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Three Years On: How I Keep My Eczema at Bay After Overcoming TSW

HealthAlana Holloway
Alana Holloway

Discovering the root cause of a health issue is often a complex task that needs to be approached from different angles.  I've been asked a few times about what else I do - outside of the fermented food/gut health arena - to ensure my skin stays healthy, so I thought I'd create a blog post to consolidate it all.

As many of you may have read, fermented foods and improving my gut health were key to me healing from TSA/TSW (Topical Steroid Addiction/Topical Steroid Withdrawal). They were, and still are, the cornerstone of how I manage my eczema - medication free - in a more natural and holistic way.

Eczema is now considered an auto-immune disease. Autoimmune means that certain triggers cause your immune system to attack certain cells in the body.   I’ve come to realise that eczema is something that will always be in the background and can even be put into remission, but that in order to maintain healthy skin, I need to follow certain diet and lifestyle choices. Here’s a list of the tools I’ve compiled over the years to keep my eczema at bay;

- Eat/drink something fermented every day!
-Plenty of fibre in my diet. Fibre is fuel for gut bacteria.
-Eat lots of plant foods!
- Yoga as much as I can.  To get my blood flowing, system moving and mind calm.
- Daily 10 minute meditation.  Stress has such a huge impact on my health and my skin.  I find the Calm App to be best suited to me.
- A water softener as I live in such a hard water area.
- Early to bed and sleep for 8-9 hours every night, although this is a constant work in progress!
- Natural skin products and no make-up (natural make up for when I have to!) I’ve actually now started making my own.
- Limited/no alcohol.  I've tried natural wines but find I wake the next morning more inflamed than I'd like. 
- Plenty of water throughout the day and herbal teas depending on my mood.
- Limited sugar.  I tried totally sugar free for a while but am only human and missed treats!  Saying that, I stick to the more unrefined sugars and try to keep my consumption below the RDA.

Diet wise, I do avoid cow's dairy and gluten as they tend not to sit well with me (although I've recently been experimenting with sourdough), and am mindful of my consumption of goat's dairy as it can make my skin feel 'damp/clammy' (you'll know what I mean if you suffer with eczema)  I've found what works for me and do experiment from time to time.   The wellness world can be so black and white about what's 'good' and 'bad' for you.  It doesn't allow for exceptions to rules and that can cloud judgement.  For example; I've found that I'm absolutely fine with ghee but not with butter.  In essence, they're kind of the same thing but the way in which ghee is made makes it tolerable.   My point here is: don't be too strict when it comes to food and food groups.  Experiment, test and keep an open mind.

Lastly, over the past couple of years, I've been taking more interest in Ayurveda.  It's something I've only recently started incorporating into my daily life but find it really helps.  I've found it a really gentle and sympathetic way to approach my health, making tweaks here and there when I need to.  I would really recommend looking into it.

I really hope the helps some of you on your quest to better health.  As always, please feel free to ask any questions either in the comments below or by emailing me.

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