If you suffer from red, scaly, dry patches of skin that are extremely itchy, you may have eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is an allergy-related skin condition common in young adults, but also frequently seen at menopause.
Simple measures can often help to minimize symptoms and provide relief. Instead of turning to the topical steroids often prescribed for eczema, which I believe suppress the problem and may worsen it over time, try the six suggestions below and see if they work for you.
1 Eliminate cows’ milk and all cows’ milk products from your diet, as well as foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils which are a common source of trans fats. If this does not seem to improve the condition, you may consider a trial of gluten elimination.
2 Take 500 milligrams of black currant oil or evening primrose oil twice a day. These are sources of gamma-linolenic aid (GLA), an essential omega-6 fatty acid that promotes healthy growth of skin, hair and nails. You should begin to notice positive changes in six to eight weeks.
3 Apply aloe vera gel (from a fresh plant or buy lotions or moisturizers containing aloe) or calendula cream to the affected areas of your skin.
4 Experiment with lotions and salves containing chaparral (Larrea divaricata), a desert plant used topically in Mexican folk medicine for skin conditions.
5 Bathe or shower as quickly as possible, and use a non-perfumed moisturizing soap. Apply a thick moisturizing cream or coconut oil immediately after patting yourself dry – don’t rub your skin when you towel-dry your body.
6 Practice visualization and hypnotherapy. They can have a significant positive impact on allergy-related skin conditions. And try to relax – stress can make the condition worse. Explore relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga.
Sometimes, itching can be a symptom of conditions such an overactive or underactive thyroid as well as being a common symptom of menopause.
The changes in the levels of hormones that occur during the menopause are thought to be responsible so maintaining hormone balance is a good place to start.
The moisturising base of hormone creams can help, but it is also possible to apply vaginally if you prefer not to apply to the skin.