Eczema is critical skin condition in which skin becomes patchy, inflamed, itchy, red cracked, and rough. It can also be used to explain terms like Atopic dermatitis or Atopic Eczema which is a chronic skin condition. Atopic is a term to refer a group of diseases. Eczema can become severe if environmental factors trigger it. There are some factors which can initiate or worsen the eczema conditions.
- Dry Skin – Dry skin can easily become brittle, scaly, rough or tight, itchy. These conditions can easily lead to eczema.
- Irritants – Some irritants cause the skin to burn and feel itchy. These irritants could be products that are used on the skin like hand and dish soap, shampoo, body wash, disinfectants, fresh fruit juices, and vegetables. There are some more eczema irritants such as nickel metal, cigarette smoke, soaps and household cleaners, fragrances, wool and polyester fabrics, etc.
- Stress – It cannot cause eczema but worsen the skin condition if infected by eczema.
- Climate and Sweating – People with eczema feel itchy, and burning sensation when getting sweat or in a hot climate. Even in cold weather skin become dry and got irritation which may lead to eczema.
- Infections – Eczema can become infected with some bacteria or virus present in the environment. The molluscum virus and herpesvirus are few who can infect eczema.
There are several eczema types:
- Allergic Contact Eczema – Sometimes skin comes in contact with a substance or allergen that our immune system takes as foreign material. It causes skin rash and irritation.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema – Skin blisters occur on palms of hands and soles of feet.
- Neurodermatitis – Scaly patches occur on the skin on head, forearms, wrists and lower leg followed by itching.
- Nummular Eczema – Circulated itchy patches form on the skin.
- Seborrheic Eczema – On scalp skin and face oily, yellowish scaly patches form.
- Stasis Eczema – Skin irritation occurs on lower legs usually related to circulatory problems.
- Irritant Dermatitis – This skin condition occurs when skin is exposed to excessive washing or toxic substances.
- Fungal Infections – Fungus infections can produce a pattern identical to many types of eczema.
- Scabies – It is caused by an infestation of human itch mite and may produce a rash.
- Lichen Simplex Chronicus – It produces thickened plaques of skin, found on neck and shins.
- Xerotic Eczema or Dry Skin Eczema – Dry skin cause itching and if dryness becomes excessive skin will crack and ooze.
What exactly causes eczema is still unknown. It can develop due to some genetic or environmental reasons. Genetic factors may be responsible because if one or both parents have eczema then chances or inherit this disease increases. Environmental factors are following which can cause eczema:
- Irritants – Soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, fresh fruits and juices, veggies.
- Allergens – Mites, dust, pets, dandruff, pollen.
- Foods – Dairy products, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy products.
- Microbes – viruses, bacteria and certain fungi may cause eczema such as staphylococcus aureus.
- Climate – Hot and cold weather, high and low humidity, perspiration due to work out may cause eczema.
- Hormones – Hormonal changes in women may worsen the eczema symptoms, such as during periods and pregnancy.
Any part of the Body can be affected by Eczema. It is always itchy. Sometimes itching start before any skin rash or blister.
1) Symptoms in Infants and Children :
- Rashes on scalp and cheeks.
- Rashes may cause extreme itchiness which may lead to skin infections.
- Rashes commonly appear behind elbow or knees, on neck, wrists, ankles, between buttock and legs.
2) Symptoms in Adults :
- Rashes appear on the nape of the neck, creases of elbow or knees.
- Rashes can occur on other body parts.
- Rashes can cause very dry skin.
- Scaly skin.
- Rashes can lead to skin infections.
Bathing – Add 2 tbsp olive oil in a glass of milk. Mix this to your bathing water. Or you can add vegetable oil or mineral oil to your warm bathing water. It will remove dryness of skin and soothe skin. This will reduce itching and provide relief.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple vinegar is very beneficial for health. It is used to cure skin inflammation and burns. It can also act as a disinfectant. Dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar. Apply this directly to the scaly area which is infected.
Flaxseeds – These are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and used to block arachidonic acid which is responsible for inflammations. Mix flax seeds in oatmeal and smoothies. You can also use flaxseed oil in cooking and dressing for salads and veggies.
Turmeric – Turmeric is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial. It is used to reduce many inflammations and skin infections including psoriasis. Curcumin chemical present in turmeric is an antioxidant. This chemical helps to protect skin by neutralizing free radicals and even speed up the healing process. Consume 1 tsp of turmeric every day in food or milk.
Coconut Oil – Dry skin is one of the reasons of causing eczema. So it is necessary to moisturize skin. Coconut oil provides moisturization for curing eczema. Also, it contains antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties which provide benefits to affected skin and cure eczema.
Aloe Vera Gel – It is full of anti-inflammatory and healing compounds. Applying aloe vera gel to infected skin provides a cooling sensation to the itchy skin. This in turns relieves eczema symptoms.