A: A broad category that encompasses a range of subconditions, eczema is any malady resulting in dry, red, scaly, flaky or inflamed skin. It plagues 7.2 percent of adults in the United States and 13 percent of children, according to the National Eczema Association. Causes may vary, and in many cases, topical treatments simply don’t work.
The key is understanding something called the “gut-skin-brain axis.” Essentially, keeping stress in check can help balance your gut bacteria, which, according to research, supports the health of your skin. Gut health is particularly relevant when it comes to eczema, which often results when gut imbalances trigger and continue to feed inflammation.
Because of the gut-skin connection, probiotics and prebiotics are a healthy skin essential. Delicious Living's beauty editor, Jessica Rubino, recommends taking supplements such as Acure Total Probiotic and Ora Trust Your Gut Probiotic + Prebiotic, as well as adding more gut-friendly and healthy fat foods to your day. Down probiotic-rich miso, kefir, kombucha and other fermented foods and beverages. Complement those with prebiotic-rich foods, including chicory root, garlic, onions, asparagus, dandelion greens and leeks.
Other smart foods include bone broth, brightly colored fruits and veggies, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and organic fish oils and plant-based oils. Reducing stress is also key, says nurse practitioner Kristen Cantwell of the Vitality Aesthetic Institute in La Jolla, California. She advises taking a full-spectrum omega-3 supplement, such as Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Xtra.