Eczema is a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed, usually accompanied by blisters that cause itching and bleeding. It can be caused by external irritants, but in most cases has no identifiable external cause. Eczema is also known as and is common in babies and young children, usually appearing on the faces of infants. It may also show up on the inside of elbows, and behind the knees of children, teens and adults. In rare cases, eczema may first appear during puberty or adulthood, affecting both males and females.
Different types of eczema:
-Contact dermatitis is caused by direct contact with an outside irritant and may cause burning, itching and redness. The inflammation should dissipate once the irritant is removed.
-Dyshidrotic eczema (or dermatitis) affects the fingers, palms and soles of the feet. It causes itchy, scaly patches of skin that flake and may become red, cracked or painful. This particular type of eczema tends to be more prevalent in women.
-Nummular eczema (or dermatitis) causes dry, round patches of rough skin, but only in the winter months. It usually affects the legs and is more prevalent in men.
-Seborrheic dermatitis causes itchy, red, scaly rashes, particularly on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, sides of the nose and behind the ears.
Eczema is characterized by itchy, rough, flaky, and irritated skin. It can flare-up, disappear and flare again. Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but most often affects the arms, inner elbows, backs of knees or head, and particularly the cheeks and scalp. It is not contagious and usually becomes less severe with age.
Eczema can also cause red or brownish-gray patches, as well as small, raised bumps that ooze fluid when scratched. Scratching can cause the bumps to crust which is a sign of infection. Scratching can further irritate and inflame the skin. If the skin becomes infected, it can be treated with antibiotics.
What causes eczema?
Eczema is not fully understood, but is thought to be caused by the over-reaction of the immune system to the presence of irritants. It is sometimes caused by an abnormal response to proteins that are part of the body. Normally, the immune system ignores proteins that are part of the body and attacks only the proteins of invaders, such as bacteria or a virus. With eczema, the body loses the ability to distinguish between the two. This causes inflammation.
An eczema flare-up is when the symptoms reappear on the skin. Triggers that cause a flare-up include:
-chemicals found in cleaning products and detergents that dry out the skin
-rough, scratchy material (wool)
-raised body temperature
-a sudden drop in humidity
-upper respiratory disease
Risk factors for developing eczema include:
-children who suffer from asthma or hay fever
-a family history of eczema
Stress can trigger and worsen symptoms. Try these ways to reduce stress:
-deep breathing exercises
-listening to relaxing music
-getting adequate sleep
Responding to the symptoms
Many home remedies can be used to provide relief from the symptoms of eczema as an alternative to prescription meds. One of the most effective home remedies is to moisturize often, at least a twice a day. The best time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower when the skin is still damp. It is important to pay special attention to problem areas. When taking a bath, adding colloidal oatmeal or baking soda may be helpful. Soak skin for 10-15 minutes in a warm bath before moisturizing. Try to stay in a cool area as much as possible as heat may cause a flare-up to occur.
Skin infections are brought on by constant itching. When scratching breaks the skin, bacteria and viruses can enter. Eczema can cause other health issues including cold sores and fever blisters.
By definition, a microbiome is a group of living microorganisms in a particular space, such as on the skin, in the eyes or gut. Even though we don’t feel them there are millions of tiny living organisms currently living on and inside of our bodies. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, while some of the species can certainly be harmful to the skin, not all of them are. In reality, many types of bacteria are beneficial to the skin and body. Problems can arise when the ratio of “good” to “bad” microorganisms is out of balance. This can happen for many reasons, including using harsh skin care products, eating the wrong foods, aging, or heredity.
If the skin’s outer layer is damaged or weakened, the skin is much more susceptible to infection and other complications because the bacteria that normally inhabits the surface of the skin can much more easily reach the underlying layers. Once the bacteria has entered the skin, the body responds by activating its inflammatory response system to fight off infection. Researchers have discovered that people with eczema and other inflammatory skin diseases possess a specific genetic mutation to a protein called interleukin 36. This protein overreacts to inflammatory responses within the skin.
People suffering with ongoing or severe eczema may feel like they have run out of treatment options. That’s why Epiphany Therapeutics has developed Eksem Moisturizing Body Cream, specifically formulated to treat dry, uncomfortable skin and offer fast-acting relief from symptoms. Eksem contains naturally-derived micronutrients like vitamins A, C, and E to help gently alleviate signs of inflammation with no side effects. Eksem can be applied frequently throughout the day or night without causing any harm to the skin. This product does not contain any harsh ingredients such as steroids, petrolatum, parabens or fragrances that could cause more irritation to the skin or contribute to further inflammation.
A cold compress can help relieve itching. Soaking in a lukewarm bath for 15 to 20 minutes may also be helpful. Other treatment options may include:
-green, black or oolong tea
-coconut, sunflower, borage or primrose oil
You can also try to adjust your diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods and supplements. Some of the most common anti-inflammatory items include:
-blueberries, apples, pineapple, raisins, tart cherries
-green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beets, celery, cordyceps mushrooms
-wild-caught salmon, tuna
-walnuts, flax seeds
-turmeric, ginger, garlic, basil and herbs
-water, coconut water, green tea
Avoid eating a lot of proinflammatory foods that can trigger inflammation and the eczema flare-ups that accompany it. These include:
-fried foods, saturated fats, fast foods
-sugar, snack bars, candy, baked sweets
-white flour, potatoes, pasta, gluten
-alcohol, soda, diet soda, coffee
-artificial sweeteners, artificial additives
-grain-fed meats, processed meats
Thanks to advancements in medical technology and research, experts are closer to fully understanding the “big picture” behind the mechanisms in the body that cause eczema. While the latest research uncovers a lot of new information, there are still many unanswered questions. Until experts figure out how to cure the underlying cause of eczema, try your best to keep the symptoms under control by watching your diet, moisturizing often, soaking affected areas, avoiding scratching affected areas and trying a specially-made eczema cream such as Epiphany Therapeutics Eksem moisturizing body cream. If none of these natural remedies work, be sure to follow up with your physician.