What is Eczema?
Eczema is a term used for skin conditions that make it irritated, inflamed, red, itchy, cracked. Some patients also have blisters. So in simple words it is a group of medical conditions which in can appear on patient’s skin may be one or more than. According to scientific research there are different types of this disease the most common type is atopic eczema or atop dermatitis. Eczema is another disease affecting a big slice of US population. In this article we will explore this skin condition from different angles such Eczema Symptoms, Eczema Causes and Home Remedies for Atopic dermatitis.
Who Gets Eczema?
The simple answer to this question is that anyone can be affected by this skin disease. In most cases it starts when someone is baby/child, it can influence men and women, young and old so it is not gender or age specific but as we mentioned it is more common in early ages and then continues throughout the sufferer’s rest of life.
In children and babies eczema normally appears as dry red patches on legs, forearms, neck, scalp, forehead and cheeks. The good news is for majority of children their eczema condition progressively eases with passage of time as they grow. So in many of the sufferers of this disease in their childhood will have no problems when they become adults.
There are the cases when a patient is cleared when there is a flare-up of eczema, as there are many triggers of this disease such as environment, food etc. In adults its symptoms include dry red skin normally found on the inside of patient’s knees, elbow and with low occurrence on the ankles. The adult eczema can show many of the symptoms normally exit in childhood eczema. As the main sufferers of this disease is children for whom it is very difficult not to scratch when compared to youngsters, adults and old people which resulting in break of skin can cause other things such as infection as well as broken skin such warts.
It a chronic skin condition there is not cure for eczema in medical sciences but there plenty of measures with help of which a sufferer can greatly curtail the life disturbing effects of this disease.
Types of Eczema
Eczema has more than one type and medical professionals say that each of them have different causes. So it is important to properly analyze and diagnose the type and then move on to healing process. The cause of eczema mainly depends on the specific condition the sufferer lives in. Once you physician diagnosed the type of disease then it is easy to identify the causes of it very easily. The main types of eczema include;
The most common type of this disease is atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is hereditary condition and for this reason it is also called infantile eczema as it is most commonly seen in children. In case one parent of a child is eczema sufferer or suffering from hay fever which is the strongest indicator of this disease or having asthma then there is high probability of eczema occurrence. In most sever case if both of the parents of a child having eczema then there is 80% chance of child might also be sufferer.
So if you kid is suffering from atopic eczema then there is highest chance of this condition is due to your child immune system overreaction to external stimuli such as dust, pollen, animal hair, mites leading to inflamed, irritated and itchy skin.
Atopic eczema sufferer exhibits most of the condition of eczema such as itchy red lesions on the heat, face, scalp, neck as well as the flexor areas of the body also. In case these lesions severely scratched then there is chance of bleeding skin. This bleeding skin can result in infections. Besides of skin infection there is also a problem associated with sever scratch that the sufferer scratches the skin to the extent that it become leathery, tough and hard.
The good news is that despite of the above-mentioned skin issues resulting from atopic eczema there is no special medical problem associated with it. But in case the skin is broken and infections find its way inside the body then results might be different.
As obvious from its name this eczema is caused by contact with irritants. This type of this skin condition can be further classified into two types;
- Quick Irritation/ irritant contact dermatitis; in this case of eczema the sufferer feels an urgent irritation after exposure to chemical substance. Majority of all contact dermatitis are irritant contributing to 75% of this contact dermatitis. This type is normally found in people working in heavy chemical production industry, Iron smelting and it is also very common in industrialized western countries. Another astonishing fact is that people who have no family history or track record of contact dermatitis also suffers from it if expose to this environment.
- The second form of contact dermatitis is called allergen contact dermatitis. It different from irritant contact dermatitis as here the sufferer feels delay reaction to previous contact with an allergen such as pollen, poison ivy and more.
Furthermore these two conditions are not mutually exclusive. So a sufferer can have both these two types of dermatitis at same time mainly depending on individual’s immune system.
This type of eczema is not common, main symptoms of it are dry skin (often seasonal) that has developed so dry and cracked that the tell-tale lesions of eczema begin to develop. This skin condition is common in older people. The main body areas it affects include; limbs and chest.
Less Common Types of Eczema;-
Dyshidrosis:- this only affects sufferer’s palms, feet’s soles and side of fingers. The main symptoms of this condition is tiny bumps called vesicules & skin cracks, mainly disturb the patient during night time. This is the rare form of eczema when compared to atop or contact dermatitis. This is the most common hand eczema which deteriorates when the weather gets warmer.
This form of eczema gets worse in winter, the common symptoms of it is round red lesions normally found on the lower leg which in nature or either extremely oozing or excessively dry.
This Neurodermatitis – scaly patches of skin on forearms, head, wrists, and lower legs because of localized stimulus such as an insect bite. The cure for this eczema condition is easy and straightforward; stop scratching and the condition goes away on its own wish!
This eczema is usually found in people with impaired blood circulation. Majority of victims of it is people with age over 50 years. The main symptoms of it include dark, scaly patch of intensely itchy skin found in the ankle area. This eczema type is not dangerous itself but in some cases it can develop into painful leg ulcers. So in case you falls in the right age group and see dark itchy patches of skin around your ankles then quick medical checkup is necessary.
Major Causes of Eczema:-
There is no specific medically proved cause of eczema. But environmental and hereditary factors play important role in its development. As mentioned earlier if both parents of a child have atopic dermatitis then there is 80% chance of its occurrence. While contact dermatitis is mainly influenced by environmental factors such as working in chemical intensive environment. Major triggers of this skin condition include;
Wheat Base Products;-
Foods contain wheat such as biscuits, breeds, pretzels are usually rich in gluten. Gluten is one of the major culprits causes eczema flare-up. So it is important to remove and reduce the quantity of these foods from your daily routine for a period of time. Beverages for example beer and root beer contain grain as well as yeast, so the formula is almost the same as of breeds. Yeast is a fungus so you can remove yeast base products from your daily for time being to see its effects on your eczema’s condition.
Dairy Products and Eggs:-
Dairy products such as milk as well as food contains milk such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream, processed food consist of milk pastries, chocolates should be avoided as dairy products are believed a major contributor to eczema breakup. Similarly eggs and foods contain eggs such as cakes should be avoided.
Fish and Seafood:-
Oily-fish such as trout, tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are considered to causing eczema flare-ups. Despite of the fact oil-fish carries high level of omega-3 fatty acids an excellent formula for beating cancer, depression and heart disease. But these fatty acids can flare-up eczema. But there is no hard and fast rule as we know that fatty acids play role important in healing inflammation in any part of body. As eczema is skin inflammation so fatty-acids can play its role in healing it. So its efficacy and adverse effects vary from patient to patient.
Acidic foods such as currants, blueberries and cranberries and other foods belonged to this category can trigger eczema conditions.
Canned and Preserved Foods:-
Canned and preserved foods carry high level of artificial colors, additives and preservatives can trigger your body system to generating stimulus for eczema flare-ups.
As an example, substances like monosodium glutamate, tartrazine, and sodium benzoate all these substances are accelerating and irritating your immune system to the degree that you suffer a flare-up of eczema. As in these food preservatives are commonly used.
Nuts and Dry fruits:-
Dry fruits such as pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, cushion nuts and walnuts have the ability to make eczema far worse if they are included in your daily diet.
Such as pets hair, dust mites, mold and dandruff
In pregnancy and menstrual cycle hormone fluctuations.
>> Allergy testing to establish what causes eczema:-<<
As we know the most common causes of eczema is the fact that a particular person specifically vulnerable to certain allergens for example pet hair, tree pollen etc. Similarly some people are allergic certain foods which can flare-up eczema.
So by identifying the eczema triggers you can easily diagnose the causes of your disease and then explore the ways to kick out its effects on your life.
Another way is to do some medical skin allergy tests. An allergy test is not only a best option for highlighting those chemicals or foodstuffs in food that you react against but it will also highlight any non-dietary aspects that might be causing your eczema, such as an allergy pets’ hair, dust mites, chemicals found in strong detergents and soap and tobacco smoke…
Medical Treatments for Eczema
The medical diagnosis of this skin disease is the analysis of patient’s skin, his personal as well as family history. But there other skin’s conditions as well with similar attributes to eczema such as psoriasis so for the sake of coming to right decision your physician needs to have to examine your skin’s lesions in order to rule out alternative problems. In some cases your physician may also need to carry out your skin’s lesion biopsy to get the real picture of your disease but in majority of cases this process is unnecessary.
After confirming that you are indeed suffering from eczema, you doctor will then recommend you different courses of action according to the severity of eczema condition. The main objective of treatment will be the same irrespective of what kind of course of actions and treatment they suggest. The treatment main objectives include;
- To curtail skin inflammation
- Reduce and control skin itching
- To decrease the outbreak of new lesions
- To loosen and then remove scaly skin lesions
- And the last but not the least to clear any infection already exists.
There are different courses of actions and strategies your physician may recommend, ranging from simple skin moisturizers use, using topical pharmaceuticals and even in sever situations they may suggest oral medications. So it varies from case to case.
The first medicine might be cream based on corticosteroids; it is steroid hormone which is naturally produced in human adrenal cortex. The topical cream or ointment basically based on corticosteroids is the first step for treating eczema. It is basically OTC (Over the Counter) medicine and in many Western countries are sold without any medical prescription. Being OTC it is obvious that cream is not strong. They have no side effects but due to its weak nature it is not effective when using in sever eczema condition.
In case your eczema situation is not improving with the above-mentioned corticosteroids mild OTC and deteriorating with passage of time then your physician may prescribe you stronger corticosteroids based cream, lotion.
It is accepted in medical community that long term usage of corticosteroids based cream, lotion etc. can have adverse effects on human body such as irreversible skin thinning. So if your doctor recommends corticosteroids based medicine then it will be for short period of time to avoid these risks.
The 3rd corticosteroids based solution for your eczema your physician suggests is in form of oral drug the famous names are prednisolone or prednisone. These medicines also have side effects which mainly depend on the strength of medicine you are using as well as the period of time. Widely recognized side effects of prednisolone include;
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Worsening of diabetes
- Growth retardation in children and psychic disturbances
So the best option is to avoid corticosteroid drugs. And if your physician suggests the long term use then discuss the issue with him.
Home Based Remedies for Eczema;-
For all those eczema sufferers who don’t have serious condition then it is quite possible that you can curtail the effects of eczema to acceptable level with help of home based treatments.
If you feel that your eczema flare-ups on exposure to pollen then the best solution is to avoid it; staying inside during summer or spring height when the pollen count is its peak.
Similarly if you know eating eggs, nuts or using dairy products cause problem then the best way to deal with eczema in this situation to avoid these foods.
In case your eczema condition main symptoms include dry skin then the effective way to get rid of it is to adopt method to keep your skin moisture and supple. For keeping your skin moist you need to cut your bath time and keep it as short possible and also using less amount of soap during bathing. Another step is to use natural organic moisturizers such as tea tree oil for the sake of keeping your skin moisture.
Another way to avoid skin dryness to use natural moisturizes such as olive or tree oil for optimum moisture locking. For more benefits from these moisturizers it is important to use them within three minutes after finishing bath. For further getting values from this you can wrap your dry skin areas you have applied moisturizer with plastic bags, this will keep your skin moist for long period of time.
If the above-mentioned natural moisturizers fail to work on your body which are effective for majority of eczema sufferers then you can use alternative moisturizes made from organic substances include;
Vitamin E Oil:-
Vitamin E oil is highly for keeping your skin hydrated while the same time promoting healing. This important moisturizer ensures to protect cell membrane while also enabling your body to use vitamin K and selenium. It also comes with antioxidant properties providing your skin another level of protection.
Vinca minor is basically a homoeopathic moisturizer, comes with excellent features for relieving the symptoms and effects of eczema such as sore, itchy skin. This product is effective for all eczema sufferers for eliminating this skin condition main effects such dryness and itchiness.
It is an aquatic plant and is being used as herbal remedy for centuries because of its amazing healing and skin rejuvenation capabilities. You can find moisturizers containing this herb, if not available then you can prepare your own moisturizers by getting this herb online and then infuse it into a mild unscented baby oil to prepare your own moisturizer.
It is another ancient plant comes with healing properties for treating damaged and dry skin so it is also excellent for curtailing the effects of eczema. In suspension form it is highly effective against skin inflammation while at same time soothing irritated tissue. It is similarly available in suspension or you can get it as herb then prepare your own solution.
Extreme Weather Conditions:-
Besides of the aforementioned causes of eczema another measure which can greatly reduce the outbreaks by avoiding extremes temperatures.