or heavily processed junk foods. All the bad stuff that is in those foods can’t be gotten rid of from the body anytime soon. Instead, it causes inflammation in your gut, disruption of your endocrine or hormonal system and toxin build up in the different parts of the body.
Although toxins should be eliminated via the liver, kidney, colon, skin and even the lungs they stay in the body way too long and cause chronic issues.
All these points that I have just mentioned then lead to chronic long term health conditions for which our skin conditions are merely the symptoms of the problems within our body.
It doesn’t matter how much the so-called experts tell you how the body is meant to self-clean and remove toxins, because ultimately your body is telling you via your skin issues, that something isn’t right in your body.
When your skin is the symptom of a bigger issue that could potentially be improved of fixed with what you eat or don’t eat, will you do something about it?
My best advice is to first do a food journal, documenting your meals and symptoms daily for 2 weeks and then do your elimination diet. Once you have established what you shouldn’t eat for your body, then do your best to include more plant-based meals.
The main thing is to cut out what you know you react to and get rid of processed crappy foods, as everyone reacts to it on some level, they just don’t realise it.
You will feel and see a change in a matter of weeks!
If you’d like access to a free food journal, simply scroll to the bottom of the home page on the TigsAndMoo website or go to the description on any of our YouTube videos.
Do you know that the food you consume, the daily stress you experience, the products you put on your skin, sleepless nights, the environment you are in, and allergens can be some of the triggers for your eczema?
Do you also know that a vitamin deficiency can further trigger your eczema?
Vitamins are substances that your body needs to regularly grow and develop, so it makes sense that a lack of vitamins can also cause a whole host of skin problems, which are merely the body’s way of telling you that something isn’t working the way it should be, within the body itself. After all, eczema, adult acne or many of the other dry skin conditions are often the symptom of another problem.
A magnesium deficiency can lead to dry & cracked skin…and wrinkles, as your skin’s elasticity and moisture are reduced! This is caused by a low level of fatty acids…and your skin loves fatty acids. So it is definitely worth putting in the time to find a good supplement if you don’t believe you are getting enough magnesium from your diet.
Just like some of the previously mentioned vitamins in my other blogs, magnesium helps to protect the body from free radicals, because of its antioxidant properties. It regulates cellular regeneration and helps the recovery of the skin when it has been disturbed by eczema or acne.
Do you know that approximately 70 to 80% of the British population are estimated to have a magnesium deficiency?
Be warned though, you can overdo your consumption of magnesium, which can cause stomach upset, if you take it as a supplement, so always read the directions on the label carefully.
Some food sources include:
As a family, we take our magnesium powdered supplement at night just before bed, as it helps the body relax and can therefore improve sleep. My investigations showed that it helps because it activates the part of the nervous system responsible for calm and relaxation. You could possibly get a deeper sleep, which means you are less inclined to scratch if you suffer with eczema.
FISH OIL (OMEGA 3)
When it comes to fish oil, research has shown that consumption reduces the symptoms of eczema. The belief is that fish oil reduces Leukotriene b4. Leukotriene b4 is an inflammatory substance that is secreted, it can take from 6 weeks to 6 months to see a difference from when you take fish oils to improve your eczema, so you will need to persevere.
As a family if we are taking a fish oil supplement, we prefer to take a krill oil supplement instead of fish oil or cod liver oil. This is because it is less likely to have any pollutants or contaminants because krill is so small and is from the cleaner less polluted Antarctic Ocean. The body also absorbs krill oil easier than fish oils.
The following fatty or oily fish are a good source:
An actual deficiency in Omega 3 can affect the skin’s ability to regulate oil production. This can then lead to dry skin, which can possibly result in eczema and difficulty in the skin remaining hydrated.
Dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis, can also be another tell-tale sign of an Omega 3 deficiency. Its actually quite amazing, that as you get better at understanding your body and what it requires, the difference it can make to your skin health and indeed your overall health will have a massive impact to your both physically and mentally.
For more information, check out our YouTube channel to help with your skin journey!
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