Eczema ( Dermatitis )

Eczema is a skin disorder, in which on skin appear scales and itchy rashes. Eczema can be acute or chronic and also occur due to number of causes. Eczema is a reaction of the skin to different products of environment (metals, dust, pollens, detergents, acids, alkalis etc). These product leads to inflammation of the skin. Depending upon the cause eczema is of various types .
Eczema is a common skin problem in young individuals.

eczema

 

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Eczema can be allergic also. Different type of eczema involves different age groups and with different causes.

Atopic dermatitis:
It is chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and is the most common cause of eczema. This condition tends to come and go depending upon exposures to triggers or causative agents. The common causes of this type may be environmental, food, perfumes or other allergies. Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families  and people who have history of other allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever.

Contact eczema:
It is localized reaction that includes redness, itching and burning in area where the skin eruptions appears after it comes in contact with allergen such as acids, cleansing agent or chemicals, detergents perfumes etc.

Seborrheic eczema:
This type is better known as dandruff.  It is caused due to irritation from toxic substance produced by Malassezia yeasts that lives on scalp, face and sometimes elsewhere. It affects the scalp, eyebrows, side of the nose, area behind the ears, groin and center of chest.  It causes skin to fall off in flakes.

Nummular eczema:
Eruption characterized by coins shaped patches of irritated skin. Skin filled with itchy little blisters and scales. Often the dry skin of middle age with family history of asthma or allergies is susceptible to this type.

Neurodermatitis:
It is also known as lichen simplex chronicus, which is chronic skin inflammatory condition caused by a scratch itch cycle that begins with localized itching such as insect bite etc that become intensely irritable when scratched. It affects women more than men and more frequently people from 20-50 years of age. This form of eczema results in scaly patches of skin on the head, lower legs, wrists or forearms where skin become thickened and leathery.

Stasis dermatitis:
Skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to the circulatory problems known as venous insufficiency in which the function of the valves within the veins has been compromised. It affects mostly middle age and early people over age of 50years. There is itching and reddish brown discoloration of the skin on one or both legs.

Dyshidrotic eczema (Dyshidrotic Dermatitis):
It is an irritation of the skin on the palms and feet (soles) characterized by clear, deep blisters with itching and burning. Blisters may then appear on the hands or fingers.  Eczema may become chronic and painful.
Gravitational dermatitis:
It arises on the lower legs of the elderly, due to swelling and poorly functioning of leg veins.

Dermatitis herpetiformis:
Itchy blisters appear in result from sensitivity to gluten or to dairy products and possibly other foods such as citrus.
Race of Eczema

Study shows Asians and blacks report more frequently with atopic dermatitis especially with family history of allergy.

Causes of Eczema

• Dry skin
• Stress
• Long hot baths or showers
• Staphylococcal bacteria
• Rubbing
• Wool or man-made fabrics or clothing
• Low humidity
• Solvents, cleaners , soaps or detergents
• Dust and /or pollens
• Tobacco, smoking
• Excessive heat
• Some foods depending on the sensitivity of the person
• Sweating
• Jewelery or artificial ornaments.
• Environmental factors like pollution, irritants etc.

Eczema Signs and Symptoms

• Skin broken in places.
• Skin cracked from some areas.
• Skin dry
• Itchy and scratching of skin.
• Itching worse at night and after overheating.
• Redness and inflammation of the skin.
• Blisters with oozing from it
• Red to brownish gray colored patches.
• Affected area may feels as raised bumps.
• Affected area feels hot.
• Skin appears scaly and dry.

Investigations for Eczema

• Complete case history including complete family history and living conditions.
• Physical examination.
• Blood test.
• Allergy test
• Biopsy of skin patch rule out other skin diseases.

Treatment for Eczema

• Anti histamines.
• Oral or tropical antibiotics.
• Moisturizers.
• Cortisone or steroid creams or ointments.
• Immunomodulators that affects immune system to maintain normal skin texture.
• Dietary changes after professional advice in cases of food allergies.
• Ultraviolet radiation therapy (phototherapy).

Prognosis of Eczema

Eczema is not a fatal disease, if treated well on time.There is complete recovery and left untreated can lead to secondary bacterial infection which can be treated with antibiotics.

Complications of Eczema

• Streptococcus or staphylococcus bacterial infection.
• Kaposi varicelliform eruption (Eczema herpeticum) .It is characterized by primary herpes simplex virus infection.
• Neurodermatitis (lichen simples chronicus)

Diet / management of Eczema

• Yoga and meditation act as stress management techniques.
• Keep good hygiene level.
• Wearing protective gloves while performing water related activity.
• Use humidifier in winters and in summers if required.
• Maintain cool temperature inside sleeping area.
• Cold compressions can control itching.
• Use minimum jewelery or artificial ornaments.
• Avoid strenuous activity that can make u sweat more.
• Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
• Avoid rough, scratchy, tight clothing and woolens.
• Avoid frequent use of soaps, hot water and other cleansing agents that removes oil from skin.
• Take bath only once as far as possible.
• Wash cloths with mild detergents.
• Apply layer of moisturizer cream after bath to avoid dryness of skin.
• Keep body hydrated, drink lots of water.
• Avoid sweating or overheating.
• Avoid harsh soaps, detergents and solvents.
• Be aware of any food that may cause an outbreak and avoid those foods.

Homeopathic treatment for Eczema

Arsenicum album:
• Intense itching, burning when scratches till it become raw.
• Burning stops itching returns.
• Skin dry as paper, flaking, small vesicles.
• Eczema worst on uncovered parts or areas.
• Chilly, weakness, sips cold water.
• Restless, anxious, worried about health, death, security, miserly.
• Worse after midnight, getting wet, cold air or bathing.
• Better by hot bathing, warm room.

Graphites:
• Red itching pimples, honey like sticky liquid oozing with crust over it.
• Infects and scars easily, heels slowly
• Overweight , sweaty, constipated
• Scalp, hairline, behind ears, genitals, back of hands, palms, skin folds.
• Thickened skin, deep cracks in fingers, heels etc, nail thick, grooved.
• Worse at night, menses heat yet chilly.
• Better by cold applications.

Natrium muriaticum:
• Small itchy blisters with corrosive fluid.
• Skin becomes red, raw and inflamed.
• Eczema on margins of hair bends of joints, behind ears.
• Craves for salt, thirsty.
• Underweight.
• Greasy oily hair.
• Skin dry generally.
• Eczema from suppressed emotion, inner grief. Avoid consolation.
• Worse in warmth, salt, seashore and after menses.
• Better in cool weather or bathing.

Petroleum:
• Red, raw moist surface, burning, itching and oozing after scratching.
• Deep cracks in folds, fingers. Bleed easily, become infected, ulcerations.
• Eruptions of the palms, fingers, bend of joints, behind ears, genitals.
• Itching, scratches until it bleeds, the part become cold after scratching
• Worse in winters, cold air, moving vehicles and at night.
• Better in warm air and dryness.

Psorinum:
• Intense itching that must be scratched till it bleeds.
• Dirty appearance of skin.
• Eczema behind ears, despair and depression with eczema.
• Infected eczema, offensiveness of all discharges especially of eczema.
• Person anxious and despair of the future, chilly fear of poverty and anguished at night.
• Worse at night, warmth of bed.
• Better from warmth.

Rhus toxicodendron:
• Eczema with blister like eruptions, redness, swelling and intense itching.
• Restless from discomfort and often very irritable and anxious.
• Muscle stiffness which is relieved by warmth and motion.
• Craving for cold milk.
• Better by hot applications.

Sulphur:
• Moist, weeping eruptions, foul odor.
• Intense itching, scratches till it bleeds causing burning.
• Dry scaly cracked areas, unhealthy skin pimples easily infected
• Burning hot feet at night.
• Hair margins, face, area of perspiration, feet bends of elbow, knee affected.
• Worse at night, warmth of bed, heat, bathing and wool.
• Better by dry, cool bathing.

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