Here’s everything you need to know about eczema or atopic dermatitis, a skin condition.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis become inflamed, cracked, itchy, and rough. is a skin condition in which the spots on the skin become inflamed, cracked, itchy and dry. In certain situations, eczema can cause blisters over those patches. Atopic dermatitis, basically, refers to conditions of inflammation caused due to a weak immune system.
This skin condition can be triggered due to smoke, pollen, soaps, fragrances and certain foods like nuts and dairy. In any case, eczema is not contagious.
Eczema is a common disease, yet some people outgrow the condition while most continue to live with it throughout their adulthood. Let’s understand the types, symptoms, treatments and causes of eczema.
There are several types of eczema. Apart from atopic dermatitis, other forms are as follows:
1. Allergic contact dermatitis
This condition is the result of a reaction by the immune system to an allergen or substance that the immune system considers foreign.
2. Dyshidrotic eczema
The irritation on the skin of the palms or the soles of the feet is known as dyshidrotic eczema. This condition is accompanied by blisters and redness on the skin.
Neurodermatitis is a skin condition that occurs due to an insect bite or a localized itch. It leads to scaly patches on the head, forearms, wrists and lower legs.
4. Discoid eczema
This skin condition is also known as nummular eczema and is identified by circular patches of itchy, scaly and irritated skin.
5. Stasis dermatitis
Stasis dermatitis is caused due to issues in the circulatory system. It leads to skin irritation and marks on the lower leg.
Many health professionals and experts believe that the cause of eczema is not definitive, yet it could develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If a parent has eczema or any atopic condition, a child is more likely to develop it. The risk is even higher if both parents have this condition.
Environmental factors that could trigger certain symptoms of eczema include:
⦁ Food products
⦁ Hormonal imbalances
⦁ Temperature and climate
The symptoms and severity of atopic dermatitis can vary based on a person’s age, health, lifestyle and other conditions. People with eczema often go through phases where the symptoms get worse. This phase is eventually followed by the time when the condition improves.
In most cases, the symptoms of eczema are very mild.
Here’s how symptoms can be identified and differentiated from varied cases:
1. General eczema
⦁ Dry, scaly skin
⦁ Red flushes
⦁ Crusted and open sore
⦁ Infections due to continuous scratching
⦁ Grey or brown rash based on your skin tone
⦁ Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation
2. Age-based eczema
– Below the age of two
⦁ Rashes on scalp and cheeks
⦁ Bubbled rashes
⦁ Fluid leak from rashes
⦁ Extreme itchiness
– For children of age two and above
⦁ Rashes behind creases of elbows and knees
⦁ Bumpy rashes on the neck, wrist and legs
⦁ hyperpigmentation / hypopigmentation
⦁ Skin thickening or lichenification
– For adults
⦁ Scalier rashes
⦁ Rashes on the crease of elbows or knees or the neck
⦁ Most of the body gets rashes and itching
⦁ Very dry skin
⦁ Permanent itching
⦁ Skin infections
⦁ Inflammation on affected areas
There is no particular cure for eczema, but there are treatments. Health professionals focus on treating the condition and healing the affected skin. The aim is to prevent the symptoms from getting worse or coming back.
A treatment plan is suggested by a doctor based on the age, symptoms and current health status of the patient. Eczema is a disease that could go away with time for some people, while for others it could become a lifelong condition.
There are various things that people with this skin condition can do to support their health and prevent the symptoms.
Some of the home remedies include:
1- Use aloe Vera or coconut oil
⦁ The Aloe plant has been used for ages to treat a wide range of ailments. The antibacterial and antimicrobial effects can prevent skin infections and hydrate dry, chapped skin. Aloe Vera’s wound healing properties soothe broken skin and heal it.
⦁ Similarly, coconut oil has beneficial fatty acids that can add moisture to the skin and help people with dry skin and eczema. Virgin coconut oil protects the skin by combating inflammation and improving the health of the skin.
2- Use Apple Cider Vinegar
⦁ According to reports, apple cider vinegar helps protect the broken skin and contracting an infection. Although vinegar is really acidic, people with eczema may have less acidic skin than others. This weakens the defense system of the skin. Applying diluted apple cider vinegar helps balance the skin’s acidity levels.
3- Use Honey
⦁ Honey is a naturally acquired antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance. People have been using honey to heal wounds for ages now. Honey has the capacity to heal wounds and boost immune system function and help the body fight off infections.
4- Tea tree oil
⦁ Tea tree oil is a great way to hydrate and heal the skin. People often use this oil to deal with all sorts of skin problems, including eczema. This oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and skin healing properties. It may help relieve skin dryness and itching and help prevent infections.
4- Diet check
⦁ Eczema is an inflammatory condition. Certain foods can cause or reduce inflammation in the body. A few key changes in the diet could help control eczema or even eliminate it.
⦁ Some of the anti-inflammatory foods include- fish, green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, fruit, vegetables, turmeric and cinnamon.
⦁ Inflammatory food may include- dairy, eggs, soy, gluten and wheat. Regulating or eliminating these foods could help deal with eczema.
5- Use of gentle soaps and detergents
⦁ Laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals that can aggravate eczema. Any cleanser that provides a soapy lather will contain detergent. Such products dry out the skin and can be harmful to people, especially with eczema.
⦁ Bar soaps are highly alkaline in nature and can thus be really harmful. To help control eczema, use a gentle, no-lather and fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid scrubbing and exfoliating as these can further irritate the skin and cause more harm than good.
6- Avoid high heat sources
⦁ Avoid sitting near a fireplace or a furnace. The hot and dry air can dehydrate the skin and aggravate the itchiness of the skin. This could worsen the condition of eczema.
7- Keep your skin hydrated during winters
⦁ Cold winters can make your skin dry and cracked. This dryness can cause eczema flares. Make sure to keep the skin covered but also moisturize it well to avoid complications. Wear soft clothes that are gentle on the skin.
Natural ways to Reduce Eczema in Children
There are also a few home remedies for babies and children with eczema it is highly recommended to use these under supervision. For kids with eczema, the following remedies may help:
1- Don’t dress the child too warmly. Make sure they don’t sweat underneath their clothes.
2- Use mittens to prevent them from scratching their skin.
3- Apply gentle moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
4- Avoid bathing infants and kids too frequently. Twice or max thrice a week should work well.
5- Use mild, tear-free and toxin-free cleansers and shampoos for kids. Any shampoo, soap or cleaner shouldn’t sting the child.
Doctors might as well suggest medications and steroids to help cope with the disease. It is highly recommended to consult a health professional or a dermatologist to get a tailored treatment plan. Eczema might not be curable but the symptoms can be easily dealt with. It is important to constantly monitor and look after the skin to avoid reinfection.