Eczema is one of the most common skin conditions and is serious problem worldwide. So much so that it is considered an epidemic. According to research in the UK it is recorded that up to one-fifth of children suffer with eczema and it is said that one in 12 adults suffer from it too. Eczema is a medical condition which affects the skin. It results in patches of skin that becomes itchy and inflamed. The word Eczema comes from a Greek word which in translation means “to boil out.” The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis.
Atopic Dermatitis is a skin condition where your skin becomes red and itchy. It tends to flare up and it usually has a longer healing time. Anyone can be affected by eczema but there are some risk factors that can make a person more likely to become affected by the disease. Children are more prone to being affected and generally it comes into play around the age of five.
What Causes Eczema?
Researchers don’t exactly know what causes eczema. However, many say that it is hereditary and children are more likely to be affected by the condition if their parents or older siblings did. It is believed to develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. According to one study, 8 in 10 children whose parents have the condition will more than likely develop it. However, many doctors thought that eczema was not a genetic disease but more of a skin problem that can be inherited.
Eczema is a skin irritation and it is not considered as an allergic reaction. However, it is very common for eczema to flare up due to an allergic reaction. There’s confusion between eczema and allergies and although there is a similarity between them, the rash from dermatitis is not considered an allergic reaction, but rather the result of one. This can occur due to something we have eaten or touched, or even something in the air within our environment.
Other factors that can contribute to a breakout of eczema include:
In cold winter months, we experience dryness in our skin that leads to irritation and causes eczema to flare up.
These are products that you’re using at home. They very often cause eczema to flare up. Some examples of irritants are:
- Liquid soap
- Laundry detergent
- Body wash
- Juices from fresh fruit, vegetables and meats
- Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia:
Stress is a horrible feeling and it can really deteriorate our bodies. Someone who suffers with stress and eczema can end up with a very bad flare up. Anxiety is also another common trigger that causes inflammation. Insomnia or even sleeplessness can cause stress which may trigger an eczema flare up. Similarly, stress or anxiety can cause insomnia which can lead to a flare up. This can result in a vicious cycle.
- Changes in Climate:
Sweating is one of the main reasons as to why eczema may become itchy. It’s important to stay cool on hot days. Especially if you are prone to flaring up. In the winter the air can become very dry. If your eczema flares up in the winter months due to dry air make sure to wear plenty of moisturiser. Using a humidifier in your home can also help to add moisture to the air and minimize the drying of the skin.
Eczema can become infected by bacteria or viruses if it isn’t looked after, treated or if the person isn’t conducting good hygiene. Bacteria and viruses can live in our environment so it’s a good idea to take extra precautions when it comes to keeping your skin clean and healthy.
Pollution can trigger eczema and it can cause it to flare up.
How To Prevent Eczema?
According to research there is no known cure for eczema. You can minimize it’s symptoms if you are aware of how to avoid the cause. 75% of children who suffer with eczema generally grow out of the skin condition once they step into their teenage years. Unfortunately, the disease will continue to make your skin dry. Try to avoid using soaps or body wash on the part of the body that is affected. This is because using soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils. Symptoms may persist to adulthood and it must be treated with the right treatment for you and your skin type. Below are two common treatments for eczema.
- Topical steroids:
These are the most commonly used treatment for eczema. They are thought to be the most effective cream that you can use on an area of skin which is experiencing a flare up. However, you have to be careful with long term use as these creams can actually thin the skin if used for an extended period of time. They can also cause changes in skin pigmentation and colour.
- Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors:
This kind of cream is is a relatively new form of treatment but has been proven to be one of the best for eczema. There are no steroids involved so the side effects are minimal in comparison to other treatment options. It is safe to use on any part of the body including sensitive areas such as your face, around the eyes and even your armpits.
Alternative Remedies for Eczema
- Coconut Oil:
A coconut tree is said to be “a tree of a thousand uses.” Which in fact is not a bold statement at all, considering many people use coconut in foods and for cosmetic and beauty/skin care products. They really are a very diverse food. Coconut oil helps minimise the symptoms of eczema. Simply rubbing the oil into an area of affected skin gently can bring noticeable relief. The best thing about it is that you probably already have coconut oil lying about your house somewhere.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil:The Weston A. Price Foundation recommended Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) for the treatment of eczema. Dr. Price and Rami Nagel both collaborated to help reduce inflammation of the skin on a person who suffers from eczema. By using cod liver oil, it can result in healthy cell growth and it can also regulate hormones.
- Sea Spray:
Some people like to use a homemade salt and magnesium spray. The recipe for this is simply natural sea salt and magnesium mixed with a bit of water. This recipe creates a sea spray that is nourishing for the skin and helps exfoliate the skin naturally without causing any dabration.
- Magnesium Baths:
Magnesium baths might be a great option for you since it has the ability to treat eczema and heal the skin. Epsom salts contain powerful medicinal properties that do wonders for the skin. Just add a cup of magnesium flakes and a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt to your bath daily.
Eczema is not an uncommon disease in today’s world. It affects not only a patients quality of life but also causes psycho-social problems such as low self-esteem. These home remedies are a cheap alternative to expensive and often over-rated creams. You might even find that you have some of the ingredients listed above in your own home. Unfortunately there is no known cure for eczema. However there are many things that you can do to minimize the regularity and severity of outbreaks in your day to day life. Hopefully this article has given you plenty of ideas on how.