Eczema Symptoms? Types, Risk factors, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments and Prevention

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A common skin condition marked by itchy and inflamed patches of skin is called eczema. The skin of any part of your body can be attacked by eczema. Although people of all ages can be attacked by eczema, children are more prone to be attacked by this disease. In the U.S, about 10-20 percent infants and 3% adults are attacked by eczema.

Types of Eczema

  1. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It is a chronic and persistent type of eczema. Patients with atopic dermatitis have very sensitive skin and a reduced threshold for irritation.

  1. Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis occurs particularly on the scalp, on the eyebrows, on the eyelids, on the sides of the nose, and behind the ears. It causes itchy, red, scaly rashes.

  1. Contact dermatitis

From the name it can be understood that contact dermatitis is caused by contact with irritants. Burning, itching, and redness occur due to the contact of irritant. The inflammation goes away after the removal of the irritant.

  1. Dyshidrotic dermatitis

Dyshidrotic dermatitis is more common in women. It generally affects fingers, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Dyshidrotic dermatitis causes itchy, scaly patches of skin that flake or become red, cracked, and painful.

  1. Nummular dermatitis

This type of eczema generally attacks during winter season. Nummular dermatitis is more common in men. It causes dry, round patches of skin and usually affects the legs.

5 Common Risk Factors of Eczema

Factors that increase the risk of being attacked by eczema include:

  1. Family history of eczema

People having a family history of eczema are at more vulnerable condition to be attacked by eczema.

  1. Parental hay fever or asthma and allergy

Parental hay fever or asthma and allergy increase the risk of being by eczema of the children.

  1. Diverse solid food diet

Children exposed to diverse solid-food diet at their early age had increased risks of eczema.

  1. Occupation

If you do such a job where you have to stay in contact with certain metals, solvents or cleaning supplies you are at high risk of being attacked by contact dermatitis. For example, being a health care worker is related to hand eczema.

  1. Health condition

Certain health condition is responsible to be attacked by eczema. For example, if you are a patient of congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease and HIV, you are at high risk to be attacked by seborrheic dermatitis.

Causes of Eczema

  1. Overactive Immune System

An overactive immune system responds to the presence of irritants aggressively and causes eczema.

  1. Abnormal response to protein

Eczema is also caused by an abnormal response to proteins that are part of the body. Typically, the immune system attacks only the proteins of invaders, such as bacteria or viruses and ignores proteins that are part of the human body. In case of eczema, the immune system cannot distinguish between the two.

  1. Nickel containing jewelry

Sometimes, jewelry containing nickel causes contact eczema.

Eczema Triggers

Several factors may trigger your eczema symptoms such as-

  • Wearing dresses made of rough and scratchy material such as- wool
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Changes of temperature
  • Sudden fall of humidity
  • Stress
  • Allergy to certain food
  • Animal dander
  • Upper respiratory infections

Symptoms and Signs of Eczema

  • If you are going to be attacked by eczema, the first symptom you will experience is intense itching.
  • Red color rash appears later and has bumps of different sizes.
  • The rash itches and may burn.
  • If you scratch it, it may ooze and become crusty.
  • In case of adults, thickened plaques of skin are produced by chronic rubbing.
  • Having one or more coin shaped areas are referred to as nummular eczema and can be confused with fungal infections.
  • Sometimes red bumps or clear fluid-filled bumps appear. This type of eczema commonly occurs on the sides of the finger in dyshidrotic eczema and also called pompholyx.
  • Painful cracks in the skin may develop with time.
  • If eczema attacks on your eyelids, it becomes puffy, red, and itchy.
  • The itching may be so intense that it interferes with sleep.

Diagnosis of Eczema

You can consult with primary-care physicians (family practice, pediatrics, or internal-medicine doctors) or dermatologists to diagnose and get relief from eczema.

How the Experts Diagnose Eczema?

  • Taking Medical History:

In order to diagnose your disease, the doctor will take your medical history. So if you already have taken any drugs to get relief from itching, do not forget to share it with him; also share whether you have benefited by taking that drug or not.

  • Taking Family History:

As eczema may also occur due to heretical reason, the doctor may want to take your family history.

The doctor may also ask you the following question:

  • Do you use any substance like soaps or cosmetics that tend to irritate your skin?
  • Are you going through any stress?
  • What type of jewelry do you use?

 

  • Pathological Test:

  • A portion of skin may be removed (a biopsy) to be examined by a pathologist.

  • Key Elements to Identify Eczema:

Doctors generally look for the three key elements in identifying eczema and they  are-

  • Characteristic of appearance and distribution of a chronic rash;
  • Severe itching and
  • Personal or family tendency toward asthma and hay fever.

Treatment of Eczema

If your disease is at the primary level, all you need is good skin care. But if your disease is at the moderate or severe level you may need medicine and you may also have to change some of your habits.

Emollients (Moisturisers)                     

Emollients are important background treatment for all types of eczema. Emollients include creams, lotions and oils that decrease the loss of water from the skin. They provide a protective barrier to keep moisture in your skin and cure irritation. There are a large number of emollient products available in the market. It is better to choose an emollient according to the suggestion of expert.

Usage: Emollients should be used at least twice per day or more often if you have very dry skin.

Steroid         

Different formulations of steroids, such as creams or ointments or tablets, are available at market having different strengths for different parts of the body. Steroid tablets are rarely used now-a-days for the treatment of eczema. Creams and ointments containing steroid are very helpful to lessen inflammation. Steroid creams and treatments are the most effective treatment for eczema flare-ups as they can lessen inflammation within a few days. They are safe if appropriate strengths are used in the right place for the right amount of time. So if you do not have any idea which steroid cream and ointments are best for you, take suggestion from your doctor.

Usage:  Usually steroid creams and treatments only need to be used only once a day.

Antihistamines Medicine    

Antihistamines medicines are also helpful to reduce itching during flare-ups. Sedating antihistamines can be used to relieve itching at night, but they make you drowsy. On the other hand, non-sedating antihistamines are helpful to get relief from long-term itching.

Calcineurin inhibitor cream or ointment                 

Calcineurin inhibitor Cream or ointment is generally recommended for moderate to severe eczema, or eczema that does not respond to other treatments. They lessen inflammation.

Usage: Where topical steroids cannot be used for long periods, there calcineurin inhibitor Cream or ointment is used. For example, in case of facial eczema, around the eyelids it is used.

Phototherapy                   

Phototherapy means exposing the eczema to artificial ultraviolet light. It prevents scratching and also helpful to stop the drying out of skin.

Usage: Phototherapy is effective for severe eczema or eczema that does not respond to other treatments.

Immunosuppressant medication                   

Immunosuppressant medication cures eczema by suppressing your immune system, such as cyclosporine, azathioprine and methotrexate. They are recommended by dermatologists for severe eczema, or eczema that does not respond to other treatments.

Alitretinoin capsules                  

Alitretinoin Capsules reduce irritation and itchiness. They are generally suggested for severe long-term eczema on the hands in adults.

Top 10 Effective Home Remedies for Eczema

  1. Coconut oil for eczema

Oil is one kind of lipid that prevents your skin from being dry. Coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and that is why it is very helpful to soothe your skin when you feel itchy during a flare-up; it is also helpful to lessen the inflammation.

How to use coconut oil to cure eczema?

  • Take a cotton ball and dip it into coconut oil.
  • Rub the ball over the eczema affected area.
  • You can also apply a fresh coconut paste over the eczema affected area.
  • It is not essential to wash with clean water.
  • Apply at least two times per day. There is no problem if you apply coconut oil over the eczema affected area more than two times.
  1. Jojoba oil for eczema

Jojoba oil is not actually an oil, it is one kind of wax. Jojoba oil is rich in moisture and it is composed of long chain fatty acids and fatty alcohols. It penetrates deep into the skin and locks moisture into the skin.

How to use jojoba oil to cure eczema?

  • Take a cotton ball and dip it into jojoba oil. The ball will absorb the oil.
  • Rub the ball gently over the eczema affected area.

Apply jojoba oil at least two times per day to cure eczema.

  1. Soothing butter for eczema

You can prepare soothing butter by yourself to soothe those dry, itchy, painful patches of skin. You can prepare soothing butter easily by combining 3 fantastic healing ingredients and these ingredients are-

  1. a) Jojoba oil
  2. b) Shea butter
  3. c) Coconut oil

I have already described the benefits of coconut oil and jojoba oil. So, it is unnecessary to describe it again.

Shea is rich in non-saponifiable fatty acids, namely stearic and oleic. The term non-saponifiable means that it cannot be saponified, or hydrolyzed, and can be converted to soap. Stearic and oleic acid have a wonderful ability to repair, heal, and soften damaged skin. Shea can also help lessen inflammation.

Beeswax is used as a medium thicken this butter, but it also protects and softens skin.

How to prepare soothing butter to cure eczema?

Ingredients Required amount
Shea butter 2 tbsp
Beeswax 2 tbsp
Coconut oil 6 tbsp
Jojoba oil 4 tbsp
Lavender essential oil (optional) 1 or 2 drops

 

  • At first melt down the beeswax and jojoba completely.
  • Once they are melted, add them into the coconut oil and keep stirring until it is fully melted.
  • Lower the heat a tad and add the Shea butter, keep stirring until it melts.
  • Pour the mixture into an airtight glass jar.
  • Allow it to cool.

How to use soothing butter to cure eczema?

  • During using, add a drop or two of lavender essential oil and give it a little stirring.
  1. Apple cider vinegar for eczema

Vinegar is one kind of liquid, consisted of acetic acid and water. It is produced by the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria. Apple cider vinegar has an incredible ability to soothe skin inflammation and burning, it also acts as a disinfectant.

How to use apple cider vinegar to cure eczema?

There are several ways to use apple cider vinegar to cure eczema.

Way 1: using diluted apple cider vinegar

  • Mix equal amount of apple cider vinegar and water and thus dilute the vinegar. But if you have a sensitive skin, dilute ¼ cup of ACV with 3 cups of water.
  • Take a cotton ball and soak it into the diluted vinegar.
  • Rub the cotton ball gently over the affected area for 3-4 minutes.
  • You can also preserve diluted apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and can spritz the vinegar over the affected area.
  • Apply twice per day to get maximum benefit.

Way 2: Taking bath using apple cider vinegar

  • Warm up your bath water.
  • Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in the warm water.
  • Soak for at least half an hour.
  • Take an apple cider vinegar bath for three times per week to get maximum benefit.
  • You can add 1/3 cup of sunflower or safflower oil also if you have dry skin patches.

Way 3: Apple cider vinegar with baking soda

  • Taking ½ cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into it.
  • After stopping the fizzing drink it.
  • You can also drink this liquid by mixing it with tea or honey.
  • In order to get maximum benefit drink it daily.
  1. Aloe Vera for eczema

Aloe Vera has so many health benefits that it is called magical herb. It works as humectant, which seals moisture in the epidermis (top layer of the skin). It can decrease infections and prevent breeding of various bacteria and yeast. The anti-inflammatory characteristics of aloe vera soothes inflamed eczema and itching. There are several ways to use aloe vera to get rid of eczema diseases.

How to use aloe-vera to cure eczema?

Way 1: Fresh aloe vera

  • Extract gel from an aloe vera leaf.
  • Then apply it on the affected areas and leave it on for 20-25 minutes.
  • Rinse off with fresh water.
  • Repeat it 3 times per day.

Way 2: Aloe vera with juice

  • Prepare fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel in the juice and stir for some time.
  • Drink it regularly.
  • You can use lukewarm water instead of juice also.

Way 3: Aloe vera with coconut oil

  • Mix 1/3 cup of aloe vera with 1/2 cup of coconut oil (solid) and add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice.
  • Whisk the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes using an electric or hand whisker.
  • Then transfer the whipped mixture into an airtight container and preserve it in the refrigerator.
  • Scoop out enough mixture and apply on affected areas.
  • Leave it on till the skin absorbs it completely.
  • Make a fresh batch of the mixture in every 3 weeks.

Way 4: Aloe vera with olive oil

  • Scooping out gel from an aloe vera leaf take 1 tablespoon of it in a small bowl and add a few drops of olive oil.
  • Stirring it well make a fine mixture.
  • Massage it gently over the affected area.
  • Repeat it twice per day.

Way 5: Aloe vera with Shea butter and cocoa butter

  • Mix up 3 grams aloe vera gel with 30ml unscented butter base, 5 grams cocoa butter, 15gms Shea butter, and 2 grams vitamin E oil.
  • Preparing a fine mixture store it in an airtight container.
  • Scooping out enough mixture apply it over the affected areas.
  • Repeat it daily to get the best result.

Way 6: Aloe vera with Calendula

  • Make a fine mixture of freshly extracted aloe vera gel and Calendula.
  • Massage the mixture gently over affected areas.
  • Keep it until the skin absorbs the mixture completely.
  • Apply it daily to cure from eczema.
  1. Olive oil for eczema

Olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and this omega-3 fatty acid is helpful to reduce inflammation and irritation. Penetrating deep into the epidermis olive oil nourishes and softens the skin without causing any allergic reactions. You can use it by adding with coconut oil, vinegar, sugar, tea tree oil, cabbage leaves, etc. You also can take a bath using this oil.

How to use olive oil to cure eczema?

Way 1: Olive oil with coconut oil and vinegar

  • Take ½ cup olive oil and add add 1/4 cup of vinegar (preferably apple cider vinegar) ½ cup coconut oil into it.
  • Stirring it well make a fine mixture.
  • You can also add a little sea salt and pepper into the mixture.
  • Store the mixture in an air tight container.
  • Before applying the mixture over the eczema affected area do not forget to warm it.
  • In order to cure eczema within a short time use this mixture twice per day.

Way 2: Olive oil with sugar

  • Take equal quantities of sugar and olive oil and mix it well.
  • Apply the mixture on the eczema affected skin area.
  • Keep it for 5-7 minutes.
  • Wash it off with fresh cold water.

Way 3: Olive oil with tea tree oil

  • Warm water to take a shower.
  • Add 15 drops of tea tree oil and 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into the water.
  • Soak yourself for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Have this shower once daily.
  • You can also make a mixture by adding 20 drops of tea tree oil in 1/2 cup of olive oil and apply this mixture directly on the eczema affected skin area.
  • You can also mix olive oil with any of the essential oil and apply this mixture on the affected area to be cured.

Way 4: Olive oil with cabbage leaves

  • At first wash cabbage leaves well and let it dry.
  • Then soak these cabbage leaves in olive oil for a few minutes until these leaves absorb the oil and become soft.
  • Keep these leaves on the affected skin area and cover with a linen cloth.
  • Keep it for 2-3 hours and then rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat it daily until you get relief from eczema.

Way 5: Olive oil with baby lotion

  • Take some scent free baby lotion and add some extra virgin olive oil into it.
  • Stir it well and make a fine mixture.
  • Massage this mixture over the eczema affected areas.
  • Leave it on for at least 1 hour
  • Wash it off with water.
  • Repeat the same process daily for 3-4 weeks.
  1. Turmeric for eczema

Turmeric is a root of the plant Curcuma longa. Turmeric is safe to use both externally and internally to cure skin disorders.  Curcumin is the active ingredient possessed by turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory and bactericidal property. It lowers the release of enzymes responsible for inflammation in the body and thus treats inflammation of skin associated with eczema.

How to use turmeric to cure eczema?

Way 1: Turmeric juice

  • Add about ½ teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of milk.
  • Drink it to treat bacterial infections responsible for redness and itching.
  • Drink it twice per day and it will cure you internally.

Way 2: Turmeric with neem

  • Make a paste of both turmeric and neem leaves.
  • Mix up these 2 pastes very well.
  • Apply this mixture over the eczema affected area.
  • Leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash it off with cold water.
  • Apply this paste regularly.

Way 3: Turmeric with aloe vera

  • Take 1 tablespoon of aloe vera and add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder into it.
  • Mix it well.
  • Apply the turmeric-aloe paste over the affected area.
  • Leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash with normal water.
  • It is better to apply this paste regularly to get the maximum benefit.

Way 4: Turmeric with olive oil

  • Take 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and add 3-4 drops of olive oil into it.
  • Then mix it well and thus prepare a fine paste.
  • Apply the paste over the eczema affected skin area.
  • Leave it for 15-20 minutes.
  • Wash it off with normal water.
  • Do this daily to get rid of eczema quickly.
  1. Baking soda for eczema

Baking soda is a natural antiseptic, It’s gentle foaming action can clean sensitive eczema spot deeply. It reduces rashes and inflammation, balances pH, detoxifies the skin and strengthens the skin to prevent further flare ups.

How to use baking soda to cure eczema?

Way 1: Taking shower using baking soda

  • Take warm water for taking shower and add ¼ cup of baking soda into it. This is a very small amount that is safe for even small baby.
  • You can also add any of your preferred bath oil into it.
  • After taking bath, dry yourself properly.

Way 2: Using baking soda paste

  • Take 1 tablespoon of baking soda and add 3 teaspoons of water into it.
  • Then make a fine paste.
  • Apply this paste over the eczema affected area.
  • Leave it for 5-10 minutes.
  • Wash with clean and cold water.
  • Apply this daily to cure eczema.
  1. Chamomile bath for eczema

Chamomile has incredible power to soothe the skin. It lessens inflammation, represses itchiness, and heals spots that may have been overly-scratched at. It contains natural alcohol known as a-bisabolol, or levomenol. Bisabolol has eases irritation, reduces inflammation; it also has anti-microbial effects and this anti-microbial effects can help ward off any germs that decide to take advantage of your skin in its weakened state.

How to use chamomile to cure eczema?

  • Take 4 tablespoons of dried (German) chamomile flower in a muslin or cheesecloth bag. and tie it off.
  • Then soak it into your bath water for an hour.
  • Then take a bath with this water.
  • Take this bath regularly to cure eczema.
  1. Magnesium (Epsom salt) bath for eczema

Taking magnesium bath is helpful to get rid of eczema.

How to use magnesium (Epsom salt) to cure eczema?

  • Take 1-2 cups of magnesium (Epsom salts), 1/2 cup Himalayan or Sea Salt, 1/2 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract.
  • Add these components in your bath water.
  • If you want you can also add 10-15 drops of essential oil or lavender oil or mint.
  • Take a bath using this water.
  • After taking bath pat dry yourself properly.

Caution: If you have allergy to any of these ingredients, do not use that since it may make your condition worse.

Prevention of Eczema

Prevention is better than cure. That’s why it is better to take cautions so that eczema cannot attack you.

  • Eczema trigger identification: Try to identify the trigger that causes eczema and avoid those triggers.
  • Shorter baths or showers: Do not take a bath for a long time; limit your bath time from 10 to 15 minutes. It is better to use warm water rather than hot water for a bath, you may also use bath oil.
  • Mild soaps: Deodorant and antibacterial soaps may make your skin dry. So, use mild soaps as they are good for the prevention of eczema attack.
  • Use moisturizer: Use moisturizer, such as – creams, lotions or oil to prevent dryness.

Bottom line:

Skin is the first protective layer of our body. Its infection or disease means that our internal organs are going to fall in risky condition. That’s why, we should take care of our skin so that it cannot be affected by eczema or if it is affected we should not wait to take proper steps immediately to get rid of this disease.

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