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Eczema is a highly inflammatory disease that affects the skin. It is most often seen in children but can also affect adults. Eczema is a prevalent condition in India. Many people suffer from different types of eczema. These are the
- Atopic Eczema
- Contact Eczema
- Dyshidrotic eczema
Let’s discuss each type in detail:
Atopic eczema is a complex disease that causes inflammation of the skin, which can cause dryness and itchiness. The cause of atopic eczema is not known, but it’s often associated with certain factors like family history, allergies, stress, etc.
Redness on the skin Scaling Dry skin Itching Thickening of skin Fissures Cracks Dark spots Loss of elasticity.
There are so many over-the-counter creams available in the market that claim to treat eczema. These may work for some people; however, one should consult their doctor before using any cream or lotion for their condition. Some doctors suggest using natural remedies like bath additives like oatmeal, coconut oil, etc., for treating eczema.
It is a skin condition that develops as a reaction to a substance or item coming in contact with the skin. This may be caused due to irritants like nickel, certain chemicals commonly found in soaps and detergents, etc.
Symptoms of contact dermatitis
It includes dryness, swelling, redness, and pain in the affected area. Soap can cause contact dermatitis most commonly, but it can also be caused by cosmetics such as perfume and hair products.
Like atopic eczema, this too has OTC creams available; one should consult their doctor before using any cream or lotion for their condition if they suspect they have contact dermatitis.
This type of eczema causes small, symmetrical blisters on the hands and feet. The name “dyshidrotic” is Greek for “bad sweating.” It can also cause itching, stinging, redness, and peeling of the skin. Dyshidrotic isn’t contagious and doesn’t damage the skin or joints like other hand and foot eczema types.
Clusters of fluid-filled blisters Cracked skin Thickening Overlying skin redness itchy, burning sensation Tiny white bumps between hair follicles This condition usually affects your palms, soles, or both hands and feet. It tends to run in families and may be triggered by anything that irritates the skin, such as tight shoes or sweaty socks. Stress can also make dyshidrotic eczema worse for some people.
It’s important not to pick at your blisters because this can cause infection and scarring. Treatment involves medications applied to the skin, as well as medications taken by mouth. In addition, moisturizers may help keep your skin from feeling dry and tight, which can also lead to cracks that provide a place where bacteria could enter and cause an infection. Dyshidrotic eczema is treated with topical steroids or oral anti-inflammatory medications.
What causes eczema:
- Allergies/irritants (detergents, cosmetics, certain foods or beverages like nuts, milk, or caffeine)
- Hormonal changes
- Injuries to the skin
- Infections of the skin such as staphylococcus aureus and herpes simplex virus type.
- Genetic factors that play a role in triggering atopic dermatitis include mutations in genes called filaggrin.
- Eczema may also be triggered by respiratory tract infections, especially those that are very severe or last long.
- Genetic factors account for about 70% of eczema risk. Less common triggers include allergies, environmental irritants, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and certain medications such as beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors to treat high blood pressure or heart conditions.
Eczema is mainly caused due to allergies and stress. Specific allergies can also cause contact dermatitis, while dyshidrotic eczema causes blisters on palms and soles of feet, which may be very painful, especially while walking or running etc.
How are these types of eczema diagnosed?
Symptoms are often enough to diagnose most types of eczema. A dermatologist can confirm the diagnosis by doing a
Skin biopsy: A small piece of skin is removed and looked at under a microscope.
Patch test: A small piece of tape is used to stick down the suspected allergen, then stick to your skin for 48 hours so it can get absorbed by your skin.
Skin scraping: A dermatologist may scrape off some layers of skin cells onto a microscope slide or KOH exam, which will determine if there is yeast or fungus on the skin.
Eczema Treatment: The main types of treatment include healthy lifestyle changes, medications, and remedies that can help ease symptoms and
When to visit a doctor for eczema:
People who have moderate to severe eczema should visit their doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
If your condition is flaring up frequently, if it’s covering a large area of your body, or if it’s bothering you through the day or night can mean an increased risk of infections. Also, having eczema triggers like soaps and swimming pools could increase the risk for illness too. For mild cases, you can see a dermatologist at any time but especially when:
1) Flare-ups are affecting your daily life, e.g., cause itching that lasts all day long, stop you from sleeping, or affects your work performance.
2) You notice thickened skin.
3) Your nails are affected.
4) You’re self-conscious about visible bumps on your skin.
5) You’ve developed a secondary infection.
6) You experience increased redness despite treatment.
7) Your eczema affects your face, especially the eyelids.
8) The itching is affecting your joints – you may have arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, which are conditions separate from eczema that needs to be treated too.
Ten tips for preventing eczema:
1) Keep your skin moisturized: For most people with eczema, moisturization is an essential part of their treatment plan. It helps to improve the condition of their skin and makes it more resistant to allergens and irritants.
2) Add probiotics to your diet: The benefits of taking probiotics for various conditions have been proven repeatedly. If you have eczema, you should consider adding probiotics into your diet, as research shows that consumption of certain strains can help heal eczema-related symptoms without leading to any side effects.
3) Avoid scratching at all costs: Scratching will only lead to prolonged eczema flares and can even lead to infections too. Scratching for long periods also leads to the development of thick, dark patches on the skin – a condition called lichenification.
4) Cut down dairy intake: Many people with eczema may experience a worsening of their symptoms in case they consume dairy products. If you’ve been diagnosed with lactose intolerance or have observed that consuming dairy leads to flare-ups, then you should cut down your intake of such foods.
5) Have a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids: People who have a deficiency of omega-3 fat are more prone to developing atopic dermatitis conditions, including eczema. Omega 3 fats help fight inflammation which is one of the main reasons people suffer from eczema-related symptoms. Consuming foods that are rich sources of omega-three fats such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and salmon can help to improve eczema symptoms.
6) Avoid certain food items: Foods such as eggs, soy products, peanuts, and wheat are common allergens that trigger eczema flares. You should try to avoid or limit your intake of these foods if you suffer from this condition.
7) Never get exposed to harsh soaps: People with eczema often have dry and sensitive skin. Using harsh soaps or cleansers on the skin will only make their condition worse. Stick to gentle washes and mild cleansers while bathing instead of opting for more robust products available in the market.
8) Moderate your drinking habits: Excessive alcohol consumption exacerbates eczema conditions and leads to flare-ups. You should try to limit your alcohol intake if you suffer from eczema symptoms.
9) Which is better – cotton or wool: People with eczema must be cautious about the type of clothing they choose to wear. While most people prefer wearing loose-fitting, natural fibers such as cotton and linen, some prefer wool clothes. They need to be aware that harsh fabrics like wool can cause their symptoms to flare up. Soft fabrics like cotton are much more suitable for them in this case.
10)Keep your stress levels down because this could affect your immune system, protecting you against diseases like eczema. Try meditation, yoga, and listening to music as these activities will reduce stress and feel good, e.g., meditation gives a sense of calmness and relaxation. In contrast, yoga helps exercise, release endorphins, aid sleep, and music can be an easy and fun way to de-stress depending on what you like.
What are the natural treatments available for eczema?
Apart from taking prescribed medications, there are also several natural remedies for eczema that may help you treat the condition without causing any side effects. Here are some of the best natural treatments available for eczema.
1) Aloe Vera: This plant has moisturizing and soothing properties, making it effective in treating various skin conditions, including eczema. All you need to do is topically apply aloe vera gel to your affected areas. It would help if you did this at least twice a day until the symptoms subside completely.
2) Vitamin E capsules: You can break open vitamin E capsules and use their contents for massaging your affected areas. This will improve blood circulation and supply essential nutrients to your skin cells, thereby fighting eczema symptoms.
3) cold compress: Applying cold compresses to your skin may be quite effective in reducing inflammation and swelling, thereby preventing the breakout of new patches. You can either use ice cubes or crushed ice for this purpose.
4) Tea tree oil: This essential oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that greatly help treat various dermatological conditions, including eczema. All you need to do is dilute tea tree oil with grapeseed or olive oil and then topically apply it to your affected areas.
5) Baking soda baths: If you are looking for an easy way to soothe itching, baking soda baths may be just what you need. Add two cups of baking soda to your bathwater and mix it well so that your whole body gets adequately soaked in the water. You can do this at least thrice a week to help relieve eczema symptoms.
6) Oats: Scratching is one of the most common ways through which skin conditions like eczema worsen. But, oatmeal contains enzymes like avenanthramide and phenols, which can block these scratch reflexes and work as anti-irritants that help reduce inflammation, itching, and pain associated with eczema. You can prepare an oatmeal bath by adding 2 cups of oats to warm bath water and allow yourself to soak for about half an hour every day.
7) Coconut oil: This oil has strong antioxidant properties to help soothe dry and itchy skin. It also contains medium-chain fatty acids that can help improve your skin condition by fighting off bacteria. You can either apply a thin layer of coconut oil on your affected areas or drink two tablespoons of coconut oil daily to get quick relief from eczema symptoms.
8) Almond oil: This oil has powerful moisturizing properties that can help treat dry and flaky skin. It also contains vitamin E and proteins that help reduce itching and inflammation associated with eczema. You can apply a small amount of almond oil to your affected areas after diluting it well with sesame or grapeseed oil.
9) Vitamin D supplements: Even though eczema is often termed an inflammatory condition, vitamin D deficiency may even trigger such problems in some individuals. Therefore, if you are dealing with this issue, all you need to do is take prescribed doses of vitamin D supplements daily to improve blood circulation and strengthen the immune system so that your body fights eczema symptoms more quickly.
10) Homeopathic treatment for eczema: If you are looking for a natural treatment for eczema, homeopathy can help. Several remedies are available in this form of medicine that can effectively fight all the three main types of eczema, including contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and nummular eczema.
Homeopathic treatment for eczema is generally very safe, side-effect-free, and also quite effective. You can either go for individualized homeopathic remedies or follow a combination treatment plan to get quick relief from these skin conditions. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy for more information.