The link between eczema and mineral deficiency? Rather than being a single skin condition, eczema is a term that's used to describe several conditions which are characterized by itchy, inflamed, irritated skin.
Atopic eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of the condition, and it has a tendency to develop in people who are prone to asthma, hay fever or other allergic conditions.
Eczema can appear on the skin of various parts of the body, but it is most frequently seen on the face, hands, knees or feet. Skin that is affected by eczema usually has a very dry, thickened or scaly appearance. The pigmentation of the affected skin can also be altered, and the color and texture changes of the skin can make eczema look very unappealing.
Fortunately, the condition is not contagious. So far, the precise cause of eczema has eluded medical science, but a connection is suspected between unknown triggers and an overly reactive immune system. Eczema is not unusual in people with a family history of hay fever, other allergies or asthma. Some people experience eczema flare-ups when they are exposed to certain substances or particular environmental conditions, such as excessive heat or cold.
Like several other skin conditions, eczema and mineral deficiency are also sometimes linked. Eczema may be related to a deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Taking fish oil supplements or another good source of omega-3 fatty acids can sometimes ameliorate the symptoms of skin problems such as eczema. Unfortunately, although eczema can be managed with medical treatment and by avoiding any triggers the person is aware of, there is (as yet) no true cure.
In addition to the link between eczema and mineral deficiency, it is generally accepted within the medical community that exposure to pesticides, mercury or other heavy metals like cadmium, chromium and so forth, chlorine or certain antibiotics can aggravate the symptoms of eczema. That may explain some people's contention that infrared sauna sessions can help a person suffering from eczema. As noted in other articles on this site, infrared saunas are widely accepted as being effective tools for detoxifying the body. As a result of their detoxifying properties, sessions in an infrared sauna may well help remove the contaminants mentioned above from the body, thereby lessening the symptoms of eczema.
Naturally, infrared saunas cause their occupants to sweat. In fact, many people use infrared saunas not so much for the restful, relaxing experience they provide (although they do that too) but in order to take advantage of the purifying effects of sweating.
Some people, however, believe that in addition to detoxification, sweating in an infrared sauna might lead to a mineral deficiency. For example, sweat can contain between 230 and 1,700 mg of sodium per liter, so perspiring heavily could cause a sodium deficiency unless the sodium lost in the sweat is quickly replaced. But, a mineral deficiency caused by infrared sauna sessions (if that indeed occurs) does not necessarily indicate a deficiency in essential fatty acids has also arisen - in addition to a lack of available data on the concentration of essential fatty acids in human sweat, essential fatty acids are not minerals. Because a mineral deficiency caused by using an infrared sauna (if in fact, a mineral deficiency does arise) does not affect the person's levels of essential fatty acids, that mineral deficiency should not make the person's eczema worse. So eczema and mineral deficiency should not be something you need to worry about when using an infrared sauna. Indeed, as mentioned above, the detoxifying properties of infrared sauna sessions can remove chemical triggers of eczema from the body, a situation which should help the eczema sufferer, not harm him or her.
A deficiency of essential fatty acids can lead to the appearance of one or more symptoms, including dry, flaky or scaly skin, poor or delayed healing of wounds, dandruff or dry, brittle or lackluster hair, hair loss, excessive production of ear wax, soft, splitting, brittle or slow-growing nails, stiff or painful joints and excessive thirst, among others. Certain skin conditions will clear up readily once appropriate doses of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids are taken on a regular basis. Of course, a similar daily supplement could eliminate any mineral deficiency that might arise from sessions in an infrared sauna.
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