Eczema is a type of dermatitis of the skin. It is not contagious. The symptoms will vary but common signs can include itchy skin that is scaly or crusty or red/dark rashes. In severe cases, there is a breakout of blisters that drain. Depending on the age (adults and children) of the patient, eczema can appear on nearly every part of the body. Eczema must be treated because it can become worse, a little better but it is incurable.
Eczema comes in different forms with atopic dermatitis being the most severe and longer-lasting. In addition to an atopic eczema condition, there are other types of eczema, each of which brings their own symptoms:
- seborrheic dermatitis
Eczema flare-ups can be treated with prescription medications as well as natural solutions. Many natural or alternative treatments can involve the following:
1. Holistic techniques
Emotional issues that trigger stress or anxiety causes atopic dermatitis. There is a symbiotic relationship between the body and the mind. Holistic treatments have proven successful in patients controlling flare-ups. These treatments include deep body massages, acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis and more
2. Natural topical products
Natural topical products help prevent skin infections. These products include aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar solution, colloidal oatmeal to make a paste, coconut oil, tea tree oil and honey (can be applied directly on the skin).
Supplements like vitamin D helps to repair the dermis and epidermis layer of the skin and lowers inflammation. Fish oil contains a fatty molecule that helps to counter the inflammation from eczema. Vitamin E strengthens the body’s immune system. L-Histidine is a supplement that helps to relieve a majority of eczema symptoms.
4. Food for healing
The types of foods we eat can also affect healing from an eczema outbreak because their ingredients help to bring much-needed relief. An eczema diet contains anti-inflammatory foods that help to reduce the inflammation of the skin. An eczema diet is all about anti-inflammatory foods, vitamin A, probiotics, healthy fatty acids, and high fiber ingredients, some of which include the following:
- fresh leafy greens: kale, spinach
- fruits: cherries, apples, bananas
- fish: salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring
- herbs/spices: cinnamon, turmeric
- yogurt: should contain live and active cultures
- broths: bone broth, beef, chicken
- green onions: scallions
- rice milk: non-dairy, made from grains
- beans: lentils, peas, soybeans
Foods that can trigger an eczema flare-up due to their chemical make-up includes dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, peanuts, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, saturated foods like deli meats and our beloved junk foods. in other words, foods that are highly acidic in nature.
5. Avoid eczema triggers
Unfortunately, the medical community is unsure as to why individuals including babies are prone to an eczema break-out. The more common reasoning is a DNA gene. An eczema break-out occurs in individuals for different reasons. However, the more common triggers are as follows:
- nickel metal allergy
- cigarette smoke
- soaps and household cleaners
- fabrics like wool and polyester
- using an antibacterial ointment
- glues and adhesives
- certain ingredients found in baby wipes, shampoos, and lotions
- tattoo dyes or leather dyes that come in contact with the skin
Eczema is treatable. This means that you must work closely with your dermatologist to keep flare-ups under control. Research is ongoing to find a cure for both adult eczema and pediatric eczema. In the meantime, watch your diet, wear loose clothing, watch your environment. If any of these daily lifestyle habits cause a flare-up, then you know what to watch out for. Also, in the month of October, the U.S. will celebrate National Eczema Awareness Month.