Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a skin condition that results in itchy rashes and inflammation. Some types of eczema have a genetic feature since they tend to run in families.
Sometimes Dermatitis is triggered by exposure to allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, or animal hairs.
Various foods, such as cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, or wheat may trigger attacks, particularly in children. Breastfed babies are less likely to get eczema in later life.
Millions of people suffer from the skin condition called eczema, which appears as red and dry spots, some itchy and that often recede when the environment is humid or hot or when the skin is exposed to the sun.
It can appear anywhere in the body, and in summer it gets worse by the chlorine in the pools, for example.
This problem is persistent, more than people would usually believe. Between 15 and 30 percent of children in industrialized countries suffer from it and 2 to 10 percent in adults.
Fortunately, two-thirds of those affected have access to a solution to deal with this condition.
The scientific or medical name of on particular kind of eczema is atopic dermatitis and reflects the immunological nature of the disease.
It is more common in people living in the city than in the countryside since one of the hypotheses of its occurrence is related to hygiene or exposure to infectious agents.
It is not contagious, and those with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) are more likely to suffer from it.
Eczema often causes an itch, in spite of how tempting scratching is, special care must be taken with this issue, as the condition worsens if the sufferer scratches the affected area.
Scratching exposes the skin to various infections, it will only bring relief for the moment, but then, the picture gets worse.
Experts haven’t found definitive cures for eczema yet, but outbreaks can always be minimized and even prevented.
Continually washing the skin, as well as keeping it moist, equals an effective barrier against pollution and other substances from the environment.
In the case of eczema, the dermis presents an alteration that allows to “enter” the allergens like mites, pollen, smog, etc.
This results in dryness, itching, inflammation, and patches, often confused with the symptoms of psoriasis.
Types of eczema
It’s a skin condition that primarily affects children and young boys, although sometimes it also affects adults.
In children, it usually develops during the first three months of life and often affects the scalp (milk crust) and the diaper area.
In the adult, the lesions are distributed mainly on the face (the area between the eyebrows and nasolabial grooves), ears and scalp, although the back, the neckline, the armpits and the groin can also be affected.
This eczema produces whitish-yellow oily scales on a reddened area (scalp is commonly known as “dandruff”).
Discoid or nummular eczema:
The affected areas are oval or rounded and are distributed mainly to arms and legs. Generalized dryness may accompany it.
It is eczema typical of young people and may have seasonal worsening.
The palms of the hands, the fingers (especially the lateral part) and the soles of the feet are affected, and the condition might be related to excessive sweating in these areas.
Small blisters filled with a clear liquid can be produced, causing intense itching. Occasionally, these blisters can be big-sized and tense.
It is very common among homemakers and individuals who work in contact with cleaning products.
It occurs as a result of too frequent washing and contact with rough products that can irritate the skin (some soaps, lyes, etc.)
Allergic contact eczema:
This eczema occurs when the patient develops an allergy to a product with which he has been in contact.
Sometimes many previous touches (months or years of contact) are required before developing the allergic response.
The products can be very varied (perfumes, soaps, cleaning products, clothes, paints, gums, enamel, makeup, medicines that people usually apply to their skin, preservatives, etc.).
It is essential to understand that these skin conditions are NOT always the result of a particular allergy.
The dermatologist may suspect the allergy through the examination and a clinical interrogation. Only in these cases will tests be requested to confirm or rule out the allergy.
Stress, cold weather, overuse of soaps, hormone changes, and rough clothing can all aggravate eczema.
Eczema can occur at any age but tends to happen more to young people. There some cases when, as a person grows older, the condition progressively disappears.
Contact eczema (or contact dermatitis) is the result of direct contact with an allergen (such as nickel or poison ivy) or an irritant (such as a particular detergent ingredient).
Various other forms of eczema exist but are not suitable for home treatment.
Eczema herpeticum is a severe viral disease that requires immediate referral to a medical professional.
In atopic eczema, the skin becomes reddish and cracked.
This condition tends to occur in folds of the flesh, such as between the fingers, in the elbows, under the knees, or around the ears and eyes. Contact eczema typically affects the hands.
In most cases the diagnosis is clinical, that is, the dermatologist diagnoses the disease after observing the lesions.
Occasionally, if doubts arise with other conditions, the doctor may indicate the practice of a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Only when contact eczema is suspected, the dermatologist will request specific allergy tests (patch tests).
Some eczema presents an acute development, with complete healing once the cause has been resolved or avoided.
In others cases, there is evidence of a chronic and recurrent growth (and potential outbreaks), especially those eczema with genetic predisposition (atopic and seborrheic dermatitis).
Only use home treatments for eczema where the disease is chronic (long-lasting), and you’re sure of the diagnosis.
Sudden, rapidly-spreading rashes need urgent medical investigation. Avoiding aggravating factors is a sensible first step.
Using washing detergent that doesn’t contain enzymes, and thorough vacuum cleaning to lessen the numbers of dust mites, are right places to start.
Cow’s milk can be replaced by goat’s milk if you suspect the former is aggravating eczema.
Preventing scratching is difficult with children, but people can take some measures to avoid it. Getting the child to wear gloves at night might help.
As of now, to treat eczema, we must reduce the inflammation, as well as reducing the loss of humidity and the proliferation of bacteria in the area. Doctors prescribe the application of moisturizing creams after bathing so the body can retain some of the water.
No overly expensive products are needed to treat eczema; however, they need to be correct and do not bring side effects like increased irritation or redness.
Always consult your dermatologist, because they may be able to prescribe an antihistamine.
As perspiration can cause sprouts, it is always good to bathe immediately after exercising or activity under the sun. Stress can lead to skin attacks, so reducing the nerves is very helpful.
In some cases, this disease appears as a cause of allergies to certain foods, such as dairy, nuts or eggs.
It may be due to contact with detergents or strong cleaning products (such as bleach), contact with water all day, exposure to the sun, etc.
Natural Remedies for Eczema
Aloe vera is often used to treat eczema. Gels and creams are readily available. You can even grow the plant yourself and make your gel.
Just cut the leaves off and scoop out the gel inside. Although many people find Aloe vera helpful, there aren’t any reliable scientific studies that have backed its use.
Coconut oil has long been applied to the skin to help alleviate the symptoms of eczema.
A recent scientific study showed that coconut oil was more effective than mineral oil in aiding the healing of atopic eczema rashes.
Hempseed oil in the diet has been shown to lessen the symptoms of atopic eczema.
Researchers compared patients taking hempseed oil with a group consuming olive oil. The study was single-blinded, not double-blinded (the researchers knew which group of patients was having which treatment), so was not as good as it could have been.
There is some confusion as to whether hempseed oil has the same effects as cannabis.
Modern commercial hempseed plants are bred so that they do not produce significant amounts of the active ingredient in cannabis (9-THC), so the oil is entirely saved to take.
Children can’t get high on hempseed oil. Hempseed oil is available in health food stores or from various websites.
Oatmeal baths have long been used to treat eczema. You can buy colloidal oatmeal preparations, or make your own by finely grinding oatmeal in a food blender and adding it to water.
A scientific study has shown that grain is effective in alleviating the symptoms of atopic eczema.