Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed lesions. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring. The severity of the disease can vary. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, whilst in more severe forms the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding. Although it can sometimes look unpleasant, Excema is not contagious. With treatment the inflammation of Excema can be reduced, though the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.
Excema cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. It is especially distressing in children, but a large proportion do grow out of it. (I can only hope so for this child)
National Eczema Association
There are a number of effective eczema treatments available, both medical and natural. Some eczema remedies are well proven, but some only work in a minority of cases.
There is a large variety of medical treatments available to eczema sufferers. Normally, the first line of eczema treatment is to use a moisturizer or eczema cream to reduce or prevent inflamation in the skin. The course of action varies depending on the type of eczema and the severity of the occurrence.
• Moisturizers are a great way to remoisturize dry skin. However, not all moisturizers work on eczema affected skin, infact some moisturizers can do more damage than good. Be sure to use a moisturizer that does not contain perfumes or dyes. Consult your doctor to find out the best moisturizers for people with eczema.
• Eczema creams (also known as anti-inflammatory creams) contain topical steroids, called corticosteroids, that work by reducing and preventing inflamation in the skin. Some anti-inflammatory creams are available over the counter, but some require a prescription.
• Oral antihistamines work by combating the bodies natural output of a substance called histamine, which causes inflamation in the skin. Histamines can cause rashes and alergic reactions, so using antihistamines can be a good choice for some. Some oral antihistamines are available over the counter, whereas some require a prescription and a medical consult.
• Phototherapy involves exposing the skin to light, particularly ultraviolet light and infared radiation. This is usually done in small doses, in a controlled environment. Over-exposure to ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, so always go to an experienced professional for this type of treatment. Done properly, phototherapy can be completely safe.
Natural eczema treatments use natural ingredients such as vitamins and herbs in order to take a more natural approach to the treatment of eczema.
• Improving you diet by avoiding food which you are sensitive to (most likely some wheat and dairy products and sugar) is an easy and natural way to treat an outbreak of eczema.
• Vitamin B12 supplements may work to treat eczema since it is believed by some medical experts that eczema can occur in people that are deficient in vitamin B12.
• Herbs such as St. John's Wort and chamomile can be applied in ointment form directly to the skin.
• Evening primrose oil can promote healing in the skin.
• Zinc supplements, in small doses of less than 30mg a day, can be effective against eczema since it promotes healthy skin.
It is important to learn as much as you can about the natural remedies and treatments that you may want to try since they may not work or, if not taken correctly, may cause more harm than good.
This child has suffered since the age of one, and is not my only child that suffers from this. We have tried many things to ease the pain and heal the skin.