Eczema - How to Manage it

Friday, April 11, 2014

The word eczema comes from the Greek word ekzema which means to effervesce or bubble or boil over.
It's otherwise known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema.

The words eczema and dermatitis mean much the same. That is, an inflammation of the skin. There are two main types of dermatitis/eczema:

  • Atopic eczema. This is caused by a problem from within the body. If you have atopic eczema you are born with a tendency for your skin to become inflamed. Various parts of the skin tend to flare up with inflammation from time to time.
  • Contact dermatitis. This is caused by a substance from outside the body. This typically causes patches of inflammation on areas of skin which have come into contact with the substance. If you avoid the offending substance, the skin inflammation should go away.

AD is an itchy, red rash. It can appear all over the body or in a specific location especially on the scalp, inner joints and on the stomach area. . Babies often have eczema on the face, especially the cheeks and chin. Children and adults usually have eczema on the neck, wrists, ankles and joint areas.
People with eczema are usually diagnosed with it when they are babies or young children. Eczema symptoms often become less severe as children grow into adults. For some people, eczema continues into adulthood. Less often, it can start in adulthood.

An eczema rash varies from person to person. Usually those affected have unusually dry and sensitive skin. Though there is no known cure, eczema can be managed. It just takes a little bit more effort and vigilance about what you apply on your skin topically and what you ingest.

The Symptoms Of Eczema

The symptoms which are common in adults and children include
•    Redness and inflammation of the skin
•    Itchy patches on the skin
•    Changes in skin pigmentation
•    Scaly or crusted lesions which are thick
•    Small fluid filled blisters that start oozing

Things that can trigger or exacerbate eczema:

red_dry_skin_flame1. Stress
2. Harsh soaps and detergents
3. Sweat
4. Pollens
5. Dairy products
6. The Itch - Scratch cycle 
7. Preservatives and alcohols in cosmetics
8. Rough and ill-fitting clothing
9. Hot and cold climatic conditions.
10. Infection from blistered skin caused by scratching
11. Dust mites
12. Pet allergies


Try your best not to scratch. I know it's difficult but a warm towel over the itchy area should offer some temporary relief.

Take warm baths. Not too hot or too cold. 

An oat bath is also beneficial to soothing dry skin and relieving the itch. Place 1 cup of oats in a sock, and seal the open end. Drop the sock in your bath water and soak for at least 10 to 15 mins. Dab the balled up sock on the affected areas. 

Add a tablespoon of baking soda to warm water before you bathe. This will help in reducing itchiness of the skin.

Applying cold-pressed coconut oil may help to soften the skin. Leave it to work on your skin for about 10 to 15 minutes so that the oil sinks in.

Use Vitamin E oil. You can also pop open Vitamin E gel capsules with a pin and apply it 3 times a day to the dry patches 

Apply honey directly onto the affected areas of the skin. Leave it there for 10 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. Make sure you pat not rub your skin dry. Make sure you use pure unfiltered honey with no added flavouring.

Try and Epsom salt bath. Not only is this a great muscle soak, it helps to minimise itching. All you need is 2 tablespoons in your bath water. If you have chamomile tea you can substitute the epsom salts with it. Add 3 teabags to your water and soak for 10mins.

Extra virgin olive oil has anti inflammatory properties and will help in reducing the redness of your skin. You may use it after your bath as a moisturiser. A little goes a long way, no need to look greasy.

If you've broken your skin by scratching, make sure you clean the open sores with a little apple cider vinegar. It's anti-bacterial and your skin is less likely to scar.

Watch What You Eat.

Often what we eat plays a significant role in the health of our skin. Notice the way your skin responds after eating certain foods. 

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