Eczema is not a single disease but a reaction pattern of the skin produced by many different conditions.
There are at least eleven different types of skin conditions that produce eczema, such as:
- Pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema);
- Allergic contact dermatitis;
- Atopic dermatitis;
- Nummular eczema;
- Stasis dermatitis;
- Seborrheic eczema;
- Fungal infections;
- Xerotic (dry skin) eczema;
- Lichen simplex chronicus.
Eczema affects about 10 percent to 20 percent of infants and commonly starts in infancy, with 65% of patients developing symptoms in the first year of life and 90% develop symptoms before age 5.
An estimated 31.8 million people in the United States are estimated to have symptoms of eczema.
In the United Kingdom, it has been estimated that up to 16 million people could be living with eczema.
Eczema is usually itchy. For many individuals, the itch is commonly only mild, or moderate.
But in some cases, it can become much worse and you might develop an extremely inflamed skin.
Some individuals develop red bumps or clear fluid-filled bumps that look “bubbly” and, when scratched, add wetness to the overall appearance.
Additionally, in adults, chronic rubbing produces thickened plaques of skin.
In babies and children, it is seen in varying severity and different places on the body depending on age.
Face, head, and/or feet are the more usual areas for flares in babies and young children than adults.
Patients with eczema are prone to have food allergies causing either more subtle reactions or, in some cases, anaphylaxis.
There is also a risk of the skin becoming infected with pathogenic bacteria. Signs of a bacterial infection can include:
- generally feeling unwell;
- fluid oozing from the skin;
- a high temperature (fever);
- a yellow crust on the skin surface;
- the skin becoming sore and swollen;
- small yellowish-white spots appearing on the skin.
Moreover, eye complications may occur, with symptoms including:
- infection (conjunctivitis);
- inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis);
- itching around the eyelids.
Viral infections, especially herpes simplex virus, are more common in people with eczema.
The exact cause of this disease is unknown, but it’s thought to be connected to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant.
It is this response that causes the symptoms of eczema.
Moreover, it can also be triggered by environmental factors such as pollen and smoke. Mineral and vitamin deficiency can also play a big role in eczema.
Vitamins A, C, E, B are particularly important, due to the fact that some individuals become deficient in trace minerals, which are much harder to absorb with our soils being so depleted in modern times.
Foods can also trigger the disease, especially chemical food additives (such as colorings and preservatives), dairy products, meat, eggs, or nuts.
Common risk factors include:
- excessive sweating – the sodium found in perspiration can lead to irritation as it dehydrates the skin
- mother’s age at child’s birth – kids who are born to mothers who are later in their childbearing years are more likely to develop eczema;
- occupation – jobs which put you in contact with certain solvents, metals, or cleaning supplies substantially increase your chance of this skin condition;
- low humidity – the lack of moisture in low humidity areas may trigger the skin to react in a negative way;
- allergies – people who have allergies have a higher risk of developing eczema. Some allergens include – certain foods, molds, household dust mites, animal dander, and plant pollen.
Your doctor will commonly be able to diagnose eczema by assessing your skin and asking some questions about the condition, like:
- whether it has affected the typical areas, like skin creases, in the past;
- whether you have any other conditions which may be related to your eczema, like – asthma or allergies;
- whether there is a history of atopic eczema in your family;
- whether you have flare-ups of severe symptoms;
- when the symptoms first began;
- whether the rash is itchy.
Commonly recommended treatment for eczema include:
- topical steroids – low potency topical corticosteroids are available over the counter for short-term treatment;
- antihistamines – these medications control the itch;
- bandages – they allow the body to heal underneath;
- cytokine therapies – they are usually used in severe cases and target the immune system response;
- emollients (moisturizers) – they are used every day to stop the skin from becoming dry
- get a humidifier since dry air can be stressful for your skin;
- light therapy – this treatment is used for people who either who rapidly flare again after treatment or don’t get better with topical treatments.
Avoid common irritants such as:
- animal fur or dander;
- wool or synthetic fibers;
- soaps and detergents;
- cigarette smoke;
- some cosmetics and perfumes;
- dust mites;
- dust or sand;
- substances like mineral oil, chlorine, or solvents.
Take Shorter Showers Baths
Limit your showers and baths to a maximum of 10 minutes. Also, bath oil may be helpful.
In addition, use warm, rather than hot, water.
Some foods, such as cows’ milk and eggs, can trigger eczema symptoms.
Spiritual Causes of Eczema
Spiritual causes may include:
- Trying to keep the world at a distance;
- Feeling inadequate or unworthy;
- Isolating and locking yourself inside because of fear in coming out;
- Someone or something getting under your skin or feeling overexposed;
- Extreme sensitivity to circumstances and emotions around you.
Psychological stresses can also provoke or aggravate it, presumably by suppressing normal immune mechanisms.
”I release all fear I am holding in my skin.”
”I am comfortable and confident.”
”Peace and harmony, love and joy surround me and indwell me.”
”I clear all the ways I am afraid to let go of the old pattern thinkings to allow new ways to emerge.”
”I am safe and secure.”
”I release any feelings of being unsettled that I am holding in my skin.”