Eczema or dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease which is manifested by inflammation of the skin accompanied by redness, itching, blisters and irritation.
Between 10 and 20% of the world population suffers from eczema, most frequently during childhood…
Certain studies make a distinction between the terms “eczema” and “dermatitis”, saying that the dermatitis is an acute reaction, while eczema is a chronic disease.
What Does Eczema Look Like?
The skin is usually very dry and becomes scaly. Broken and thicker skin with marks is often the result of persistent itching and scratching.
A baby of 2-4 months old with eczema experiences inflammation of the skin with oozing and crusting.
A child of 2 years old with eczema experiences similar symptoms but the rash is usually dryer and scaly.
Where Do You Get Eczema?
Eczema can occur anywhere on the body.
In children – it most likely occurs on the face, scalp and where the skin folds ( because the skin is moist and warm in these parts)
In adults – it most likely occurs on their hands and this is due to a foreign substance that they are regularly exposed to and therefore react against.
Is Eczema Contagious?
Eczema may look unsightly and painful, it may weep and ooze, but it is not contagious. You cannot catch eczema by touching, looking at or being near someone with eczema.
Eczema may be passed down the family line from generation to generation but it cannot be passed from person to person by contact or droplet transfer.
It is a popular belief that eczema is caused by food allergies. While that may be partly true, in many cases it is not the case. The truth is that the real cause of eczema still remains unknown.
Eczema often occurs in people that have had a family history of either of the following: eczema, hayfever or asthma. This suggests that eczema is hereditary and you can live with it for many years undetected but what triggers it to flare up will vary from person to person.
What triggers eczema for one person may not have the same effect on another person’s eczema. Likewise, what reduces the severity of eczema will differ from person to person.
Locating the exact triggers of your eczema is not an easy task. Not all triggers will cause an effect the first time, so you may have disregarded them as triggers. If you are having difficulties locating what triggers your eczema, remove all “suspecting” foods/products and then slowly introduce them back in your diet one at a time.
The main eczema symptoms are:
- redness and inflammation
Bear in mind that there are other symptoms manifested that are not physical such as asthma, hayfever, and thirst due to the loss of fluids from the skin and sensitivity to cold and hot.
Here is a list of the main eczema symptoms:
- Skin inflammation: swelling of skin surface often occurs
- Redness: due to the widening of the blood vessels on the skin
- Itching: can vary from mild to persistent itching leading to inflammation that can result in infection and blisters
- Dry, crusty skin: when the skin becomes dry, cracks often appear on palms and feet.
- Pale skin and loss of pigmentation: due to reduced blood flow– loss of hair, pale skin and pigmentation changes occur.
- Thick leathery skin: in time the skin can thicken and dry.
Atopic eczema :
This is the most common type of eczema in both adults and children which often has a genetic component.
Triggers are numerous, the most common being: detergents, soap, dust mites, animal shedding (skin, hair, fur), mold, pollen and sudden temperature changes.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis/Eczema :
This form of eczema is an allergic reaction involving the immune system reacting against a foreign substance: some herbs, resins, metals, adhesives, latex, rubber, perfumes, cosmetics.
Contact Eczema :
This form of eczema is caused by an object that is in direct contact with skin, namely: water, detergents, soap, saliva, acids, solvents, fiberglass, leaves of plants.
Seborrheic Eczema :
This form of eczema is caused by an immune system response to a fungus called Malassezia, present in areas rich in sebaceous glands of the skin (scalp, eyebrows, the sides of the nose, ears, chest and back in men).
The exact cause of this side of the body is unknown but it affects adults between the ages of 20-40 years old. It is believed to be caused by a Candida ( yeast ) overgrowth and triggers skin inflammation, redness and flaking.
Infantile seborrheic eczema (Cradle Cap) :
A common eczema condition affecting babies usually less than 12 months of age.
Cradle cap usually starts on the scalp or the nappy area and spreads to areas where the skin rubs together like the elbows or under the armpits. This type of eczema features red, scaly patches and looks unpleasant, but it usually is not sore or itchy. Most cradle cap clears by the time the baby is 12 months old.
Dyshidrotic eczema :
A dyshidrotic eczema is a particular form of eczema affecting the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and sides of the fingers and toes.
The cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown however it could be due to: a disorder of the sweat glands secretion, neuropsychological stress, primary irritants to certain type of substances such as chromium, cobalt, neomycin and nickel.
The condition is characterized by small itchy bumps which become fluid filled and develop itching or burning or tingling sensations.
Nummular eczema :
A nummular eczema is a form of eczema in which the lesions are round and well defined consisting of scaly, red, inflamed lesions, usually on the arms and legs, that are persistently itchy. It occurs mainly in older people especially if they have an overly dry skin.
In winter the infection can worsen due to the low humidity as can stress and excessive bathing.
4 Home Remedies for Eczema
Only an eczema sufferer can truly appreciate the pain, embarrassment, and discomfort this skin condition can bring. Eczema can be either severe or mild –
its manifestation can be limited to a just small amount of itchiness while other victims deal with skin breaking and skin bleeding.
So How Do You Treat Eczema From Home?
Remember eczema is not contagious so with the right treatment you will get fast relief from your symptoms.
The key to keeping eczema at bay – is to have your skin moisturized at all times.
Here are some of the best home remedies for eczema:
1. Food intake – The number enemy of eczema are the foods that trigger the attack and discomfort. Foods that are rich in sugar, gluten, and milk protein should be removed from the diet since they can worsen the patient’s condition.
2. Skin health – One sign of eczema is the dry skin. In order to address this, one of the home remedies for eczema is the use of moisturizers. This is one way of hydrating the skin in order to reduce dryness and cracking.
3. Another addition to the home remedies for eczema is apple cider vinegar. All you need is the unfiltered apple cider vinegar and mix it with water with a proportion of 50-50. Once it is mixed well, put it in a spray bottle or on a clean cloth and put generously on the affected skin.
Home remedies for eczema are easy to do since most ingredients can only be found at home. However, safety is always the first priority, so it is important to ensure proper application.
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