What is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin . It affects people of all ages, and over 30 million Americans are estimated to have some form of eczema . Although the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors .
When an exogenous or endogenous irritant “turns on” the immune system, this can produce skin inflammation, as individuals often suffer from an overactive immune system . Additionally, they have found a potential genetic component to eczema concerning the protein “filaggrin.” Filaggrin allows our skin to retain moisture, and individuals with deficiencies may experience drier and itchier skin .
There are several types of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and nummular eczema . Individuals may experience outbreaks of eczema on the face, eczema on the hands, and even outbreaks of eczema on the neck. While there is no cure for healing eczema, eczema treatments are available to help manage symptoms, improve quality of life, and boost natural immunity. Research is ongoing to understand the underlying causes better to develop new treatments for eczema.
What Causes an Eczema Flare-up?
Eczema flare-ups are common for those suffering from this chronic skin condition. Flare-ups are characterized by sudden symptoms, such as intense itching, redness, and inflammation . Although the exact cause of eczema flare-ups is not fully understood, research has identified several triggers that may contribute to them. Some common triggers include stress, certain foods, environmental factors such as cold weather or exposure to irritants, and hormonal changes .
While eczema is not an autoimmune disease, immune system dysregulation can leave individuals prone to more frequent flare-ups . Even more severe is the fact that a flare-up can harm the immune system further as a weak skin barrier leaves one susceptible to developing other skin conditions or infections .
While it is essential to identify your personal triggers and take steps to avoid or minimize them to help prevent flare-ups, it can be challenging to live this way. While using prescribed medications as directed by your healthcare provider may help reduce the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups, many individuals are not finding solace in any conventional treatments.
How to Treat Eczema Without Using a Steroid Cream?
Although steroid creams are a standard treatment for eczema, some people may prefer to avoid using them due to potential side effects, such as thinning of the skin and acne . Additionally, those who need steroid creams to manage their eczema will likely have to take them long-term, increasing the incidence of side effects.
Fortunately, there are several alternative treatment options available for eczema that do not involve steroid creams. Some of these options include moisturizing regularly with fragrance-free products, using over-the-counter topical creams containing ingredients such as colloidal oatmeal, taking warm (not hot) baths with added oatmeal or baking soda, and avoiding known triggers such as harsh soaps and detergents .
It is important to note that while these alternative treatments may be effective for some individuals, they are only temporary solutions to relieving itch for many. Often, skin conditions must be treated from the inside, and one way in which we can do this is through the use of healing mushrooms.
What’s the Science Behind Functional Mushroom Benefits for the Skin?
Functional mushrooms, also known as medicinal mushrooms, have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their numerous health benefits. Recent research has shown that certain functional mushrooms, such as Reishi, Tremella, and Chaga, contain compounds that may benefit the skin. These mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and help support the immune system.
Functional mushrooms are also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the skin against damage from free radicals and promote overall skin health. Some functional mushrooms may also stimulate collagen production, which can help improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits of the best mushrooms for the skin, incorporating them into your diet or skincare routine may be a promising way to support skin health.
The Best Functional Mushrooms for Eczema
Tremella Mushroom Benefits for Skin
Tremella fuciformis, also known as Snow Fungus, is commonly associated with improving skin health due to its hydrating and antioxidant abilities. This functional mushroom has been used for thousands of years in China for its benefits on skin, immunity, and prevention of disease . Recent research has focused on Tremella’s actions of inflammatory modulation, promoting wound healing, antioxidation, anti-aging, and anti-radiation . Even in topical skincare and cosmetics, Tremella polysaccharides are often used as moisturizing additives .
Aside from providing hydration and anti-aging effects on the skin, Tremella has also exhibited a role in treating eczema . Research on Tremella has illustrated its ability to beneficially regulate the immune response and gut microbiota beneficially, improving the signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis . Both topical and oral routes of administration showed improvement in transdermal water loss, epidermal thickening, and swelling, but the oral form showed significantly better efficacy than just topical applications .
Chaga Benefits for Skin
In eczema, itch or pruritus is one of the primary features of the condition . One of the most potent itch mediators is known as histamine, and increased histamine releases in those with atopic dermatitis have been found . Furthermore, elevated histamine levels have been found in the plasma and skin of patients suffering from acute flare-ups of eczematous lesions . Specifically, histamine-induced inflammation can disrupt junctional integrity, affecting skin integrity [7,8].
One study found that Chaga mushroom was able to lessen histamine-induced inflammation, meaning that this mushroom extract may assist in calming skin inflammation and sensitivities and offer the skin some resilience against environmental triggers in eczema .
Chaga also contains high levels of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are natural cell wall polysaccharides found in fungi identified as biological response modifiers as they possess many biological activities that can modulate the immune system . In dermatology, beta-glucans have been recognized for improving wound healing due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, rejuvenating, and regenerative effects .
Reishi Mushroom Benefits for Skin
Reishi mushroom extracts of polysaccharides and ganoderic acids are the primary functional metabolites of the mushroom, possessing the most potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions . The use of Reishi extracts has illustrated improvements in skin wound healing and mitigation of infections, and its anti-inflammatory functions have proven effective in atopic dermatitis and cutaneous sarcoidosis .
Oxidative status has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many chronic inflammatory conditions, including atopic dermatitis . Studies have found that oxidative stress may play a significant role in atopic dermatitis, although the exact mechanism of action is not well understood . Medicinal mushrooms are a substantial source of antioxidants that can assist in preventing the development of oxidative stress.
Are There Any Side Effects of Taking Functional Mushrooms for Eczema?
While functional mushrooms have been shown to provide potential benefits for eczema and overall health, there may be some possible side effects associated with their use. As with many supplements, individuals may experience digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or stomach upset when consuming functional mushrooms. Additionally, some individuals may have an allergic reaction to certain types of mushrooms, which can cause symptoms such as hives or itching.
It is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential side effects of functional mushrooms for eczema and other conditions. Still, currently, little evidence exists that medicinal mushrooms commonly cause side effects. It is also important to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating functional mushrooms into your diet or skincare routine if you are concerned.
How to Add Functional Mushrooms to Your Routine to Treat Eczema
Functional mushroom capsules can be incorporated into any part of your daily routine. The mushroom extract capsules can easily be added to your morning coffees or overnight oats. Those who don’t mind consuming the capsules can take them each morning with breakfast. If you want more recipes, look at the “Recipes” page on Eversio Wellness’ website.
Where to Buy Functional Mushrooms for Eczema?
Although the market for functional mushrooms is broad, it is essential to be mindful of what is inside the products you are buying. If you find the words “full spectrum,” “mycelial biomass,” or “extracellular compounds” on the label, this means the product is made with the substrate the mushrooms are grown on, adding filler into your product. With eczema, it is important to purchase high-quality mushrooms that do not contain grain or dairy substrates.
As for mushrooms in Canada, Eversio Wellness carries 100% fruiting body only mushroom extracts, and they consistently practice transparency to their consumers by sharing the COAs (Certificate of Analysis) of each product. The COAs reassure consumers that the percentage of compounds claimed to be in the products is scientifically confirmed through lab testing. Eversio Wellness also tests the heavy metal and microbial contents to ensure your mushroom product is safe. There is no better time than now to buy mushrooms online!
We hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below!
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