By: Christine Dale, BSN, RN, CLHRP
Dermatitis-inflammation of the skin
Phototherapy-a treatment of eczema using certain rays of light
The word "Eczema" is derived from a Greek term, meaning "to boil over". Individuals who suffer from this condition would readily agree that this term is an accurate depiction of what it means to have this bothersome condition!
"Eczema is not contagious.”
Millions of individuals have Eczema, but few of us have a solid understanding of what it is, and what to do about it! To begin to understand this condition, it is important to note that anyone can develop eczema, and that symptoms can range from mild to severe, during any given flare up. Eczema can develop at any age, and can appear anywhere on the body. Some individuals find they “outgrow” the eczema they had as a child. While others, find their eczema follows them right into their adult years.
Eczema is not contagious. It is believed that eczema produces its irritating symptoms, due to a combination of an individual’s genetics and environmental triggers. In this sense, the body’s immune system responds at a heightened level, causing inflammation.
“The number one symptom is usually itchiness.”
Eczema symptoms vary for person to person, and from episode to episode. The number one symptom is usually itchiness. In fact, a complication that is often experienced due to itching, is bleeding. This occurs, due to the individual scratching the skin excessively hard. Subsequently, the areas of compromised skin, can be at risk for becoming infected. The following are other symptoms a person with eczema may experience during any given flare up:
Red or Inflamed Skin
Dark-colored Patches of the Skin
Rough, Scaly, or Leathery Skin Patches
Oozing, Crusting, or Peeling of the Skin
Swollen Areas of the Skin
“The best approach is prevention!”
While there is currently no cure for Eczema, there are many options to help you manage the symptoms. Each treatment or medication comes with its own side effects and considerations. Below are a few examples of each treatment, commonly used, today:
Examples of prescription medications can include: cortisone creams, dexamethasone, ranitidine, and prednisone.
Certain Aveeno® brand products boast a unique ability to quell the irritation from Eczema (with a large following of customers to back up this claim)!
Turmeric is showing some promise, in regard to an Eczema prevention option. It has long been heralded for its ability to calm inflammation in the body. Users can apply turmeric as a: ”milk”, paste, or oil, for relief, and there is new research investigating the effects of taking turmeric, internally, to combat Eczema, as well!
Light therapy has been used, to help heal the itchy, red rash that commonly accompanies Eczema. During a traditional phototherapy session, UVB rays bathe the individual to: reduce itch, calm inflammation, and increase vitamin D production (which invigorates the immune system).
Natural and Alternative Remedies:
We love a product called “Seabuckthorne Best Skin Ever™”, by living libations, to really combat the inflammation! As a bonus, you can add a couple of drops of peppermint oil, to reduce any itchiness!
Another great option, during shower time, is to use “Stone Crop Gel Wash”, by Eminence Organics. This gel cleanser is made from the soothing stone crop plant, which is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory!
Regardless of how the Eczema is treated, experts agree that prevention is the best approach to decreasing suffering! Avoiding known triggers is an important preventative measure. Also, maintaining a daily moisturizing regimen goes a long way in promoting the skin’s health. Soaps, fragrances, detergents, chemical sunscreens (those that require heat/light exposure to become effective), cosmetics, pets, and environmental allergens should all be investigated as possible causes of flare ups.
*As a side note: Many healthcare experts are now taking a closer look at triggers in the diet. It is believed that: wheat, dairy, and certain other foods can set off an inflammatory response in the body, which can produce an Eczema flare up! Eczema sufferers can now find information on a specific purported “Eczema Diet”, at eczemadiet.com.au. The beliefs and practices of this diet are outlined in their accompanied book: The Eczema Diet. There is also some belief, that “Paleo” diets are known to decrease inflammation in the body, thus reducing the symptoms experienced.
In summary, while Eczema is not cure-able, at this time, there is hope in the consistent management of symptoms through: identification, prevention, and education! A sound strategy for: preventing flare-ups, as well as management of symptoms, is crucial to maximize quality of life! Regular discussion with your healthcare provider, involving he or she in your Eczema “self-care” plan will increase the likelihood that your skin remains as healthy as possible!
The National Eczema Association. What
/nationaleczema.org/eczema/. Accessed January 7, 2018. is Eczema. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/. Accessed January 7, 2018.
Christine Dale is a Bachelor’s level Registered Nurse, and a Master Injector for Simply Beautiful Medical Spa of Arkansas. She and her husband adventure through life with their five children! Christine enjoys blogging about aesthetic procedures and health, and spends most of her free time reading about medical-aesthetic procedures and advancements, as well as attending educational and training opportunities to build her skills. She and her husband also enjoy parenting, fishing, hunting, and exploring Arkansas’ beautiful wilderness!