What is Eczema?
Eczema is a chronic Skin Disease it is a term used for several different types of skin swelling. Eczema skin disease is also called dermatitis. It is not dangerous, but most types cause red, swollen and itchy skin. Factors that can cause eczema include other diseases, irritating substances, allergies and your genetic makeup. Eczema is not contagious.
Types of Eczema Skin Disease
There are many different types of eczema.
- Allergic Contact Eczema (Dermatitis) – A reaction where the skin has come into contact with a substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign
- Contact Eczema – A localized reaction where the skin has come into contact with an allergen
- Dyshidriotic Eczema – Irritation of skin on palms of hands and soles of feet, characterized by blisters
- Neurodermatitis – Scaly patches of skin on head, forearms, wrists, lower legs caused by localized itch such as an insect bite
- Nummular eczema – Circular patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaling and itchy
- Seborrheic Eczema – Oily, scaly yellowish patches of skin, usually on scalp and face
- Stasis Dermatitis – skin irritation on lower legs, usually related to circulatory problems.
- Atopic Dermatitis – It is a chronic skin condition that commonly starts during infancy and continues through into childhood. Some people outgrow the condition while some people will continue to have it into adulthood.
The most common type of eczema is Atopic Dermatitis. It is an allergic condition that makes your skin dry and itchy. It is most common in babies and children.
Causes of Eczema Skin Disease
There is no single cause of eczema. It probably has a mixture of inherited and environmental causes that act together at different times.
Typically, eczema appears as:-
- Patches of chronically itchy, dry, thickened skin, usually on the hands, neck, face, and legs (but it can occur anywhere). In children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often involved.
- If scratched, dry patches of skin and open sores with crusts may develop and may get infected.
Eczema symptoms include itchy, red, and dry skin caused by inflammation. During a flare-up, your skin may become:-
- Extremely itchy, red, hot, dry and scaly
- Wet, weeping and swollen
- Infected with bacteria (usually Staphylococcus aureus)
Medications used to treat atopic eczema most commonly include:-
- Eczema Crème. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or ointment may help mild eczema. Prescription steroid cream may be needed for more severe eczema.
- Emollients – used all the time for dry skin
- Topical Corticosteroids – used to reduce swelling and redness during flare-ups
- As long as the eczema is not infected, certain dressings or bandages known as dry wraps, wet wraps and occlusive dressings may also be applied by a healthcare professional.
Other medicines used to ease the symptoms of eczema include:
- Antihistamines for severe itching
- Oral corticosteroids for severe symptoms
- Antibiotics for infected eczema
- Topical immunosuppresants, which reduce or suppress your body’s immune system, such as pimecrolimus cream and tacrolimus ointment
Life Style Changes for Eczema Treatment
Removing whatever is causing the allergic reaction is the easiest and most effective treatment.
- Prevent dry skin by taking warm (not hot) showers rather than baths.
- Use a mild soap or body cleanser
- Dry yourself very carefully (pat yourself dry, instead of rubbing vigorously)
- Apply moisturizing skin lotions all over your body. Avoid lotions with fragrances or other irritating substances.
- Avoid wool/mohair and other irritating fibers
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting, rough, or scratchy clothing.
- Avoid scratching the rash. If you can’t stop yourself from scratching, cover the area with a dressing. Wear gloves at night to minimize skin damage from scratching.
- Anything that causes sweating can irritate the rash. Avoid strenuous exercise during a flare.
Home Remedies for Eczema Treatment
- Coconut Oil. Organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil is better than those pricey creams that a dermatologist offers.
- Aloe Vera Gel. Especially when mixed with vitamin E oil, Aloe Vera Gel is a useful remedy. Gels from freshly cut Aloe Vera leaves are optimum.
- Sugar Scrubs. Simple-organic brown sugar (larger “chunks”), and organic coconut oil, with occasional add ins of essential oils like lavender or lemon, and sometimes a little vitamin E oil.
- Vitamin E Oil. Apply vitamin E oil, especially natural D-alpha tocopherol with mixed natural tocopherols. Avoid vitamin E acetate.
- Jojoba Oil. Apply jojoba oil regularily, it will help.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar mixed 50/50 with distilled water ,applying it 2-3 times a day make dramatic results within 6-8 weeks.
Triggers of Eczema Skin Disease
Triggers can make atopic eczema worse, although they do not necessarily cause the condition.
- Hormonal changes in women. Hormones are powerful chemicals that are produced by the body and have a wide range of effects. Changes in the levels of certain hormones can affect the symptoms of atopic eczema in some women. Many women’s eczema is worse at certain times during their menstrual cycle. Some women have a flare-up of their eczema in the days before their period. The hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect atopic eczema:
- While stress is known to be associated with atopic eczema, it is not fully understood how it affects the condition. Some people with eczema have worse symptoms when they are stressed. For other people, their symptoms cause them to feel stressed.
- After vigorous exercise, sweating may make your eczema symptoms worse. Try to keep cool when you are exercising by drinking plenty of fluids and taking regular breaks.
- Irritants can make your symptoms worse. What irritates you may be different to what irritates someone else with the condition, but could include:
- Soaps and detergents, such as shampoo, washing-up liquid or bubble bath
- Some types of clothing, especially wool and nylon
- Very cold, dry weather
- Unfamiliar pets
Other possible triggers include:
- Substances that touch your skin, such as perfume-based products or latex (a type of naturally occurring rubber)
- Environmental factors, such as tobacco smoke, living near a busy road or having water that contains lots of minerals (hard water)
- The changing seasons – most people with atopic eczema find that their symptoms improve during the summer and get worse in the winter