What is Eczema? Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, it is a chronic (usually allergic) skin irritation that is characterized by skin inflammation. What are the symptoms of Eczema? Symptoms can include redness, swelling, oozing, crusting, scaling & itchiness of the skin. The itchy, flaking rash may appear on the inner surface of elbows and knees, the backs of the upper arm, wrists, cheeks, scalp or eyelids. Constant itching is one of the biggest complaints. Due to the scratching and rubbing of the skin, bacterial infections are also common. How do I get Eczema? It is often associated with a family history of allergies, such as hay fever, asthma or food allergies like Celiac disease, but environmental factors may also trigger an outbreak! What can further irritate Eczema?
- Emotional stress
- House dust mites
- Upholstered furniture, carpeting
- Chemicals, fabric softeners
- Wool and synthetic clothing
What can you do to improve your skin problems?
- Check for allergies (also food allergies), and avoid contact as much as possible (quite often wheat, milk, shellfish, peanuts, food preservatives) Try organic foods instead.
- Get your digestion going (with enough water and fibre); good skin is also often a reflection of a good digestive system.
- Improve your circulation by exercising; sluggish skin, bloating, and puffiness may improve by moving.
- Avoid excess sugar
- Eat good fats (Omega acids)
- Make sure you drink enough fluids; dry, irritated skin can also be caused by dehydration
- The use of body and laundry soap (esp. perfumed) can irritate your skin. Choose fragrance-free laundry soap and body care products instead
- Oatmeal baths can help with the inflammation and will also soothe the itching.
- Wear 100% cotton clothing (preferably organic) and use it for towels and bedding (remember we spend about 6-8h a day in our beds!)
- Give yourself a dry skin exfoliation!
How to dry skin exfoliate The best time to dry skin exfoliate is the morning before you shower; brushing off the dead skin cells before starting the day off. It also improves the lymph and blood circulation and thus decreases puffiness. All you need is a soft, natural bristle brush. Start at your feet, brushing in small circles towards your heart. Use only light pressure and avoid broken or very thin skin (face and inner thighs) or skin rashes. After your legs, move to your arms. Start brushing from your fingertips and again toward your heart. Brush your back from the top down toward your stomach, then start showering. Herbal Remedies that can help your skin heal from inflammation and help with dry skin Omega-3 acids (evening primrose oil or fish oil) have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.Milk Thistle can help detoxify your body, thus stop inflammation. Oil of Oregano has excellent antibacterial and antiviral properties. Consuming 2-4 drops daily can help from the inside out, or applying the oil topically can help with surface irritations. Turmeric (also used as a spice) has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Probiotics (Lactobacillus and Bifidus bacteria) help deal with your digestive tract and thus decrease inflammation inside your body. Zinc is an element that seems to be deficient in eczema patients Aloe when applied topically is soothing for itching, irritated skin. Sweet Almond Oil is a rich anti-inflammatory oil for use on the outside. Witch Hazel helps sooth the itching and can help close small wounds. Homeopathic Remedies There are many different remedies available for eczema, dry & irritated skin; a few are mentioned below: Antimoniumis great for people with thick, cracked skin. Usually, the itching gets worse from warmth and sun exposure. Arsenicum is used for people who are anxious, restless, very neat & orderly. Skin is usually dry, itches & burns intensely, and scratching makes it worse. Calc. Carb. is ideal for people with eczema & cracking skin that is worse in winter time. Calendula can be used for people with irritated skin that has tendency to get infected. Topical application is soothing and can ease inflammation and prevent infections. Graphites is great for people with tough & leathery skin with cracks and soreness. Cracked skin is found in areas behind ears, around mouth & on hands. Often, people will scratch until bleeding and usually worsen with heat Hepar sulf. for very sensitive and chilly people. The eczema are often extremely sore and easily infected. Rhus tox. is great for eczema with blister-like eruptions. Often red and swollen with an intense itch which can be soothed by hot applications Petroleum for extremely dry skin that tends to crack especially on fingertips and palms. Often worse in winter with deep sore cracks that often bleed. Sulphur for the intense burning, inflamed, and itchy eruptions. Skin usually worsen with heat and bathing. Written By: Renate Winkler, Pharmacist, Pure at Tuscany Village