The Connection Between Eczema and Gut Health

My own healing journey.

By Riley Reed

Ever since I was a baby, my skin has intermittently caused me great discomfort. Living with eczema is a daily struggle and the slightest change in diet, lifestyle, weather, product or stress can cause it to flare up in an instant. Eczema isn’t the worst thing to live with, this I know, however it has caused me many restless nights and just plain frustration. And as I’ve grown, it has traveled to my face and neck – the two places I can’t hide.

All that to say: I’m obsessed with eczema maintenance.

Through my journey I’ve learned many things, the predominant lesson being: your skin is a reflection of your gut.

I used to rely solely on products. And though I still love discovering new ones, I’ve found that the most important aspect of skin health starts on the inside. My approach has been holistic. I haven’t just adjusted my diet choices, I’ve also adjusted my routines. The vagus nerve connects the gut to the brain stem. Thus, anxiety and stress levels have a direct impact on your tummy which therefore alters the state of your skin. 

The fact is, eczema is an autoimmune condition that can’t be cured but it can certainly be contained through practices such as: an anti-inflammatory diet, gut cleanses, a supplement routine, non toxic skincare and free medicine. The connectivity of the mind, body and spirit fascinates me and it gives me great joy to share my findings with you.

fridge packed with healthy food

Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet

If used mindfully, food is one of the most powerful healers. Eczema is composed of inflammatory factors that cause flare ups. And though there is little scientific evidence to support the correlation between eczema and diet, we have seen many studies that substantiate a direct link. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can aid immensely in combating discomfort. Diseases are not individualistic but rather the culmination of many factors. Treating the gut and elevating immune system resilience ultimately leads to happier and healthier skin. Anti inflammatory foods consist of: colorful plants, wild caught fish, nuts and spices such as turmeric.

Drink Water, Decrease Alcohol

There is no doubt in my mind: water is the elixir of life. It keeps your skin plumped and glowing, flushes out toxins and hydrates your largest, most precious organ. Consuming at least half your body weight in ounces daily is crucial to your overall health, including your gut equilibrium. On the other side of the spectrum, alcohol, a depressant, dehydrates you, contributes to inflammation, alters your mood state and encourages an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Some of my worst eczema flare ups were caused by a fun evening of drinks on the town. Decreasing alcohol in my lifestyle has noticeably affected every aspect of my being, most notably my mental health, digestion efficiency and skin appearance.

Sign up for the #CSCleanse for a month's worth of free spa-worthy recipes.

Consider a Candida Cleanse

I am almost five weeks into my first candida cleanse and I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. Over a year ago I was diagnosed with dysbiosis: an overgrowth of “bad yeast” in the gut. One of the main symptoms is eczema. I finally embarked on the program after a painful flare up. The cleanse consists of eliminating yeast overgrowth for a 6 week period using antifungal and antibacterial herbs and supplements along with a supportive diet. Protocol consists of limited carbohydrate intake, eliminating triggering foods and incorporating therapeutic foods like rooibos coconut oil.

The Best Beauty Supplements

Build a Supplement Routine

Many nutrients are available in nutritious food but sometimes we need a little help. Within my cleanse, I’m currently following a strict protocol consisting of supplements containing elements such as: lemon balm, oregano, berberine, Chinese skullcap, L-Glutamine and a probiotic blend. Fish oil and vitamin D have also proven to be soothing. The main purpose of these supplements is to support healthy immune, detoxification, intestinal microbial balance and kill bad bacteria. The supplements I’m taking are concentrated formulas consisting of natural herbs and plants.

skin, beauty, happy, joy, hair, stocksy

Indulge in Non-Toxic Skincare

Less is more. Here in America we have a tendency to fall into the vortex of harmful ingredients that contribute to skin inflammation. Non-toxic skincare is powerful, nourishing and rooted in Mother Earth and long standing apothecaries. I am continuously narrowing down my skin routine while incorporating products that stand for clean, pure, non harming ingredients. Some of my favorite products are: Skinceuticals, Eminence, Avéne, High Sun Low Moon and Kiehl’s.


holiday exercises daily movement

Practice Free Medicine

Coined by Carly Brawner, free medicine is simple, accessible and rejuvenating. The parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the rest and digest system, conserves energy levels as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. It can’t function alone. Nurturing your well being through practices like meditation, exercise, a sleep schedule and quality human connection contributes to the vitality of your parasympathetic nervous system, leading to less stress, more joy and thus a well functioning body.