Share This Article
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by red, itchy, scaly rashes. While eczema can occur anywhere on the body, it most often appears in areas where moisture accumulates, such as the insides of elbows and behind the knees. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but a family history of allergies or asthma does not increase your risk of developing the disorder, unlike many other conditions. Researchers suggest that factors such as dry skin and exposure to environmental irritants may play a role in triggering an outbreak of eczema.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a term that describes several types of skin conditions. The most common form of eczema, atopic dermatitis, causes itchy rashes on different body parts. It can include the face, elbows and knees, back of the neck, insides of wrists or ankles, behind the knees, and in front of the ankles. Eczema can affect people at any age, but it tends to be more common in infants.
What causes eczema?
There are several potential causes for eczema. However, researchers still do not know precisely what causes it. Some suggested factors that contribute to triggering an outbreak of eczema include:
- Dry skin: Dry skin can cause the skin to become more cracked and irritated, leading to eczema outbreaks. Most cases of eczema are worst during the winter months or other times when humidity levels are deficient.
- Allergies: Eczema is often triggered by allergies such as pollen, certain foods, dyes in clothing, soaps, perfumes, and cigarette smoke. When an allergy occurs, along with a case of eczema, it is known as atopic dermatitis. Allergens that trigger an outbreak may vary from person to person, but those who have similar triggers should try to avoid those allergic triggers as much as possible.
- Exposure to environmental irritants: Researchers have suggested that exposure to certain environmental pollutants such as those present in water, paints, and household cleaners may trigger a case of eczema.
- Psychological factors: Emotional stress may play a role for some people with eczema. In sporadic cases, emotional stress can cause a person to suddenly break out into an itchy rash all over the body, known as dermatographic urticaria.
- Family history of allergies or asthma: It has been shown that people who have family members with allergies or asthma are at a higher risk for developing eczema. Researchers believe that the condition may be triggered by environmental factors, which run in families.
- Age: Eczema typically begins shortly after birth, and it often improves during the first year of life. However, between one-third and one-half of affected children may continue to
experience symptoms during childhood.
- Stressful life events: Some people find that their symptoms worsen during times of stress, such as during an exam or divorce. However, no scientific evidence has proven this to be the case.
- Genetics: Research has suggested that there is a genetic component for eczema. However, no specific genes have been identified as triggering eczema. While you can inherit certain traits that may make you more likely to develop the condition, a family history of allergies or asthma is not a risk factor.
What are the types and symptoms of eczema?
The symptoms of eczema vary depending on the type you have. However, they all share one common symptom in that itchy rashes characterize them. Some types of eczema may also cause blisters or swelling in addition to the itching experienced.
- Allergic contact dermatitis- This condition is considered a form of irritant dermatitis, resulting in an allergen or irritant that causes your skin to become red and swollen. It can be caused by exposure to allergens such as poison ivy, nickel (found in metal earrings), bleach, and cosmetics. The reaction occurs soon after exposure and usually develops within 12 hours but sometimes takes up to 48 hours for full symptoms to appear.
- Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema and can affect people at any age. However, it usually starts during infancy and may clear up and return several times throughout life. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis include redness, dry, scaly skin that may be painful, weepy, or have tiny blisters.
- Contact dermatitis – This condition occurs when contact with an allergen or irritant causes your skin to become red and swollen, as seen in allergic contact dermatitis. In addition to being triggered by allergens such as poison ivy, nickel (found in metal earrings), and cosmetics, this type of eczema can also be caused by exposure to irritants such as household cleaners, soap, and water. The redness and itching typically develop within hours of exposure to the irritant or allergen, but sometimes it takes up to 48 hours for full symptoms to appear.
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis– This type of eczema is characterized by small blisters on your hands and feet, which are often weepy and surrounded by tiny red bumps. This condition is very itchy and can cause your hands and feet to swell, crack and bleed.
- Nummular dermatitis– This type of eczema causes one or more coin-shaped patches on the skin, which are often intensely itchy and dry with a leathery appearance. The center of the patch may be pale or dark brown, and scaling may occur. The patches often get bigger and eventually burst open to leave a crusty scab.
- Seborrheic dermatitis– This condition can affect many areas of your body, including your head, face, and upper chest, where skin cells rapidly die and accumulate. Common symptoms include flaky, yellowish scales on the scalp, redness, and itching, especially behind the ears or in the eyebrows.
Can you catch eczema?
No, eczema is not contagious. However, if you have any allergies that may trigger an eczema outbreak, it will be more likely to occur in someone who has the same allergies as you. Additionally, close family members with similar triggers may develop eczema after repeated exposure or at around the same time that another family member experiences an attack.
What is the treatment for eczema?
The treatment for all types of eczema will depend on the style you have. However, most forms of this condition do not require immediate care and can be treated at home with over-the-counter medications. If your symptoms are extreme or do not improve within a week or two, contact your doctor for further instructions.
- Antihistamine: This medication is used to reduce the itching and swelling of your skin.
- Corticosteroids: These are applied topically on your skin can help relieve inflammation, redness, and itching.
- Moisturizers: Applying moisturizers daily will keep your skin hydrated by trapping water in its outermost layer. There are many different types of moisturizers that work best for treating eczema, depending on the severity of your condition. Some people may need to use advanced formulations which contain ingredients such as petroleum jelly or Cetaphil cream before applying their regular brand.
- Phototherapy (light therapy): Phototherapy involves exposing affected areas of your body to ultraviolet light waves under controlled conditions in a doctor’s office or particular facility. Two main types of phototherapies are used to treat eczema — psoralen with ultraviolet A (PUVA) and narrowband UVB light therapy.
- Prescription medications: These can include topical immunomodulatory immune, systemic system suppressors, or oral corticosteroids.
Is there anything I can do at home to ease my symptoms?
Yes, you can take steps at home to reduce your symptoms by avoiding:
- Irritants: The way your skin responds to irritants will often depend on the type of eczema you have. As a general rule, it is advisable to reduce or avoid exposure to harsh soaps and detergents, including laundry detergent, dish soap, and bubble baths. It would help showered less frequently in lukewarm water instead of boiling water and wear loose clothing made from natural materials.
- Allergens: In addition to allergens that may cause an outbreak of eczema, you should try to identify any items in your environment that trigger an attack when you come into contact with them. Some common triggers include the following: Poison ivy nickel in metal earrings, wool carpets
- Dry environment: Symptoms of eczema are often aggravated in dry weather when your skin dries out. To increase humidity around you, try to use a humidifier in your bedroom, especially during the winter months
- Stress: Your emotional health can also affect your skin, with numerous studies showing that stress can cause flare-ups of eczema
- Exercise: Exercising regularly is very beneficial for the overall health of your body, including your skin. However, if you have eczema or any other physical condition that causes itchy or red patches, avoid strenuous activity until they subside.
- Diet: There is no link between diet and eczema. However, if you have any allergies that may trigger an attack, it would be beneficial to avoid eating whatever triggers the reaction.
How can you reduce eczema flare-ups?
Here are a few ways to prevent eczema flare-ups and manage symptoms:
- Keep your nails short so that you are less likely to scratch.
- Avoid scratching affected areas of skin by using an anti-itch cream or ointment that contains menthol, pramoxine hydrochloride, capsaicin hydrogel, or lidocaine
- Drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals.
- To relieve the itchiness try taking a warm bath with oatmeal or baking soda. You can also use cool compresses soaked in chamomile tea
- Use moisturizers regularly, especially after bathing when water evaporates from your skin.
- Dress for comfort, avoiding tight clothes and synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester as they may exacerbate symptoms more than cotton or wool.
- Use gentle soaps that are fragrance-free and moisturizing when you do shower. Avoid frequent bathing, especially in sensitive areas of your skin.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun as exposure can cause irritation and dryness
- Take oral supplements including flaxseed oil, fish oils, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, vitamins A, C, and E
- Always wear gloves while washing dishes or scrubbing floors. If possible, wear cotton gloves over them for extra protection.
- Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Exercise regularly but avoid prolonged physical activity when your symptoms are at their peak during an outbreak.
- Use sunscreen outdoors to prevent further damage and move away from direct sunlight whenever possible.
- Avoid stress as much as you can by meditating or doing breathing exercises. You can also consult a therapist if needed for help with relaxation techniques.
- Visit a dermatologist if the above remedies do not help improve your condition or if you have continuous eczema outbreaks. You can also consider visiting a homeopahty doctor for eczema.
Homeopathic treatment for eczema:
Homeopathy is very effective in treating eczema and speeding up the healing process. Homeopathic treatment for eczema aims to stimulate the body’s natural healing process by using remedies made from natural substances derived from plants, minerals, and animals. Homeopathic treatment for eczema has also proven to be very effective in treating infants and children with the condition.
Homeopathy doctors treat eczema by prescribing the correct remedy based on the specific symptoms exhibited by you. The treatments are natural and do not come with any side effects, making them safe to use without harming your immune system even when used alone or in combination with conventional therapies like steroid creams.
Effective homeopathic remedies for eczema include:
- ApisMellifica –This remedy is made from honey bees and is very effective for treating hives accompanied by severe itching.
- Arsenicum Album is effective for treating dry, itchy skin that worsens at night, followed by peeling skin over the next few days. The skin may also feel hot at times. Symptoms improve after exposure to cold water.
- Graphites – Useful for treating itchy skin accompanied by dryness and cracking. Itching is worse at night and maybe so severe as to wake up the person from sleep. Symptoms improve just before stormy weather. Graphites also come under the same category as Sulphur which means that these two remedies effectively treat similar symptoms.
- Sulphur –Suitable for people who sweat profusely even during cold weather, such as those with hot and humid climates. The skin feels better after going out in the sun but worsens exposure to cold conditions like a draft or an air-conditioned room. Skin gets dry and flaky during winters while becoming inflamed and itchy during summers.
- Sepia – Effective remedy for treating dry and inflamed skin with occasional itching. Skin gets worse after exposure to hot or spicy food and after scratching it. Symptoms improve in a relaxed environment and just before the onset of a period.
You can visit a homeopathy doctor for eczema to identify the correct remedy based on your complete case history and symptoms to get quick relief from eczema. You can book an appointment through OHO Homeopathy now!