Eczema

Eczema is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. Blisters may sometimes occur.

The word "eczema" is also used specifically to talk about atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema.

"Atopic" refers to a collection of diseases involving the immune system, including atopic dermatitis, asthma, and hay fever. Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin.

Some people outgrow the condition, while others will continue to have it throughout adulthood

Symptoms

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary, depending on the age of the person with the condition.

Atopic dermatitis commonly occurs in infants, with dry and scaly patches appearing on the skin. These patches are often intensely itchy.

Most people develop atopic dermatitis before the age of 5 years. Half of those who develop the condition in childhood continue to have symptoms as an adult.

However, these symptoms are often different to those experienced by children.

People with the condition will often experience periods of time where their symptoms flare up or worsen, followed by periods of time where their symptoms will improve or clear up.

Symptoms in adults

  • Rashes commonly appear in creases of the elbows or knees or the nape of the neck.
  • Rashes cover much of the body.
  • Rashes can be especially prominent on the neck, face, and around the eyes.
  • Rashes can cause very dry skin.
  • Rashes can be permanently itchy.
  • Rashes in adults can be more scaly than those occurring in children.
  • Rashes can lead to skin infections.

Adults who developed atopic dermatitis as a child but no longer experience the condition may still have dry or easily-irritated skin, hand eczema, and eye problems.

The appearance of skin affected by atopic dermatitis will depend on how much a person scratches and whether the skin is infected. Scratching and rubbing further irritate the skin, increase inflammation, and make itchiness worse.

Causes
  • Certain foods can trigger symptoms, such as nuts and dairy.
  • Symptoms vary according to the age of the person with eczema, but they often include scaly, itchy patches of skin.
  • Eczema can also be triggered by environmental factors like smoke and pollen. However, eczema is not a curable condition.
  • Treatment focuses on healing damaged skin and alleviating symptoms. There is not yet a full cure for eczema, but symptoms can be managed.
  • Eczema is not a contagious condition.
 

The specific cause of eczema remains unknown, but it is believed to develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Eczema is not contagious.

Children are more likely to develop eczema if a parent has had the condition or another atopic disease.

If both parents have an atopic disease, the risk is even greater.

Environmental factors are also known to bring out the symptoms of eczema, such as:

  • Irritants: These include soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, juices from fresh fruits, meats, or vegetables.
  • Allergens: Dust mites, pets, pollens, mold, and dandruff can lead to eczema.
  • Microbes: These include bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, and certain fungi.
  • Hot and cold temperatures: Very hot or cold weather, high and low humidity, and perspiration from exercise can bring out eczema.
  • Foods: Dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, and wheat can cause eczema flare-ups.
  • Stress: This is not a direct cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse.
  • Hormones: Women can experience increased eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in the menstrual cycle.

There are many different types of eczema. While this article has focused mainly on atopic dermatitis, other types include:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis: This is a skin reaction following contact with a substance or allergen that the immune system recognizes as foreign.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema: This is an irritation of the skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. It is characterized by blisters.
  • Neurodermatitis: This forms scaly patches of skin on the head, forearms, wrists, and lower legs. It is caused by a localized itch, such as an insect bite.
  • Nummular eczema: These show as circular patches of irritated skin that can be crusted, scaly, and itchy.
  • Stasis dermatitis: This is a skin irritation of the lower leg usually related to circulatory problems.
Herbs that help with eczema
 
Yarrow flower Sarsaparrilla berry Burdock plant
60 capsules
$16.00
Yarrow
flowers
 
60 capsules
$16.00
Sarsaparrilla
berry
 
90 capsules
$21.00
Burdock root  
Schizandra berry Hawthorne berry  
90 capsules
$31.00
Schizandra berry  
60 capsules
$16.00
Hawthorne
berry
 
 
 
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*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)