What is Eczema?
Eczema is a type of skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, often resulting in itchy skin.
Additionally, eczema can cause rashes that lead to cracked, red, and rough skin.
There are many reasons that trigger eczema and skin problems like eczema can be very irritating.
Causes of inflammation can include everything fromy eating nuts and dairy, to pollution, smoke and pollen.
As a result, it is important to visit a doctor and consult with a medical dermatologist that can help you manage your eczema.
If you are prone to having eczema and you can feel that you are starting to get skin rashes, then that is one sign that your skin problem is starting. It may start during infancy and it continues through childhood.
Baby eczema is common and it can be heart breaking to see your little one with eczema on the face and cheeks.
However, if you allow your baby to continue scratching the eczema without getting treatment, it could lead to a skin infection.
Do not take a chance with home remedies on your baby, make sure you have the child checked by a local NYC doctor who specializes in dermatology.
What are the Causes of Eczema?
Nobody knows the specific cause of eczema but a person can develop it due to hereditary and environmental factors.
Genetically speaking, a child can have it if one parent or both parents already have an atopic disease, though different environmental factors bring out the symptoms more often.
Some of the well-known causes of eczema flare ups are:
changes in temperature (from hot to cold)
allergens like pollens
dust mites and mold
irritants like soaps and detergents
bacteria such as Staphylococcus
viruses and certain fungi
ingesting dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, and so much more like wheat*
*ingesting protein and other gluten food like wheat can be dangerous to those who have celiac disease which causes dermatitis herpetiformis because of gluten intolerance.
You can never be too careful if you have this kind of skin condition because you cannot perfectly avoid all of the mentioned causes. What you can do is have your medicine close to you for emergency cases when it becomes triggered all of a sudden.
What are the Types of Eczema?
There are many types of eczema that you need to be familiar with especially if you are experiencing its general symptoms. In times like that, you need to educate yourself in order to be sure and for you to have the right knowledge before having doctors diagnose it.
One type of eczema is dyshidrotic eczema otherwise known as dyshidrotic dermatitis. Its symptoms are blisters that develop on the soles of your feet and on your palms.
Another type of eczema is stasis dermatitis which occurs mostly on the lower extremities. People with poor blood circulation usually develop this and it happens mostly on the lower legs because that is where blood typically collects. Protein leaks into a person’s tissue because of the blood collecting on the veins of their lower legs which causes the pressure on the veins to increase. Because of this, blood cells and other fluids build up and cause their legs to swell which is called peripheral edema. People who are diagnosed with this type of eczema will experience (aside from swollen legs and feet) open sores, and the usual, itchy and reddish skin. You are more likely to have a high chance of developing stasis dermatitis if you are suffering from high blood pressure, varicose veins, congestive heart failure, obesity, and injury to lower legs though it is commonly caused by a condition called venous insufficiency which happens because your veins have trouble sending blood to your heart.
Moving on, the third type of eczema is called nummular eczema also known as nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema. The symptoms of nummular dermatitis are coin-shaped lesions or patches on the body. They are usually developed on the arms and legs and slowly spread to the torso and hands. These lesions usually itch and burn while others may ooze fluid and become flaky and crusty. They are triggered by temperature changes, stress, and environmental irritants such as soaps and metals. People who have this type of eczema have a very sensitive skin which means they need to be extra careful.
Seborrheic dermatitis is another type of eczema that is commonly mistaken as psoriasis or allergic reaction because it is also itchy and has flaky scales on it. The exact causes of this type of eczema are unknown but it seems to be triggered by multiple things such as stress, genes, cold and dry weather, certain medical conditions and yeast that lives on the skin.
Another type is atopic dermatitis which affects a large percentage of the Earth’s population. This usually begins during childhood and is often inherited. Patients who have been diagnosed with this condition have a highly sensitive skin. This mostly affects infants and young children though adults are also affected with this too.
There are many factors that worsen this condition including:
irritants such as harsh soaps
Another type of eczema is the contact dermatitis which is triggered when your skin comes in contact with a substance in the environment of which you are allergic to.
There are three types of contact dermatitis and these are allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, and photo-contact dermatitis. Each has different causes.
- Allergic contact dermatitis only develops an allergic reaction when your skin comes in contact with a foreign substance that makes the body release inflammatory chemicals which cause it to become itchy and irritated. Such substances are jewelry made out of gold or nickel, chemicals in skin care products, perfumes, poison oak, and poison ivy.
- Irritant dermatitis is the most common type which happens when the skin comes in contact with a toxic material such as bleach, detergents, kerosene and pepper spray.
- Photo-contact dermatitis is the least common among the three and only comes out when some active ingredients in skin care products and cosmetics are exposed are exposed to the sun which will ultimately result in irritation.
Hand eczema is another form of eczema that affects only a small percentage of the world’s population.
Genetics, contact allergens and irritating substances can trigger this type of eczema and usually affects those who work in cleaning, medical and mechanical jobs of which they have a high chance of being in contact with the chemicals and irritants.
Aside from redness and itching, other symptoms are a pain, dryness where your skin becomes flaky and peels, cracks, and blisters. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to this type of eczema.
You should avoid what caused it and make sure to gently wash and clean it using lukewarm water and non-fragrance cleanser.
Always remember to moisturize your hands with a moisturizer containing a higher oil content and then apply the moisturizer every time you finish washing your hands.
The last one on the list is called Neurodermatitis, also known as Lichen simplex chronicus. It is a very annoying condition because the itchiness is so intense that it can disrupt your sleep and your everyday life. It regularly appears where you can reach it for scratching the head, neck, wrist, ankle, vulva, anus and scrotum. You need to see the doctor as soon as possible if the area becomes infected and if it affects your daily routine and you can’t concentrate on your daily task. This depends as the itching may come and or the itch becomes non-stop.
What are the Most Common Eczema Symptoms?
There are different symptoms based on the age of the person affected by it. Infants that are affected by eczema will most probably have rashes around the cheeks and the scalp. They may also feel discomfort due to extreme itchiness that can disrupt them from their sleep. If your baby has these symptoms, better have them checked by your pediatrician in order for you to know the proper solutions to this problem. For children ages 2 years old to ages where they hit puberty, the rashes will more likely appear on the creases of their elbows and/or eyebrows. The rashes may or may not appear on their necks, creases between their buttocks and legs, wrists and ankles. It will manifest over time and the rashes may become bumpy, can either lighten or darken in color, will most likely thicken also called as lichenification and becomes a permanent itch. And for the adults, the rashes are more prominent and will also appear on the creases of the elbows and knees, or the nape of the neck same as the kids aged 2 years old and above, just slightly intense. The rashes may pretty much cover the whole body. Also, the rashes can cause very dry skin and will become permanently itchy. The rashes can cause scaly skin which is a lot “scalier” than the children rashes and can lead to skin infections if left unattended and if you keep on scratching it or touching it, especially with dirty hands or things. If you are already experiencing the symptoms that are being mentioned above, you need to act fast in order to not worsen it. also, going to your doctor in order for them to diagnose it is the best thing that you can do for now since you are not that sure if what you are experiencing is really eczema.
Describing an Eczema Rash
Rashes are the most common symptoms a person will have if they have eczema. It can appear anywhere on your body, not just on your neck, elbows or forearms. It will itch at first and become a rash if the itch persists. For babies, it may appear tender and like a normal rash at first. It becomes flakier and “scalier” when they get older. It is important that you get your child checked once the symptoms won’t go away unlike a diaper rash. These rashes become leathery patches. Some people may feel bumps like goosebumps, just more fragile and delicate to touch. The leathery patches are becoming thicker and the bumps will look and feel a lot flakier. If you are dark skinned, the affected area or the rashes will either become lighter or darker. As mentioned above, babies will have a patchy facial rash that can become red and scaly which will appear either on the forehead or scalp or both. The moisture that comes from baby drools makes the situation even worse but don’t worry because in most cases, the condition goes away by the age of 2 years old. Though some may not be lucky and carry it until they become adults. In children, they mostly get the rash behind their knees or inside their elbows. They will sometimes have it around their mouth (which is sometimes mistaken as perioral dermatitis because this commonly appears around an affected person mouth due to constant drooling, bacterial or fungal infections, oral contraceptives, or fluorinated toothpaste). For adults, they usually have it on the “bending” parts of their body like the inside of the elbows and the back of their knees but it can appear almost everywhere; from the nape of their neck to their eyelids. Adults who have suffered atopic dermatitis as a child may have drier and scalier rashes. If the rash doesn’t go away, becomes thick to the point it becomes very uncomfortable and is already oozing puss or the blister is full of puss, you should go see a doctor immediately. Your doctor will have to know your family’s history of allergies and will take samples in order for them to rule out infections. Once you know that you have certain allergies that cause eczema every time you come in contact with it, you need to be careful because it will only flare up your condition and make your allergies worse and cause skin inflammation. Touching harsh chemicals can cause a rash for almost everyone but those who have eczema may experience rashes just by being in contact with mild irritants like wool, perfumes, soaps, and so on. Also, sweating and emotional stress can cause eczema to be triggered. Bacterial infection can also trigger these rashes, the same as guttate psoriasis which also exhibits red and scaly but teardrop shaped patches.
Got Eczema on your face? Know how to treat it!
It is perfectly understandable that having eczema is never fun and can be irritating and annoying most of the time especially when it is triggered. But having eczema on your face is a whole new level of annoyance. Your face is the first part of your body that another person will look at and if you have a rash on your face, it’s no fun and most people with this problem often get insecure. Impressions are made based on your face so you might think that other people are bashing you or are saying that you look ugly with those patches of red skin on your face. Even if it is mild, a person that has this on their face may want to hide and not go out due to it looking like a contagious disease because of the red and scaly patches that have formed on their face. How much more if it has reached its severe stage? It will flare up and the bumps will rise and will become infected once scratched and becomes an open wound. Luckily, there are many ways on how to manage it because eczema has a habit of disappearing and reappearing with a vengeance (which means it appears again, but worse than before). Putting topical creams like eczema cream is usually one way on how to calm the rashes down. Since there are many factors that trigger eczemas like cosmetics, soap products, pollen, dust mites, cleaning chemicals, the abrupt changes in temperature, and much more, there are also many natural remedies on how to treat eczema on the face (and other parts of the body). One is by using Aloe Vera which has over 75 vitamins and nutrients packed in it that promote the development of healthy skin and has essential fatty acids that hydrate dry and itchy skin. The slimy substance inside the plant which looks like a thick, liquid gunk is a healing agent for the many skin conditions today. It is better to use freshly sliced Aloe Vera extract because the old ones which you might think about saving for the next day won’t be as effective as fresh ones. You could also look for it in stores; just make sure that it has no fillers or colors added to it. Second is Manuka Honey which is packed with amino acids, flavonoids, organic acids, and vitamins, as well as antibacterial properties. It is the newest treatment for eczema obviously because of its many healing properties. In treating the face, use one tablespoon of honey and coat your entire face with it. Leave it on for 20 minutes and gently wipe off using a warm, clean facecloth. The third remedy is Coconut Oil which has been used for many centuries in treating dry skin, this is also one of the biggest reasons why it is used in most cosmetic products like moisturizers and lotions. It’s one of the best moisturizers that can deal with your eczema without harming it because it is primarily made out of fat and has antifungal and antibacterial properties that prevent infections from growing in open and scratched wounds. Last but definitely not the least is Rosehip Seed Oil. It has everything that your skin needs. It is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, plus antioxidants that your skin will love. It contains 77% fatty acids that are essential in repairing your cells that were damaged. For best results, apply twice a day. Two pumps of oil will do the trick. Just rub on your face in a circular motion in order for it to penetrate the skin. Make sure to use cold-pressed, organic oil with no fillers, just vitamin E because it prevents the oil from going putrid and rancid. Store in the fridge to use later and the cool temperature can calm your itchy skin. For the ultimate, homemade eczema face treatment, use all four to benefit from all of its properties. Use yogurt as the base. Measure half a cup of fatty yogurt, one tablespoon of manuka honey, one tablespoon of aloe vera gel, one pump of rosehip seed oil, and one teaspoon of coconut oil though you need to add this one first so that it can liquefy properly. Mix well and apply to your clean face. Let it sit for 20 minutes and wash off using a warm face cloth. You can use this nightly if it the eczema is annoying you.
Bothersome Hand Eczema
Also known as hand dermatitis can also be triggered by allergens and irritants. Eczema on hands is not contagious though it can greatly affect the way you perform on your everyday routine. People who are affected by this exasperating condition have very dry hands that are so flaky they peel so much and this causes blisters and so much redness and itching. One type of hand eczema is called dyshidrotic eczema which causes small and itchy blisters to appear on the palms of your hands. This commonly affects women more than men and if you think you have this type of condition, you should go get an appointment with your doctor to have it checked out. In order for you to protect your hands, you need to know what irritants or allergens are triggering it by doing a patch test in order for the doctor to find out the main cause for it. You can control your hand eczema by using moisturizers with high oil content like ointments and creams and make sure to use them after you wash your hands. Use lukewarm water and fragrance-free cleansers and use cotton gloves when doing chores. Use dye free and fragrance-free detergent in washing your cotton gloves whenever it becomes too dirty to use. Once your eczema clears, it is advised that you use petroleum jelly overnight and gloves. Use the same gloves over and over in order for it to lock in the moisture of the petroleum jelly and lock it in while you wear them.
What is Scalp Eczema?
This is a type of eczema that forms a dry, itchy and inflamed skin on your scalp. Its well-known symptom is very flaky dandruff. This is also red and scaly, produce grease or wax, have weeping lesions, are very itchy and creates blisters. After it heals, the skin changes color. The leading cause of scalp eczema is the overproduction of the natural oil secreted by the sebaceous glands called sebum. The greasy scales resulting in this condition can feed the fungi called Malasezia and can worsen the dandruff symptoms. Nobody knows the true reason as to what triggers scalp eczema but family history, abrupt changes in the weather and stress all play a role in this case. To treat this problem, you can use medicated dandruff shampoo which aims in easing inflammation and get rid of the flaky and itchy skin if used two and three times within a week. Just be sure to avoid allergens and irritants, keep stress levels under control, and perspiration can be a trigger so make sure to shampoo your hair thoroughly after a heavy workout of if you have been under the sun for too long. If you can feel signs of your scalp eczema acting out, start treatment right away. It would be best if you have it checked in order to determine the right cause to get a prescription treatment if other remedies are not helping out and are not effective anymore.
What you need to know about Allergic Eczema
Bodies react differently depending on what type of substance it has been exposed to. Most chemicals don’t cause an allergic reaction but some may do so even if they are not harmful. These chemicals are known as allergens and your body may react negatively to it and cause an allergic reaction. There are many forms of allergic reaction that a personal experience. Some may show signs of difficulty in breathing, coughing, burning sensation in their eyes and throat or a runny nose; others experience changes in the skin, also known as eczema. Allergic eczema is the itchy rash that develops once you come in contact with an allergen. That’s why it’s important for you to know what allergen triggers this in order for you to know what remedy you are going to do and what are these allergens that you need to avoid. It comes in four forms. They are allergic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and contact eczema. Common triggers for this type of eczema are nickel which can be commonly found in jewelry and belt buckles, perfumes, latex, adhesives, soaps and cleaning products, and poison ivy and other plants with the same properties. Allergic eczema may also develop one’s skin has been exposed to allergens or chemicals in the presence of sunlight. The common symptoms of these allergic reactions are burning sensation, pain and continuous itching, warm and tender skin, inflammation, cuts, and rashes. You can get yourself diagnosed by getting a patch test or a biopsy to know if you really have this type of condition. To treat allergic eczema, it’s important that you wash the affected area of the skin to remove the remaining traces of allergens and to not worsen your situation. You won’t need additional treatment if your symptoms are mild but in order to repair skin damage, you might still want to use moisturizers. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor might ask you to use prescription-strength ointments and creams. With the right treatment, your allergic eczema may clear up within two to three weeks though it will come back if you are exposed to the allergens again, which is why you need to be diagnosed in order for you to do the necessary steps in preventing it from happening again. Once you are diagnosed, you can now do the necessary steps in order for you to get rid of the symptoms and you will know what to avoid in order for it to not flare up in the future. But just to be sure, you need to know about the options that you can take that you feel would best suit you and your condition, no matter how severe or mild it might be.
The different Eczema Treatments for you
If you have been diagnosed with Eczema, you will need to make sure that your skin is taken care of all the time and you also need to be vigilant with everything that is around you to avoid the allergic reactions from happening. In most cases, eczema is manageable as long as you follow a special skin care routine. This means taking a bath daily and using moisturizers all the time. Over the counter products like moisturizers to help ease rashes, itchiness and redness are one of the treatments that you can follow. The best thing about this is that you get to buy without restrictions because you don’t need a prescription just to get a hold of these. Another effective treatment is proper bathing and moisturizing. Soak in lukewarm water or take a shower as an effective eczema treatment and lather yourself in moisturizer immediately after wards and this has to be done within three minutes. Very dry skin can cause your eczema to flare up. This can be due to low humidity, very cold temperatures, harsh soaps and too much washing without using moisturizer. It is important for you to know which moisturizers to use and when to use it for your condition and best interest. Also, studies have shown that complementary and alternative therapies have a huge impact for people who have been diagnosed with eczema. This means using natural and organic topical or creams like coconut oil, aloe vera and rosehip seed oil. Systemic medications are also available which stops the immune system from overreacting, especially if you are experiencing severe cases of atopic dermatitis which results in your immune system to going haywire. Phototherapy is another form of treatment that uses a special machine that emits a narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) light onto the skin to reduce the inflammation and itching, it also increases vitamin D production and supports the bacteria fighting systems in the skin. These are just some of the treatments. If you are interested, you can try each of this one by one to know which is very effective depending on your situation.
Is there a Cure for Eczema?
For those who have severe cases of eczema, prescription-strength creams and antihistamine medications usually do the trick. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed if your doctor determines that there is a bacterial infection going on which worsens your eczema. The first thing that you need to do in order to get rid of eczema is by finding out the root cause and then treating it. There is no definite cure for eczema. This is not something that you just take a medicine and it will be gone permanently. This will stay as long as your body and immune system react in a bad way to the different allergens and irritants that you expose yourself to. What you can do is manage it and continue on treating it by following those that were mentioned above. You can choose to use organic and natural treatments like aloe vera and coconut oils. Or you can use pharmaceutical medicines like antihistamines. Home remedies are also supported, like taking a bath properly and making sure that you are well moisturized to ensure that your body is protected from being too dry and triggering an allergic reaction like rashes and itchiness which can be annoying and bothersome. You can also choose to change your diet in order to make your body more resistant to these allergic reactions. Eating gelatine-rich foods is one example because it is relatively good for the skin, nails and hair growth. Simple remedies that you just need to religiously follow can create a huge impact on your body and will help you in treating your eczema. Nothing beats monitoring your own body and making sure that you get the right amount of care.
As mentioned above, one of the things that you can do to help counter and manage the different symptoms that you are experiencing right now is to eat food that is known to fight off eczema. It’s a long shot but it’s worth it. Cold water fishes such as wild salmon, halibut, and cod are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which like coconut oil, can help repair and moisturize your damaged skin because of eczema. Oatmeal and eggs are both high in zinc. Zinc is a well-known mineral for fighting off eczema. Also, getting rid of eczema triggering food and things should be at the top of your to-do list when it comes to managing your condition. Inflammatory foods such as fast foods, processed foods, alcohol, and sugary foods are just some of the food that could flare up your eczema. Also mentioned before are the natural salve or topical creams that you can make by yourself. Nothing beats organic products, right? Aloe Vera, Coconut Oil, Manuka Honey and Rosehip Seed Oil are just some of the natural products that you could find at your local grocery store. Just make sure to find and use those that have no fillers added and are dye-free. Taking probiotics can also help pregnant women who have a history of eczema in their families; this can help decrease the odds of the baby having the similar type of condition. Taking a chamomile bath is one way to calm the symptoms that you are having. Chamomile has soothing properties that can help your skin in a big way. All you need to do is boil a quarter cup of water and pour it over five chamomile tea bags. Cool the tea and steep it for at least fifteen minutes then remove the tea bags or the loose leaves. Pour the tea into your bath tub and swirl it around to blend evenly. Get a good book and enjoy the aroma and the soothing properties of your homemade organic bath.
How a Dermatologist Can Help Treat Your Eczema?
There are four ways that a dermatologist can help you with your condition.
- First is advising you on proper skin care techniques such as taking baths properly and using the right moisturizer.
- Second, prescribing medicine to help with inflammation, especially if your situation is severe.
- Third, identifying coping strategies relevant to your situation, such as managing stress levels, managing the itchiness and other issues.
- Fourth, helping you to avoid triggers. This is to prevent your eczema from acting out again. It’s really hard especially if your immune system over reacts just because of your high-stress levels.
You can have your situation checked out right away if you feel that your home remedies are not working and are being less effective over time.
Your chosen dermatologist will make sure that you stick to your treatment plan and will provide insights regarding your condition.
Just think about all the good things that will come out once you have fought off the agonizing symptoms that you were experiencing before. Once it has vanished (temporarily), you need to make sure that it does not come back again by knowing what you should avoid and what you need to do to keep your good standing. If the treatments become less effective and you feel that it is becoming quite painful, contact and go back to your dermatologist right away. There are many reasons as to why this might happen like maybe your case is pretty severe that you need constant monitoring. Or maybe you are allergic to one medicine that was used or that you have taken. In times like these, If you are currently undergoing treatment, you need to be vigilant because your body is trying to adapt to the different changes that it is experiencing.
Now that you have the basic knowledge regarding what eczema is, you will now be aware not just of your body, but other people too.
What you can do is educate yourself and possibly help your friends that you know are suffering from these allergic reactions.
Also, if you yourself have it, you can now refresh your mind as to what you know and what you have only found out just now.
Because there are many types of eczema, it is better that you talk to a board certified dermatologist in New York or which ever city you reside in to get a proper diagnosis.