Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation of the skin, as well as intense dryness, itchiness, and scaling. It is often linked to a sensitivity to allergens and an inability to process fatty acids properly. Approximately three percent of the population suffers from this disorder and numbers may be rising, according to a BBC report which points out a 42 percent increase in the number of diagnoses in England from 2011 to 2015.
While there is no cure for this skin condition there are many treatment options, ranging from steroid creams to natural remedies such as taking flax seed oil for eczema. As a potentially beneficial nutritional supplement for dry skin, flax oil may serve to benefit the skin, offering natural relief for eczema sufferers. Why might this dry skin supplement treat dermatitis? Is flax seed oil an effective eczema natural remedy?
Flax Seed Oil is A Supplement for Dry Skin and Inflammation
There is some logic behind the idea that flax seed oil supplements can be used to treat dry skin and inflammation, the primary symptoms of eczema. This natural oil is rich in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acid found in flax seed, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is particularly beneficial. It is converted into to other important omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentainoic acid (EPA). Both DHA and EPA are found naturally in fish oil.
These omega-3 oils, which the body can derive from flax seed oil, act to reduce inflammation by blocking pro-inflammatory agents, the hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins. In this way flax seed oil can benefit the skin if inflammation is present, as well as helping to prevent and manage other chronic conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. Also, the typical Western diet contains too many omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation. Balancing with a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids such as flax oil supplements can help manage problems that are triggered by an imbalance.
Essential fatty acids in general, both the omega-3 and omega-6 oils, also promote the lubrication of skin. Flax seed oil may be a natural supplement for dry skin conditions such as eczema simply because it encourages moisture retention and enhances suppleness.
Can Flax Seed Oil Benefit Your Skin?
Will taking flax seed oil benefit your skin? According to the Telegraph article, “Omega-3 Can Help Eczema,” research published in the British Journal of Dermatology supports the link between omega-3 supplements and a reduction in the symptoms of eczema. German researchers tested the benefits of fish oil for eczema sufferers, not flax oil. Flax seed oil is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA, but the body has to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. While there is more research to support the benefits of fish oil for eczema, flax seed oil may be a healthier alternative as it is free from the possible contaminates of fish oil, especially when organic flax seed oil is used.
Using Flax Seed Oil as An Eczema Natural Remedy
To use flax seed oil for eczema you can simply supplement with this nutritional oil in capsule or liquid form. Always purchase flax oil from a natural and trusted source. Follow the dosage instructions on packaging or as a general rule add about one tablespoon of flax seed oil to the diet on a daily basis to improve skin conditions. For best results use in conjunction with a healthy diet and other natural treatments for eczema.
Are there any side effects or risks associated with using flax seed oil as a natural remedy for eczema or other health conditions? Because there is not enough research to verify if there are any negative side effects it is important to talk to your doctor before taking supplements, especially if you are taking any type of medication.