Eczema is an inflammatory condition that can affect people of all ages, causing the skin to become swollen, red and itchy. Inflammation is the body's response to pathogen or other irritant, however, sometimes the body can react too strongly as is the case with eczema.
What is eczema?
There are multiple types of eczema, with varying severities, but the term "eczema" is typically used to describe any type of itchy rash (dermatitis). Someone with eczema will experience itchy, red skin that may also peel, develop blisters, or weep. Atopic dermatatis is the most common and most severe form of eczema, affecting more than 30 million Americans, according to the National Eczema Association (NEA). This type of eczema usually presents within the first five years of life. Eczema can develop anywhere on the body, but is most often seen behind the knees, inside the elbows and on the face.
Individuals with asthma or who had hay fever are more susceptible to eczema. Eczema can also be caused by exposure to an irritating substance, an allergy, stress or cold, dry weather, especially during the wintertime. A combination of oral and topical treatments, typically steroids, is often used to treat eczema.
How to Manage Eczema
It's important to remember eczema isn't contagious but can be chronic. Since eczema is an inflammatory condition, it results in flare-ups as well as periods of clear skin. Here are some tips for keeping symptoms at bay and treating flare-ups, from the NEA and National Institutes of Health (NIH) and EczemaNet:
Take extra care to avoid irritating plants such as stinging nettle, poison oak and poison ivy when outside. Plants with leaves and stems that appear "fuzzy" are common irritants.
Avoid alliums (onions, garlic, chives and leeks) and handle citrus fruits with extra diligence.
While all plants should be handled with caution, the three to really stay away from are poinsettias, daisies and tulips.
Avoid scratching to allow the skin time to heal.
Keep skin moisturized at all times.
Use gentle skincare products and other health and beauty items, going natural whenever possible.
Always where clean clothes that are loose fitting. Cotton is the best fabric choice, to prevent sweating and overheating, which are common triggers.
Keep your fingernails trimmed short to reduce the "effectiveness" scratching, so you stop doing it.
Don't take very long, hot showers.
Following these guidelines can help you keep your eczema under control for more clear days and less discomfort.
Topical Treatments for Eczema
There are many creams, lotions and serums available for treatment eczema flare-ups. Avoid artificial ingredients like colors or scents, preservatives and understand everything else that's been put in the jar or bottle. Menthol and camphor are common ingredients in topical treatments because they reduce itching and discomfort.
Additional ingredients to look for are vitamins A and E, which promote healing, emu oil, neem and burdock root. These ingredients are also known to be anti-inflammatory, calming the body's response that's triggering the flare-up. These herbal extracts, along with others like walnut, periwinkle and gotu kola are known to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties to prevent infection as well. Most topical treatments need to be applied several times a day for the duration of the symptoms.
Try following these suggestions if you feel your eczema isn't well controlled and speak with your doctor about the best options for your individual needs. Shop for everything you need to take care of your skin at eVitamins!