Eczema is a general term that describes an inflammation of the skin which is also known as dermatitis. There are different types of eczema like seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis etc. Though the disorder can have many causes and occur in many forms, it usually involves swollen, reddened and itchy skin. Eczema is a common condition that isn't life-threatening or contagious. But, it can make us feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. A combination of self-care steps and medications can help treat dermatitis. There are several types of eczema such as: Each has distinct signs and symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of eczema include redness, swelling, itching and skin lesions. A number of health conditions, allergies, genetic factors, physical and mental stressors, and irritants can cause eczema.
- Contact dermatitis results from direct contact with one of many irritants or allergens. Common irritants include laundry soap, skin soaps or detergents, and cleaning products. Possible allergens include rubber; metals, such as nickel; jewelry; perfume; cosmetics; weeds, such as poison ivy; and neomycin, a common ingredient in topical antibiotic creams. It takes a greater amount of contact with an irritant over a longer time to cause dermatitis than it takes for an allergen. If you're sensitized to an allergen, just brief exposure to a small amount of it can cause dermatitis. Once you develop sensitivity to an allergen, you typically have it for life.
- Neurodermatitis typically develops when something has created an itchy sensation in a specific area of our skin. This irritation may lead to rub or scratch skin repeatedly in that area. Common locations include ankles, wrist, outer forearm or arm, and the back of the neck. Neurodermatitis may also be associated with other skin conditions, such as dry skin, eczema or psoriasis. Contact dermatitis caused by allergens doesn't seem to be a factor, though.
- Seborrheic dermatitis causes a red rash with yellowish and somewhat "oily" scales, usually on the scalp. It's common in people with oily skin or hair, and it may come and go depending on the season of the year. It may occur during times of physical stress, travel or in people who have neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease. In infants, this disorder is known as cradle cap.
- Stasis dermatitis can occur when fluid accumulates in the tissues just beneath your skin, and typically involves the lower leg. The extra fluid interferes with our blood's ability to nourish the skin and places extra pressure against skin from underneath. Varicose veins and other chronic conditions that affect circulation in legs often cause this fluid buildup.
- Atopic dermatitis often occurs with allergies and frequently runs in families in which members have asthma or hay fever. It usually begins in infancy and may vary in severity during childhood and adolescence. It tends to become less of a problem in adulthood, unless we are exposed to allergens or irritants in the workplace. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown, but is likely due to a combination of dry, irritable skin together with a malfunction in the body's immune system. Stress can exacerbate atopic dermatitis, but it doesn't cause it.
- Perioral dermatitis may be a form of the skin disorder rosacea, adult acne or seborrheic dermatitis, involving the skin around the mouth or nose. The exact cause is unknown, but makeup, moisturizers, topical corticosteroids or some dental products containing fluoride may play a role.
Preventing contact dermatitis means avoiding coming into contact with those substances, such as poison ivy or harsh soaps that may cause it. Try to identify and avoid triggers that worsen the inflammation. Rapid changes of temperature, sweating and stress can worsen some forms of dermatitis. Avoid direct contact with wool products, such as rugs, bedding and clothes, as well as harsh soaps and detergents. Avoiding dry skin may be one factor in helping you prevent future bouts of dermatitis.
These tips can help you minimize the drying effects of bathing on your skin:
- Bathe less frequently. Most people who are prone to dermatitis don't need to bathe daily. Try going a day or two without a shower or bath. When you do bathe, limit yourself to 15 to 20 minutes, and use warm, rather than hot, water.
- Use only mild soaps. Choose soaps, such as Basis, Dove or Olay, that clean without excessively removing natural oils. Deodorant and antibacterial soaps may be more drying to your skin. Use soap only on your face, underarms, genital areas, hands and feet. Use clear water elsewhere.
- Dry yourself carefully. Brush your skin rapidly with the palms of your hands, or gently pat your skin dry with a towel after bathing.
- Moisturize your skin. Seal in moisture, while your skin is still damp, with oil or cream. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and the sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, consider using a lubricating cream made for dry skin.
These steps can help you manage dermatitis:
- Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the affected area.
- Apply cool, wet compresses.
- Take a comfortably cool bath.
- Avoid scratching whenever possible.
- Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing.
- Use a mild, unscented laundry detergent when washing clothes, towels and bedding.
Role of Homeopathy in Eczema:
Homeopathy can help in eczema by decreasing the susceptibility to various allergens and irritants. The extent of results depends upon the type of eczema, type of lifestyle improvement the patient is able to make. Strong family history of atopy, asthma or allergy may become a hurdle in the response to the treatment of eczema in the initial phase of the illness but these influences can be reduced with homeopathic medicines over a period of time. Constitutional homeopathic treatment approach is the best way to treat eczema permanently. Homeopathy has been found useful in all types of eczema.