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Eczema - Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

54597 Views 20 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  danabug
Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis is the chronic allergic skin disorder. The condition is a hypersensitivity reaction similar to an allergy, causing inflammation of the hands, scalp, face and back.

What Are the Symptoms?
No matter which part of the skin is affected, eczema is almost always itchy. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, and most commonly occurs on the face, knees, hands, or feet, but may also affect other areas.

Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker.

In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that occurs mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.

What Causes It?
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body's immune system to an irritant. It is this response that causes the symptoms of the disease. In addition, eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.

Some people may suffer "flare-ups" of the itchy rash in response to certain substances or conditions. For some, coming into contact with rough or coarse materials may cause the skin to become itchy. For others, feeling too hot or too cold, exposure to certain household products like soap or detergent, or coming into contact with animal dander may cause an outbreak. Upper respiratory infections or colds may also be triggers. Stress may cause the condition to worsen.

Although there is no cure, most people can effectively manage this condition with treatments and by avoiding irritants. The condition is not contagious and can't be spread from person to person.

How Is It Diagnosed?
A pediatrician, dermatologist, or your primary care provider can make a diagnosis of eczema. Since many people with eczema also suffer from allergies, your doctor may perform allergy tests to determine possible irritants or triggers, especially among children.

The source or cause of eczema is unknown. While genetics and heredity may play a role, it is often related to various forms of dermatitis, which can be triggered by numerous things. Itchy, red, scaly skin often indicates an allergic reaction. Common triggers include pets, plants, laundry detergents, soaps and scented lotions, dust mites, foods (mainly dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy), and drug interactions or side-effects.

Eczema is not particularly hard to diagnose for a physician. It manifests itself anywhere on the body, and in children quite often in the joints (in the creases of the elbows or behind the knees). In adults it often appears in areas like the hands as they are constantly exposed to water or cleaning agents. It can appear as dryness, scaly skin, weeping bumps, and as various other forms. It is very important to have your skin diagnosed by your healthcare provider to determine an exact diagnosis.

There is no cure for eczema, but it is manageable. Delaying treatment, especially in children, can cause excessive itching to the point of bleeding and leading to skin infections. Most children will outgrow eczema by their early teens. Many children that suffer from eczema also suffer from hay fever, allergies, and asthma. It is very important to have your child diagnosed by your healthcare provider.

How Do You Treat Eczema?
Knowledge is key when suffering from any sort of health-related issue. The more you know about what triggers any unpleasant effects to the body, the better you can prevent yourself from suffering. We definitely believe that prevention is better than treatment.

Ever thought about keeping a journal of what you did or ate the day before your eczema flare-up occurred? Normally triggers that cause eczema do not actually manifest themselves as eczematic eruptions until 24-48 hours after exposure. Can you see a trend in your diet or stress levels with your skin condition?

Here are some quick tips about how to care for your skin when it is ultra-sensitive or suffering from eczema:

Limit exposure to soaps, essential oils, scented lotions or creams, solvents, outdoor chemicals, fertilizers, latex, and household cleaning supplies. If exposure does occur, always rinse hands and dry them thoroughly. Dampness can often exaggerate symptoms.

Do not sit in baths, take showers. Limit them to 10 minutes maximum. Use soaps or cleansers ONLY where you need them (groin, armpits, and other fold of skin). Immediately after showering, apply a gentle/mild lotion all over the body. This will help trap in moisture. Do not use oils, especially baby oil or anything with lanolin, essential oils, mineral oils, or any form of petrolatum.
Use a moisturizer everyday.

Itchy skin does not like wool and other synthetic fabrics. Choose natural fibers that breathe, like cotton. If your child itches at night, make sure you use a good mild/gentle lotion on them at night before bed, their nails are cut short, and if the itching is quite troublesome, slip gloves on you child as a precautionary step. Also make sure there are no feathers or down of any sort in their pillow or blankets. Ensure their sheets, quilts and pillowcases are washed regularly with bleach or anything else known to kill dust mites. Do not allow pets into their rooms onto their beds EVER.

If you must work with plants or chemicals all day, wear gloves.
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I had to deal with a very long bout of Peri-Oral Dermatitis. The best way to explain it is the way my dermatologist explained it to me: It's both eczema and acne that grows on top of each other around your mouth and chin (that's where the oral part comes in). It was awful and I dealt w/it for 2 long years. Funny thing is one day I just forgot about it and now as I sit here I just realized I forgot I ever even had it...hmmmm that's weird it hasn't come back for almost a year now. I know that stress was the major cause for this.
I agree with bad cat.... stress is a major issue for me.
This is fairly easy to treat, essential oil of Rosemary, Benzoin oleoresin, and Alpha Lipoic acid. For memory its 10 drops Rosemary, 10 Drops Benzoin, 0.5% of Alpha Lipoic acid, 5% emulsifying wax like NF or Vegetable wax 10-15% olive oil and the rest good old water. heat the water separately to 75c and the wax and oil to 75c use a high speed mixer to beat as you add the oil/wax to the water and keep mixing until around 25c add the rest of the ingredients and also tou should add a broad spectrum preservative like 0.5% phenoserve or plantaserve Q if you do not want parabens. By the way Parabens are safe as at 0.5% some people try to make these sound like nasty stuff but its used in 90% of cosmetics, shampoo and thing.

Climate as the causes of eczema is not proven. However, it is witnessed that the eczema normally improves in humid regions, hills over 1500 meters high, and seashore regions. Eczema is seen to get worse in autumn season due to central heating system used to reduce humidity from the indoors in autumn.


There are certain kinds of food that can set off eczema. Following food stabilizers are no exception to that.


* Tartrazine E102
* Erythrosine E123
* Amaranth E12


* Butyl Hydroxyanisole E320
* Butyl Hydroxytoluene E321


* Parabens E214 to E218
* Sodium Benzoate E211
* Sorbic Acid E200
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Those who suffer from eczema will know that the symptoms can vary from mild dryness and itchiness that affect a small surface area of skin, to extreme itching, flaking, weeping or bleeding of large area of the body.
Crusty scabs that form once the weeping surface of the skin dries out. If these are dislodged by uncontrollable scratching (this may often happen unconsciously at night), the irritated area is likely to start weeping again. As a result, a vicious circle is set up, so that the skin becomes persistently inflamed and irritated.
Eczema often develops in babyhood or childhood, characteristically affecting the flexions (crooks of the elbows, backs of the knees and folds of skin behind the ears), and may often clear up spontaneously during, or after the teenage years. On the other hand, it may also develop in adulthood, remaining as a chronic problem that is subject to repeated flare-ups at regular intervals.
Eczema may be divided into two major types, which are categorized as atopic or contact eczema. The former usually develops in those who have a history of allergic problems, or whose relatives have suffered from asthma and/or hay fever, while the latter may be caused by contact with certain chemicals or metals such as detergents, bleaches, nickel or rubber.
Because an alternative medical approach to treatment regards skin problems as a superficial sign of a more deep-seated imbalance in the system as a whole, conditions of this kind are best treated by a trained practitioner. The practitioner will assess the case as a whole with a view to establishing optimum health and well-being for the patient on all levels, rather than concentrating on temporary alleviation of symptoms.
However, there are certain positive life style changes that can minimize the distress of skin disorders or discourage severe flare-ups of the condition. These are listed below, in addition to suggestions of alternative medicines that may be used for short-term relief of mild symptoms of eczema. However, it must be stressed that long-term management of well-established or severe skin disorders should be handled by a trained practitioner for all the reason given above.
* Be careful when using detergents, always selecting those that have been specially formulated for those who have sensitive or allergic skins. Most important of all, be sure to rinse items thoroughly after washing (rinsing twice over is a good rule to follow) to remove detergent residues from clothing, towels and bedclothes.
* Certain foods may aggravate eczema. Potential problem items may include:
* Wheat (which may be in thickening agents and sauces, as well as the more obvious bread and pasta).
* Convenience foods that include food colourings, additives and preservatives.
* Potatoes and other foods that belong to the nightshade family, including tomatoes, aubergines and green peppers.
*Although some eczema sufferers find that hot, sunny weather aggravates their condition, many find that carefully regulated, moderate exposure to sunlight improves it. However, great care should be taken to avoid overexposure to the sun, avoiding times of the day when it is at its strongest and most likely to cause damage to the skin. Use a sunscreen and always patch-test it first to check that it will not trigger off an adverse reaction. Apply the product to a very small area of skin for a few days, and wait to see if there is any reaction before using it on larger areas of the body.
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Great thread! I recently visited an allergist; and although we weren't able to isolate all of the allergens that are causing my atopic dermatitis, she did share some insight that I found valuable:

- the skin has a "memory" - that is why it is critical to continue treatment until a couple of days after the rash has disappeared to help the skin erase the memory of the itchy rash. She said that if you do not continue the treatment for a couple of days after the rash has disappeared, you may have it recur.
- hormones can play a role in increasing sensitivity, so some of you may experience heightened monthly sensitivity
The allergist gave me a sample of Atopiclair and an equivalent other product (sorry I forgot the name but can look it up if any of you are interested - I just leave the other one at work so I always have one at home and another at work). These are prescription-based (at least in the US) non-steroidal creams that really minimize itching for me. Every time I feel an itchy rash about to develop, I just apply the Atopiclair and it works! I haven't seen any warnings or risks associated with these products either.

She recommends using a steroid cream if I am in the throes of a rash though. So, my regime consists of moisturizing heavily with vanicream, applying Atopiclair (and other product) when I feel the onset of a rash, and applying the steroid cream in the throes of a rash until it has completely disappeared. So far, this approach seems to be making a huge impact, and I have significantly reduced my dependence on steroid creams. I'll know for certain over the next 4 weeks. Eventually, I hope to wean myself off of the vanicream (propylene glycol and petrolatum) and definitely off the steroid cream and replace these with some natural oil-based products.

Hope this helps others!
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For those of us who suffer from acne and eczema, what is a solution for us? I have oily skin, as well as very sensitive skin. I'm using a gentle cream formulated for babies, but I need a strong cream for my eczema. Any help?
Isn't eczema when parts of your skin are growing too quickly?

Yeah, I had rashes for a few years over my back and chest mainly. I tried a prescribed product called Selsun which did work but burns the skin as well.
The way I got rid of my eczema is by using lots of moisturiser on the affected areas everyday, without fail.
Sure enough it went away a few months later and I haven't had it since.
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Motherhood 7 ...

Kindly cease advertising in this manner ... this isn't something that is allowed within this type of thread ... and it is offensive ...

Thank you.
Apply coconut oil gently to the portion of eczema,or Mixture of 1 tbls of turmeric powder with bitter neem leaves juice applied to the affected area.This is very effective remedy for eczema.
There is no known cure for Eczema,
I suggest seeing a Naturopath for help.
When I went to a dermatologist and was diagnosed with Eczema, I was instructed to us Cetaphil cream (not lotion) immediately after showers and prescribed corticosteroids. I try to limit the use of the corticosteroids in order to avoid thinning of the skin, but just enough to manage the disease. Cetaphil, however, only exacerbated my condition by making my skin itchier than normal.
Has anybody heard about the Buteyko breathing method? I was sent this link about also check out the introduction video any comments or suggestions would be appreciated - many thanks Bill
My aunt has really bad eczema on her arms :{ She's tried everything, and on vacation we stumbled an all natural product in a health food store called Boo Boo Serum. Its a blend of organic ingredients. My aunt found great relief the first day. While it didn't completely heal her condition, it softened the skin, and stopped the intense itching. It's made me a believer of natural products. It works on other skin conditions too, like I cut my finger fishing, and it healed quick!
Not sure if mine is eczema or psoriasis, but I put hydrocortisone on it when I get it in the summer months
What do you guys use to control your eczema? I have a mild form of eczema on my hand. For some reason my rash comes and goes but lately it has become pretty bad.
Great post thanks for sharing right now I am trying to figure out if its eczema I got I never had this before but I when to see my dermo and she say she suspect it could be. I couldn't believe you can all of a sudden get eczema just like that but I am having some of the symptoms I read about mess up skin up so bad a few months with all the inching especially my body but good for me I bounce back quickly because I take a lot of vitamins the sad part of this all thing is I hate to believe that its the lactic acid that's irritating me I been using this for year with wonderful result but I got the new 90 percent from lotion crafter and formulating with that I try at low 12 percent but that cause a slight burning so I use ever lower still the same thing so I am thinking now is it possible that a acid can cause eczema?
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