My long and crazy journey to creating Yoreganics began with some of my own health issues, and then morphed into skin issues and chemical sensitivities my two little ladies were having. Skin "stuff" was becoming unbearable on many levels. Most people know this condition by its more common name – eczema.
What is eczema?
Aside from being the bane of my existence for the past handful of years, what is eczema? In the medical community, it’s known as the general term for different types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation. It’s a non-contagious skin disorder, disease or condition that varies greatly – and I mean greatly – from person to person.
It can persist over a long period of time (chronic eczema) or onset rapidly (acute eczema). It can be found on your face, legs, arms, scalp, swimsuit area, and pretty much anywhere you have skin. Some people only have a tiny patch of it while others can be covered in it.
Though it generally is characterized as a red or brownish-gray skin rash or bumps that is very dry. Sometimes eczema patients feel like their skin is burning or itching. Eczema symptoms are also incredibly variable. Some types will have patches that bleed, peel, blister, weep, ooze or have pustules or scaly plaque.
For more information on eczema from "real" medical professionals (i.e. not me), please refer to your dermatologist, pediatrician, or the world wide web!
If this story sounds familiar to you, then I wouldn’t be surprised: more than 30 million Americans suffer from eczema.
Why do so many people have eczema?
Some believe that eczema can be hereditary. However, this skin condition has countless triggers that are both internal and external, which can make it difficult to find true root causes of the problem. Oftentimes, eczema can be triggered by a mixture of irritants which include –
- synthetic laundry detergents and soaps
- clothing and jewelry
- temperature and humidity
- household chemicals and cleaning products
- environmental and food allergens
- cosmetic products and perfumes/cologne/fragrances
- stress and immune system imbalances
All those nasty chemicals in our everyday, household products can be absorbed into our bodies through the skin. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and absorbs up to 60% of what is directly applied to it.
Many eczema treatments – like the ointments, lotions, and other treatments prescribed to us – can do wonders to treat the symptoms. But, in many cases, skin inflammation and other skin conditions (like eczema and psoriasis) is a sign of toxins inside the body. Unfortunately, there’s no magical ointment or cream that’s going cure it all. Even the stuff they do prescribe you (like steroids) can kind of suck, too: some of the potential side effects of steroids are skin thinning and discoloration, burn marks on the skin, kidney damage, and even weakened immune systems.
What can I do to treat eczema?
Modern medicine can do wonders to treat some of the symptoms of eczema – but not necessarily the causes. There’s nothing your doctor can "prescribe" that can yank the chemicals out of your laundry detergent or the foods you eat.
This is why many have turned to alternative methods and lifestyle changes to battle eczema – and it’s why we at Yoreganics do what we do. There’s plenty you can do to wage war against eczema and none of it requires a prescription.
- Laundry & Skin Care – Opt for the good stuff that heals and soothes your skin instead of suffocating it – like the synthetic- and petroleum-based soaps that dominate most detergents on the market. Yoreganics products, like our Yore Wash & Yore Balm, are made with effective botanical ingredients that are natural, organic, and pure.
- Nutrition – The average American’s diet contains foods that are too over processed and filled with refined sugars, causing our bodies to be too acidic and leading to more health problems like heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and – yes- eczema. Take a closer look at what your shoveling into your mouth with a food journal. Take some items (like meat, dairy, eggs, gluten, etc.) out once in a while and how your body reacts. Our gut effects our immune system and when it is weak, our skin shows us!
- Clothing & Jewelry – Wear soft, natural fibers like cotton when possible to allow your skin to breathe. Avoid nickel-based jewelry and other trigger items like watch straps, etc.
- Temperature & Humidity – Extreme temperatures and humidity are eczema’s best friend. You don’t want eczema to have any friends. You want it to so make sure you skin stays moisturized if you simply can’t avoid these environmental changes.
- Environmental Allergens – Speaking of nature, it can also be eczema’s buddy in battle. There are thousands of potential allergens that can trigger eczema, such as dust mites, ragweed, pet or animal dander, mold, cigarette smoke, etc. If you know that an allergen is a trigger for your eczema, avoid it like you would a bad ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
So at this point, you’re probably overwhelmed from the above list and thinking, “There’s no way I can do all of that.” Good news: you don’t have to. At least, not all at once.
Everyone has different triggers, different lifestyles, different habits, different foods they like, etc. Some things – like your favorite lipstick or go-to macaroni and cheese dish – are non-negotiable. Cut what you can, learn from how your body reacts, and create your own lifestyle at your own pace. It can be as simple as swapping out your synthetic laundry detergent all the way to moving to deserted island, swearing off clothing and personal hygiene products, and eating raw food like Tom Hanks in “Castaway.” Do what’s realistic for you, your family, and your life.