The word “eczema” describes a group of skin conditions that share similar symptoms, including swelling, irritation, and itchiness, and sometimes redness, burning, blisters, dryness, scaling, and oozing lesions. All these conditions have one thing in common—inflammation of the skin.
Types of eczema include the following:
- Atopic dermatitis—the most common type of eczema—is a lasting skin condition that creates dry, itchy, irritated skin and is thought to be caused by a malfunctioning immune system combined with genetic and environmental factors.
- Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to something the skin came in contact with, from personal care products to jewelry and detergents.
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis occurs only on the palms, fingers, and soles of the feet.
- Hand dermatitis (or hand eczema) includes any type of eczema that develops on the hands.
- Neurodermatitis occurs when the nerve endings in the skin become irritated, creating the itch response and the urge to scratch.
- Nummular dermatitis often occurs following a skin injury such as a burn or insect bite. Lesions are coin-shaped or oval.
- Occupational dermatitis includes any type of eczema caused by a person’s occupation or workplace.
- Seborrheic dermatitis begins on the scalp and can spread to the face. This type of eczema includes cradle cap and dandruff.
- Stasis dermatitis develops in the lower legs as a result of poor circulation.
Eczema can affect almost anyone, though young children are especially susceptible, with most cases appearing before the age of five. Many resolve themselves as children grow up, but some can continue to recur throughout adulthood. Eczema can also appear for the first time at puberty, however, or later.
What Causes Eczema?
Like many skin conditions, scientists aren’t sure what causes eczema, but theories include the following:
- The condition often seems linked to allergies and an over-reactive immune system.
- Cases seem to run in families, implying a genetic link.
- People who suffer from hay fever and/or asthma are more prone to eczema.
- People with sensitive skin may develop eczema when exposed to harsh detergents, fragrances and dyes, or other irritants.
- Exposure to other triggers like winter weather, stress and allergens can also cause flare-ups. (Read our post, Can Winter Cold Compromise Your Skin to the Point of Eczema? Natural Tips to Help.)
Tips to Help Manage Eczema
If you suspect you may have eczema, try some natural solutions first. Below are a few suggestions. If these don’t help your skin to heal, be sure to check with your doctor or dermatologist, as he/she may have topical medications that will help.
- Use lukewarm, not hot, water when you wash, and try to wash less frequently.
- Choose moisturizing, non-toxic cleansers and try to limit the number of washings per day.
- Moisturize immediately after every cleansing, and choose creams over lotions for more lasting hydration. Avoid harsh ingredients like drying alcohols, fragrances, and petroleum products.
- Try herbs and extracts like calendula and yarrow, which naturally help relieve itchiness; blueberry, which protects from germs; licorice, which helps reduce swelling and redness; and chamomile, which is naturally calming.
- Try moisturizing with natural, virgin oils like coconut (highly recommended for many skin conditions), rosemary, and sesame.
- Add oatmeal to your bath and soak—it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and will help calm and soothe your skin.
- Try natural vitamin E on the affected areas—it can help moisturize and heal.
- Find out if your eczema is triggered by allergies, then try to reduce your exposure to the allergen.
- Avoid typical triggers like bar soap, perfumes, harsh cleaning products, some metals (like nickel), chlorinated swimming pools, cigarette smoke, and weeds.
- Wear soft cotton fabrics, as synthetics may irritate skin and cause a flare-up.
- If stress triggers your eczema, try meditation, regular exercise, or other stress-management techniques.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom overnight to help keep skin moist.
CV Skinlabs Products for You:
- Calming Moisture for Face, Neck & Scalp: aloe vera and oat extract reduce redness and itch while this lotion soothes and hydrates. BUY NOW!
- Body Repair Lotion: Tri-Rescue Complex provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to calm and soothe skin. BUY NOW!
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Protect Your Skin, Protect Your Health
No matter what type of compromised skin you may have, you’re more at risk from exposure to toxic chemicals. Since most personal care products and cosmetics contain potentially harmful ingredients, it’s important to always read labels and use only safe, nurturing formulas that will enhance the condition of your skin. Click here for a list of Ingredients to Avoid in your personal care products.