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Eczema, known as dermatitis, is a common skin disease that is caused by dry and itchy skin. It affects about 10% of people in the world who are above 18 years old. As two-third of this percentage also experience recurrence during adulthood, thus learning how to reduce itching and redness of eczema becomes crucial. Eczema is an immune system malfunction that causes an over-reaction to certain things. This can lead to redness, dryness, and irritation of the skin.
The leading causes for eczema include:
1) Genetic factors: About ten percent of children with at least one parent having an autoimmune disease (such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis) will develop eczema. The parents should look out for any signs such as allergies, asthma, or hay fever to avoid future complications.
2) Season changes: Air conditioning and central heating create dry skin, which leads to eczema. Staying in a tropical country for an extended period can either worsen your condition or lead to the development of eczema.
3) Environment: Allergens like Ayurvedic treatments, perfumes, and nickel can irritate the skin and contribute to dryness.
4) Stress: The stress hormone (cortisol) causes the blood vessels in the skin to narrow down, thus reducing water loss. This can cause dry and itchy skin that leads to eczema.
5) Diet: Malnutrition or an inadequate diet can also worsen your symptoms or even lead to the development of eczema.
6) Other factors: Pregnancy, asthma, infections like chickenpox, irritants like soaps, etc., can all contribute to the development of eczema.
Symptoms of eczema:
1) Red, dry and itchy skin
2) Swelling of the overlying areas like hands, feet, face, or wrists.
3) The weather changes are usually accompanied by an increase in symptoms.
4) Blisters on some part of the body that lead to crusting.
5) The condition worsens during winter months as humidity is low, leading to skin dryness.
How do skin doctors diagnose eczema?
1) The skin doctors may ask the patients to fill up a form to establish the symptoms and signs.
2) They will do a patch test to eliminate any allergies or irritants as a cause for eczema.
3) Sometimes, blood tests are required to rule out other infections like tuberculosis which can cause similar redness on the skin.
4) During the examination, your doctor will examine you carefully and look out for any areas of swelling, blisters, or crusts that might be present due to eczema. The dryness along with itching must be assessed too.
What is the treatment for eczema?
Topical treatment: Topical creams may be prescribed to soothe the skin. If you have a history of allergies, your doctor might prescribe anti-allergic medications and moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and supple.
Oral anti-inflammatory medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help with reducing inflammation and pain from eczema. Your family physician will first make a thorough examination to see if there are any underlying infections or other diseases which can contribute to eczema.
Oral corticosteroids: If the case is severe, oral steroids might be needed to relieve the skin from inflammation. Corticosteroid pills will help in reducing redness and swelling on the skin. Side effects of these medications include weight gain, increased risk of infection, and osteoporosis. To minimize this side effect, you must take additional calcium supplements along with vitamin D, which are essential for bone health.
Immunosuppressive medication: Your doctor may prescribe immunosuppressants that are used for eczema and other autoimmune diseases like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. These medications can often cause redness, headaches, drowsiness, etc., but you must follow the dosage strictly as prescribed by your family physician.
Light therapy: Ultraviolet B (UVB) light therapy is done in many patients with eczema. This treatment can help reduce inflammation and itching of the affected areas, but it must be used cautiously to avoid burns on the skin.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): High doses of intravenous gamma globulin are sometimes given to treat severe cases, which helps in reducing auto-antibodies that cause inflammation and swelling on the skin.
Alternative remedies: Although there isn’t enough evidence to support their use, some alternative treatments like oil massage, fish oil supplements, etc., might provide relief from symptoms of eczema.
These are the ways skin doctors can help to prevent itching. If you have a history of allergies, dermatitis, etc., you must consult your doctor as early as possible. Once your family physician has identified these conditions, the treatment will be more effective and reduce itching.
Various ways can help in reducing itching of eczema. The skin doctors will make a proper diagnosis of the condition after careful assessment of the patients with redness on their skin accompanied by dryness or blistering etc.,
Ways to prevent itching and redness due to eczema:
Dietary changes: There is still not enough scientific evidence to support this practice, but some people claim that nutritional changes like avoiding foods with high yeast content, alcohol, etc., can help reduce symptoms of eczema.
Moisturizing the skin: It is essential to moisturize your skin properly. It would help if you used unscented moisturizers, which come in different formulations to suit all types of eczema.
Avoiding exposure to allergens: If you are allergic to dust mites, pollen, or any other substance, you must identify that allergen and prevent disclosure to it to reduce symptoms like itching and redness on the skin.
Avoiding allergens: If the person has allergies to something in the environment that triggers an eczema attack, they must avoid them at all costs. If you are exposed to these allergens even for a little while, your skin might flare up again.
Treat infections: In some cases, eczema is triggered by infection. In these cases, antibiotics might be needed to treat the condition for effective treatment, which can also help in reducing itching from eczema.
Sunlight: Sunlight helps prevent skin cancer and psoriasis etc., but it can also help reduce symptoms caused by eczema, including redness and itching of the skin. So you must take a little sunlight per day if your doctor permits you. If you have sensitive skin, you must put on sunscreen lotion before going out into the sun.
Use Humidifier: You can keep a humidifier running in your house, which will increase the humidity and help reduce itching caused by eczema.
Reduce stress: Stress is one of the triggers of eczema, so any pressure must be reduced if you want to reduce symptoms like redness and itching of the skin.
These are some ways that can help you reduce itching and redness on the affected areas of their skin due to eczema. If there is still itching after trying these remedies for some time, then consult your family physician immediately before it gets worse.
What are the home remedies to prevent itching and redness of the skin?
- Use Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a natural healer and can cure almost anything of burns to acne. It also helps in reducing the redness of eczema-affected areas on the skin.
- Use coconut oil: Coconut oil contains specific anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation caused by eczema. Using a gentle massage with this oil after washing your body can help relax your muscles and relieve stress!
- Chamomile Tea: This herb works as an anti-fungal agent and has been proven to be quite effective in relieving itching from eczema-affected areas on the skin.
- Baking Soda Baths: Baking soda baths have been known to reduce various ailments, including psoriasis and eczema. It is an anti-microbial agent that can help reduce itching caused by rash or similar skin conditions. Soak in the bathtub with 3 cups of baking soda added to warm water for 20 minutes.
- Borax: This mineral works as a natural antiseptic and has been known to relieve itching from eczema-affected areas on the skin naturally. Borax also helps in reducing redness in the affected areas of your skin. Use this solution using borax- 2 tablespoons of borax, 1 cup of water, a mixture of both added to the bathtub along with hot water. Soak yourself in it for about 15 minutes at least twice every week!
- Reduce stress: Stress is one of the eczema triggers, so any pressure must be reduced. You can do this by practicing meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga if possible.
- Avoid dairy products: Dairy products can be a source of harmful bacteria in your stomach, so it’s better to avoid these entirely from your diet if you have been affected by eczema.
- Use Apple Cider Vinegar: This natural product has antifungal and antibacterial powers and effectively soothes the skin and reduces itching that occurs as part of an eczema outbreak. Apple Cider Vinegar helps improve immunity as well as skin texture at the same time.
- Honey: Honey can be an effective way of countering the redness caused by eczema. It helps neutralize the pH levels on your skin. It also has an anti-microbial property that calms down any bacterial cause for itchiness on your skin, thus reducing itching. Use this remedy by mixing a few drops of raw honey with little water to get a thick paste-like consistency and apply it all over the affected areas on the skin before going to bed at night. Wash it off with lukewarm water in the morning.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids is very important, so try to drink about 6-8 glasses of water or unsweetened juices daily if possible, to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed. And also, stay away from caffeine, soda, and other unnecessary beverages that can dehydrate you and irritate your skin, causing severe itching and redness!
- Use baby oil:It is very effective in curing itchiness and inflammation caused by eczema and has antifungal properties too! To use baby oil, apply a tiny amount to affected areas on your skin and allow it to settle down for about 20 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water. You can also put baby oil at the back of the affected areas where the rash or redness occurs after bathing or washing your body.
- Vitamin E oil: This oil has Vitamin E, and it is also said to be effective in reducing the redness of eczema-affected areas on the skin. Take vitamin e capsules, squeeze out the oil content, and apply it directly to the affected area. This remedy has been known to work for most people suffering from eczema!
- Apply essential oils: Essential oils such as lavender oil, tea tree oil, etc., have antiseptic properties and are known to reduce itching from eczema-affected areas on the skin. You can also massage your scalp with a few drops of lavender oil mixed in carrier oils like coconut or almond oil before going to bed at night to relieve stress and reduce itchiness caused by eczema. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your bathtub along with hot water before taking a bath.
Get Your Skin Checked! Visit a skin doctor for consultation. You can also consider homeopathic treatment to prevent itching and redness of eczema. A homeopathy doctor will help you to recover from eczema faster and more effectively. Even if you do all the remedies mentioned above for reducing itchiness and redness of eczema, always remember that prevention is much better than cure! So try to make your diet more natural, avoiding junk food much as possible. Wear cotton clothing instead of silk or polyester ones when outdoors. And keep yourself stress-free by practicing yoga or meditation before bedtime. All these will go a long way in preventing the occurrence of eczema on your skin.
Now that you have learned about the various ways of treating itchiness and redness caused by eczema, you can treat your skin at home without too much difficulty! Be sure to give your body the right kind of nutrients for better health and well-being. For more help and information, you can book an appointment with a homeopathy doctor through OHO Homeopathy.