Eczema Treatment

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  • Causes and Symptoms
  • Eczema Treatment
  • Eczema and Food
  • Precautions

Is your skin red, dry, scaly and extremely itchy? These are common eczema symptoms, a skin condition believed to affect more than 30% of people, leaving many to search for the best eczema treatment options.

What is eczema? It actually isn’t a single condition — it’s a group of skin conditions that includes:

  • atopic dermatitis
  • contact dermatitis
  • dyshidrotic eczema
  • hand eczema
  • neurodermatitis
  • nummular eczema
  • stasis dermatitis

Finding a soothing, natural eczema treatment can be life-changing for those suffering from this frustrating condition. Read on to learn about the symptoms, causes and natural eczema treatment options.

Causes and Symptoms

Eczema typically first appears in very young children. Of further concern is that eczema in children is becoming more and more common.

Diseases it can resemble include psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis, but it’s a different condition.

A study conducted recently found that 39 percent of children develop eczema by 3 years old. Interestingly, this same study found children who have dogs in the home are significantly less likely to develop it at any age.

Although initial outbreaks most often occur in infants and young children, onset can occur at any time. While the majority of the skin conditions that fall under the eczema heading are chronic, it is important to note that contact dermatitis and hand eczema may be acute in nature, occurring due to an exposure to allergens or chemicals.

For many people, the severity of flare-ups lessens with maturity, and some may even outgrow it altogether. However, it can come and go throughout life. Learning how to treat eczema and identifying triggers that cause flares are the best courses of action.

While there is no definitive answer as to the cause of eczema there are effective natural treatments that can help prevent future flares and ease discomfort during an outbreak.

There is a wide range of causes and risk factors associated with this condition, and eczema symptoms can manifest in widely different ways between those affected.

While a singular cause of eczema has not been established, there are certain common causes leading to the onset and flares. In addition, a wide range of risk factors has been identified.

Risk Factors

  • A genetic predisposition or family history of eczema, hay fever or asthma.
  • Young age
  • Being a health care worker
  • Children who attend day-care
  • ADHD
  • Living in a dry climate
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Adolescent obesity, for later onset of eczema cases
  • Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy, which may increase the risk of developing eczema in the first year of life

Causes

So far, the medical community has yet to determine a definitive cause of eczema. For some, it may occur due to a nutritional deficiency, while for others it may first arise due to an allergen or other irritant.

Here are the widely accepted causes of eczema:

  • Dry skin and sensitive skin that cracks
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Environmental conditions
  • Gene variation that affects skin
  • Allergy to foods, beauty products, laundry detergents or other chemical allergy
  • Chronic stress
  • Temperature changes
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Symptoms of Eczema

While many experience a lessening of symptoms and fewer flare-ups as they age, some continue to experience eczema symptoms throughout adulthood, such as atopic eczema rashes. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and change from one outbreak to another.

Common symptoms include:

  • The appearance of small, raised bumps that may ooze liquid and develop a crust
  • Thick, dry, scaly skin that cracks
  • Red, brown or grayish patches of skin on hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, in skin folds, and on the face and scalp of infants
  • Sensitive skin that is swollen and raw from scratching
  • A recurring rash that causes intense itching, often disrupting sleep patterns
  • Rashes due to atopic eczema

Eczema and Food

Diet can play a role in skin conditions. The following foods to eat can play a role in eczema prevention, relief and treatment, while there are foods to avoid that can make symptoms worse.

Foods to Eat:

  • Essential fatty acids — Wild-caught fish and flaxseed oil can help reduce eczema symptoms.

  • Pumpkin or chia seeds — These seeds provide zinc, which is essential for wound healing and metabolizing fatty acids.

  • Probiotic-rich foods — Consume goat’s milk kefir and amasai. These are the highest probiotic foods and can support gut and immune health.
  • High-fibre foods — Constipation can lead your body to look for other ways to expel toxins, and the skin can become one of the avenues in which toxins are expelled. Aim for at least 30 grams of fibre per day from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut and sprouted grains/legumes.

  • Vitamin A-rich foods — Increase your intake of orange and yellow vegetables, which are high in vitamin A, necessary for skin health.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Additives — Eliminate additives and processed foods, which can make eczema worse.
  • Foods allergens — Avoid any potential allergens. Some common allergen foods include gluten, dairy, shellfish or peanuts.
  • Margarine and other non-essential fats — These fats can interfere with the absorption of essential fats critical for healing.
  • Sugar — Increases inflammation and reduces immune functio
  • Fried foods — Can increase inflammation.

Precautions

Eczema is a skin condition that can result is severe discomfort, disruption of sleep, anxiety and depression, and skin infections. In fact, the majority of people who have eczema also have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin.

When the rash seeps, or excessive itching breaks the skin, severe infections from bacteria and viruses can occur.

If an infection does occur, the use of antibiotics can help to prevent spreading the infection to others and speed healing.

Eczema can make people more prone to heart disease and stroke, research highlighted by Harvard Medical School found. The study found that people with eczema smoke and drink more and are less likely to exercise than those without eczema. All three of these are considered risk factors for heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Anxiety, depression and poor sleep quality are real concerns for children and adults alike during a flare. Using essential oils for eczema by diffusing or adding to lotions or creams may help relieve the emotional toll this condition has on those it affects.

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Children are particularly prone to ridicule at school during an outbreak, especially with eczema on the face. It is not uncommon for children with eczema to withdraw from their social circles and become isolated. Be sure to provide plenty of understanding and support.

Conclusion

  • There are seven skin conditions that fall under the eczema heading, including contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, hand eczema, neurodermatitis, nummular eczema, eczema stasis dermatitis and the most common offender, atopic dermatitis.
  • Eczema can appear anywhere, but in children it typically develops first on the cheeks, chin and scalp.
  • In adolescents and adults, eczema patches appear in areas that bend, like elbows, knees, ankles, wrists and the neck.
  • Understanding what triggers it and how to get rid of eczema flares requires careful tracking of allergens and all flares as they occur.
  • To prevent future flares, avoid common triggers and allergens.
  • Treat the mind and body for best results, as increased anxiety and depression can worsen the symptoms, and stress is believed to cause flare-ups in many adults.
  • Moisturise affected areas at least twice a day to help soothe dry skin, relieve itching and speed healing.

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