There are some basic guidelines to be followed when a person has eczema (most of them according to Indian medicine Ayurveda).
• Find out the allergic factor that is causing the eczema and remove it completely from the environment. If the eczema is due to an ingredient in the diet, then abstain from that particular food completely.
• Soaps and detergents must not be used on inflamed skin. Unless it is special non-fragrant soaps made from herbal ingredients, neem oil and tar.
• After bath, the skin must not be allowed to remain wet. It is water drying up from the skin that aggravates the eczema.
• During bathing, olive oil added to the water helps. Similarly, oil or a ghee massage can be had about an hour after the bath.
• Baths should not be too prolonged or too frequent. Use warm water for the bath, but not hot or cold water.
• Towels used for drying the skin must be soft. Rubbing on the skin will aggravate the inflammation drastically.
• Woolen fabric must be strictly avoided. The same applies to blankets.
• Avoid sweating as much as you can.
• Be wary of using objects on the skin such as spectacles, artificial jewellery, footwear, furs and synthetic fibres. Identify and isolate the allergenic materials.
• People with eczema problems must not visit places where there is cold and dry climate.
• Stress is also related with eczema flare-ups. Extreme emotions like anger and shock must be avoided.
• Do exercise and relaxation.
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Diet for People with Eczema
Since food is one of the causes of eczema, it is important to be cautious about the diet. Generally a person with eczema can have a normal diet, but without the specific allergic factor. Depending on the constitution of the person, he/she can be allergic to just about any kind of food. Hence, one of the steps of diagnosing eczema is to identify if any foodstuff is the cause of the eczema. If so, then that food must be eliminated from the diet.
Furthermore, people with eczema must keep away from the following foods:
• Salad vegetables like cucumbers, potato, corn, tomato and radish must not be used.
• Fruits like orange, mandarin, kiwi, strawberry watermelons and papayas must be avoided as they are contra-indications to eczema.
• Sweets: like a cakes, soft drinks, honey, ice creams etc.
• Cold drinks must be strictly avoided.
• Several spices and oils can aggravate eczema. Hence they must be taken with moderation.
• Nuts are harmful to eczema, especially cashew nuts.
• Foods with a high mineral content such as ginger, onion and ladies finger (okra) must be curtailed in the diet.
• Smoked food (like smoked fish etc).
• Salt must be reduced in the diet.
• Sour foods must be avoided. This includes all pickles, curds, etc.
• Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise are a strict no-no.
• Bitter tastes are useful. These are obtained from vegetables such as bitter gourd, bitter drumstick and flowers of the neem tree.
• Turmeric has a soothing effect on the skin. It must be used liberally in flavoring the food. Turmeric is also useful if it is applied locally over the affected parts.
• Coffee, tea and alcohol.
• Oily dishes.