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Eczema is the common name for a number of conditions that cause the skin to redden, become inflamed, and itchy. Types of eczema include atopic dermatitis (also called atopic eczema), seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.. It is a common condition affecting almost 10% of Americans. Eczema can range from mild to severe and can appear anywhere on the body. Anybody can get it. People with eczema can have an eczema flare up on just one occasion, or it may return repeatedly as a recurring condition. Eczema is not contagious. It is a result of a person’s genes and their environment.
The Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema is usually very itchy and can be painful. Symptoms to look for include:
1. Dry, sensitive skin
2. Redness and inflammation
3. Intense itching or pruritus
4. Darkening or discolored patches of skin
5. Rough, leathery skin or scaly patches
6. Oozing and crustiness in the affected area
7. Localized swelling
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms of eczema. For example on babies and very young children, eczema occurs most often on the face, particularly the cheeks. Some people have fewer symptoms and others have many more symptoms. Most will have inflammation and pruritus. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you may be suffering from eczema, it is important to talk to your doctor about a diagnosis and potential treatments that can work for you.
If you suffer from any of the eczema conditions you will want to know how to get rid of eczema. You may be interested to learn about recent developments around the use of CBD products for treatment. Though 29 states in the United States have now legalized marijuana in some form or another, the fractured nature of that regulation has made it difficult for doctors, consumers and researchers to develop a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and risks associated with using topical cannabis products to treat skin problems. A small number of important studies relating to the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions have been conducted and though more research is needed, their findings are useful.
Cannabis is derived from the plant cannabis sativa, which has over 60 active agents. Of all of those, only THC is an intoxicant. Cannabinoids are the compounds found in cannabis which are studied for their health benefits. The relatively recent discovery of cannabinoid receptors in the human body has finally led to more discussion and research into the health benefits of these beneficial molecules. There are a number of different plants which fall under the category of the Cannabis plant family. Marijuana and hemp are two such plants.
Marijuana contains more THC and more cannabinoids than its cousin, hemp. There are five major cannabinoids in marijuana, including CBD and THC. Of particular interest to the dermatological field are the anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties of these molecules. CBD is a great eczema treatment in that it is very safe, with low levels of cannabinoids required to affect the skin. There is also low systemic absorption from the skin to the bloodstream, which negates the risk of intoxication by THC, if THC is present in the treatment.
Traditional Treatment of Eczema
Eczema has traditionally been treated with topical creams which contain emollients (substances which soften skin). Common emollients are lactic acid, lactate salt and urea. While these soften the skin, emollients are not effective against the underlying causes of eczema.
Traditional treatments to control the pruritis or itch of eczema include steroids and antihistamines, both of which have often lacked efficacy. Their ineffectiveness has been pointed out in numerous studies, including those which detail the dangers involved in the long-term use of topical steroids. In more recent times, home remedies for eczema such as the use of tea tree oil, coconut oil and apple cider vinegar as well as other essential oils for treating eczema. A number of dermatological studies have advocated for the further study of CBD as a more effective, longer lasting and safer treatment than long term use of steroids and antihistamines.
More than 100 years ago, it was understood that cannabis could relieve the itching of eczema. There are many features of eczema that make for an intense itch – dry skin, histamine release, sensory nerve fibers etc. Cannabinoids however, have a powerful ability to stop itchiness. Recent research has been interested in how to get rid of eczema with the assistance of CBD.
CBD can interact with receptors in the skin which could in turn reduce the symptoms and appearance of eczema. In particular studies have demonstrated that cannabinoids can encourage the production of T-regulatory cells and support the immune system to suppress inflammation.
The cannabinoids can also manage the colonization of staphylococcus aureus, is both complicates and drives eczema. There have also been reports of improvement of eczema rashes through the use of topical cannabinoids. In a human trial, topical cannabinoids were an effective eczema treatment that reduced itching and sleeplessness by 60% in trial patients. 20% of these patients were able to stop their topical immunomodulators, 38% stopped taking their oral antihistamines and 33.6% felt they could stop their topical steroid mediation by the conclusion of the study.
PEA, a type of CBD, was used in place of traditional emollients in a 2014 study. The PEA group had improved skin in only 7 days. In particular, the skin was much better hydrated than at the beginning of the study, demonstrating PEA’s ability to improve on traditional emollient performance.
Topical CBD Products
Care should be taken when choosing an eczema treatment cream because some have terpenes which irritate the skin further. Also, care should be taken to choose a product with active ingredients that target eczema issues rather than one for joint or muscle pain.
The hemp industry has far less regulation that the medical marijuana industry. Some hemp products on the market may introduce other irritants, solvents and contaminants onto the skin and should be approached cautiously. Read labels with care as incorrect labeling is abundant in the industry and many products are not yet properly regulated. Third party testing by an independent laboratory for specific products should also increase consumer confidence and provide you the best product available for your eczema.
People suffering with eczema should look for products that contain PEA, which is the type of CBD that significantly improved the hydration of the skin in a short period of time, as well as CBD which can reduce inflammation and pruritus. Most studies refer to topical (on the skin) applications in relation to eczema. Look for creams and lotions that are CBD rich, including PEA.
Follow the instructions on the packaging and from your health care provider carefully. Continued used of CBD products has not resulted in significant side effects so be sure to use the CBD products until after all of the eczema has gone.
There is much hope for CBD as an effective eczema treatment as it has demonstrated effects on several aspects of eczema which contribute to the condition. Topical CBD products hold the promise of reduced inflammation, reduced pruritus, control of S. aureus and histamine production, and improvement in the appearance and occurrence of eczema, without the risk of a number of side effects that are seen with current treatments.
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