What is eczema?
Eczema is a very common skin condition that causes red, dry, itchy and irritated skin. It is scientifically also termed as atopic dermatitis. It usually begins during infancy and persists throughout adulthood. Eczema can occur in people at any age.
There are various forms of eczema determining the type of rash one develops and which part of the body is affected. The symptoms of eczema vary from person’s age and the severity of the condition. Eczema symptoms include dry skin, skin flushing, itching and open weeping sores. Proper treatment is necessary because it might lead to skin infections if not treated on time.
What causes eczema?
The cause of eczema is still unknown, but researchers believe that it occurs because of genetic and environmental factors. It is even believed that it might occur because of an over triggered immune system.
It flares when skin is exposed to irritants which triggers the immune system, resulting in inflammation, redness and itchiness. There are various triggers like cigarette smoke, chemical preservatives, synthetic fibres, pollen, dust, stress, food allergies, etc. which can aggravate the condition of eczema.
What are the types of eczema?
There are different types of eczema, including the following-
It causes dry, itchy skin which often occurs with a red rash and is the most common type of eczema.
It occurs when skin is exposed to anything that irritates the skin and triggers an allergic reaction.
Pompholyx dyshidrotic eczema
This eczema type affects fingers, palms and soles of feet. It often causes itchy, scaly patches on the skin and is more common in women.
It is typically seen on lower legs due to insufficient blood flow.
How to cure eczema permanently?
There is currently no cure for eczema but the treatment of the condition aims to heal the affected skin and prevent the other symptoms. The dermatologist will consult a treatment regimen depending on the severity of the condition and individuals age. Eczema skin disease can persist throughout the life for some people or might go away with time in case of few people.
Doctors can prescribe several medications to treat the condition of eczema, which includes:
Topical corticosteroid cream- These eczema creams have anti-inflammatory properties which relieves the main symptoms of eczema that is inflammation and itchiness. These can be applied directly on the skin with least side effects.
- Oral medications- If the topical creams are not effective, a dermatologist prescribes oral medications like systemic corticosteroids or immunosuppressants. These eczema medicines should be used only for a short duration of time.
- Antihistamines- They help in reducing the risk of scratching as they cause drowsiness.
- Antibiotics- These are prescribed to treat any bacterial infection side by side.
- Moisturisers- it should be applied on the skin regularly to hydrate the skin and repair the damages.
Phototherapy or light therapy is very common nowadays and it uses UV light to help prevent immune system responses that trigger eczema. It requires a series of treatments and help in reducing or clearing eczema. This therapy might even prevent risk of bacterial infection.
It is seen that stress is the major cause of eczema and acts as a trigger leading to overactive immune system. Certain lifestyle changes like breathing exercise , yoga, meditation, good sleep and listening to relaxing music can effectively help in preventing eczema disease.
Various alternative treatments like aromatherapy, acupuncture, home remedies and relaxation techniques help in calming the symptoms of eczema. But, proper consultation is highly necessary to prevent any adverse reaction.
Home remedies for eczema
Natural remedies cannot cure eczema but can help manage the symptoms and prevent its aggravation. The following tips can help get rid of eczema on the face, hands, foot etc.
1. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel comes from the leaves of aloe plants and for centuries it has been used for treating skin problems and soothing eczema. It has antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and heals wounds.
2. Apple cider vinegar
It is a popular home remedy for many conditions and applying it on the skin helps in improving its acidity and strengthening the skin's defence system.
Colloidal oatmeal is derived from oats that have been boiled to extract their skin healing properties. Oatmeal lotion has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties leading to improved skin dryness, roughness and itchiness.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains beneficial fatty acid that hydrates the skin and helps people with dry skin and eczema. It may even help skin combat inflammation and improve health of the skin barrier.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Honey helps in treating a variety of skin ailments like burns and wounds. Direct application on eczema affected skin, helps in preventing infection and moisturises the skin.
6. Tea tree oil
People often use tea tree oil for treating skin problems because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and wound healing properties. It reduces skin dryness, itching and prevents infections.
7. Avoid strong heat sources
One should stay away from hot, dry environments as it may aggravate the itchiness of eczema. Using a humidifier during winter months is effective and avoids getting close to heaters and fireplaces.
8. Wrap up in cold weather
Keep your skin covered in winter months to prevent drying of skin and eczema flares.
9. Dietary changes
Eczema causes inflamed, red, sore skin and eating food that reduces inflammation in the body can be highly effective. Therefore certain dietary changes can help reduce eczema flares.
Even though the condition itself is not curable, each patient should consult with a doctor to get a proper treatment regimen. When the area of the skin has healed, it is important to keep looking after it, as recurrence can always occur.
Eczema is a common inflammatory skin condition and is more common in children. It causes discomfort and symptoms vary with severity. Although eczema cure is still under research, people can treat and prevent it by using home remedies, medications, ointments and lifestyle changes.