Eczema, also known as dermatitis or atopic eczema, is an inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by itching, redness, and an outbreak of lesions on the skin. It is a chronic condition that can affect people of all ages, but it occurs mostly in children.
Types of eczema
- Atopic dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as infantile eczema, is the most common type of eczema. The symptoms generally include oozing eruptions on the skin at different areas of the body such as elbows, neck, face, back of the knees etc. The skin tends to be excessively dry and itchy. As infants are unable to control the scratching, it may even cause secondary infections. Individuals with a family history of allergy, asthma, hay fever etc. are prone to experience atopic dermatitis. This condition is often related to other allergic and hypersensitive conditions like rhinitis.
- Contact dermatitis: Contact dermatitis occurs in localized regions where the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen or irritant. Prolonged contact with allergens such as food and other environmental factors generally trigger an eczematous reaction. Also, limited exposure to allergens for a short time tends to trigger a rapid eczematous response too. Contact with nickel which is a component of artificial jewellery can cause an allergy. Nickel allergies are one of the most common forms of Contact Dermatitis. Contact with different nickel containing objects such as rings, earrings, watches, chains etc. may cause eczema.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: This type of eczema affects the hands and feet. This eczema may become chronic and painful.
- Neurodermatitis: Emotional stress causes this type of eczema. Patients with Neuro Dermatitis experience symptoms such as excessive itchiness and scratching while resting or trying to sleep. It affects different areas of the body such as lower legs, ankles, neck, wrists, forearms and genitals.
- Nummular eczema: Nummular Dermatitis is a chronic type of eczema that features itchy circular spots on the skin and oozy patches. Other symptoms may include burning, dry, crusty or inflamed skin around lesions.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This type of eczema is better known as dandruff. In infants, it affects the scalp. In adults, it also often affects these areas like eyebrows, sides of the nose, behind the ears, groins, center of chest. Seborrheic dermatitis causes skin to fall off in flakes.
Causes of eczema
Eczema is a skin condition which can affect both men and women. Generally, the symptoms include red, inflamed and itchy skin. Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, genetic and environmental factors are believed to trigger this skin condition.
Common causes of eczema include the following:
- Direct skin contact with irritants like soaps, detergents, cosmetics, hair products, perfumes, certain fabric, paints, etc. can cause eczema.
- Environmental allergens like house dust, smoke, pollen, moulds etc. can lead to eczema.
- Dietary allergens in milk, milk products, eggs, peanuts etc. are known to worsen eczema. Other products such as sugar, red meat, refined carbohydrates can also exacerbate eczema.
- People with a family history of asthma, allergies, hay fever or other types of allergic diseases are prone to develop eczema.
- Stress can cause eczema as it can trigger inflammation throughout the body, including on the surface of your skin, causing flare-ups.
- Extreme temperatures can aggravate eczema. Excess heat or cold can irritate the surface of the skin and aggravate the condition.
- Extended exposure to dry air due to dry climate and cold temperatures can reduce the skin’s natural moisture. Excessive dryness leads to itching, which them results in inflammation.
- Red, itchy rash
- Dry or scaly skin
- Multiple fluid-filled lesions and skin eruptions
- Chronic scratching
- Cracked or broken skin & crust formation
- Darkening of the skin
Skin lesions are one of the most common symptoms of eczema. They can occur on any part of the body, but are generally observed in the following areas:
- Knees, Elbows, Ankles (especially on the inner sides)
- Folds of the skin
Eczema in Infants
In children who are younger than two years, rashes are prominent eczema symptoms. The following symptoms are observed:
- Rashes on the cheeks & scalp
- Rashes that tend to rise and leak fluid thereafter
- Rashes that lead to excessive itching and disturbs sleep
Eczema in Children
In children aged two and above, the following symptoms are observed:
- Rashes that occur on the wrists, neck, ankles
- Rashes that appear at the crease between the legs and buttocks
- Rashes behind the creases of elbows or knees
- Uneven or bumpy rashes
- Rashes that grow darker or lighter
- Skin thickening which may later develop into a permanent itch. It is also known as lichenification.
Eczema in Adults
In adults, the following eczema symptoms are commonly noticed:
- Dry skin on the affected areas
- Rashes with more scaly texture than the ones found in children
- Rashes appearing in the creases of the knees, elbows or the nape of the neck
- Rashes covering most areas of the body
- Rashes that itch permanently
- Skin infections
Homeopathic remedies frequently relieve or eradicate eczema. They are safe to use with babies through to the elderly. Many different remedies can be used depending on the symptoms of the sufferer. Eczema is a chronic complaint that should have the careful management of a trained Homeopath. The core wisdom of the body is to push illness from a more vital to less important tissue. Thus, though eczema is a completely curable with Homeopathy medicines. Simultaneously clearing up associated allergies or overall immune weakness.
This is the most common remedy for eczema and skin health. Itching that must be scratched. Scratching can lead to bleeding. Redness of a rash. Eczema is moist. Skin has a dirty appearance. Discharge develops with an offensive eggy. Symptoms are worse by warmth of a bed, overheated, bathing, sweating, 11 am (mid-morning). Symptoms are better by cold weather, cold applications (ice packs, cloths)
This indicated when intense itching that must be scratched. Can scratch to the point of bleeding. Eczema that occurs behind the ears. Depression with eczema. Infected eczema. Offensive discharge. Individual often feels chilly. Symptoms are worse by cold applications. Symptoms are better by warm weather and clothing.
This eczema oozes a thick yellow or honey-like discharge. The skin is dry, rough or hard with thick skin that cracks. Rawness in the folds of the skin, behind the ears, neck and groin. The skin heals slowly. Can be associated with asthma. Symptoms worse by night, warmth. Symptoms better by skin being wrapped.
Eczema that is intensely itchy. Small blisters can break on scratching and ooze a watery fluid. Skin is red and swollen. Rash on hands, arms, genital region. Individual is restless. Symptoms worse by cold air, cold damp weather, getting wet, on first waking up in the morning. Symptoms better by warm, dry weather, hot water, movement/motion.
These individuals are very restless, with a fear of germs, dirty things and catching an illness. Eczema is very dry and rough, red, burning, and occurs in patches, especially in the hands. They tend to be very chilly. Symptoms worse by cold air, when anxious, at night. Symptoms better by warmth.
A person who needs this remedy often has strong anxiety, felt physically in the stomach. Intensely itching eruptions start as blisters, then ooze and form thick crusts, and scratching can lead to thickened skin. Cold applications often help the itch (although the person is chilly in general). A craving for fat and a tendency to feel better in open air.
This remedy is suited to people who are chilly with clammy hands and feet, and tend to develop eczema and cracking skin that is worse in the wintertime. They are easily fatigued by exertion, and feel anxious and overwhelmed if ill or overworked. Cravings for sweets and eggs, a sluggish metabolism, and a tendency toward weight problems.
Hepar sulphuris calcareum
This remedy may be helpful to very sensitive, chilly people whose eczema is extremely sore and becomes infected easily. The skin, especially on the hands and feet, looks chapped and deeply cracked and is very slow to heal. The person usually feels vulnerable and irritable, with a low resistance to illness and infection.
This remedy is indicated for individuals whose skin is extremely dry and tends to crack, especially on the fingertips and palms. Eczema is worse in winter, with deep, sore cracks that often bleed. The person feels a cold sensation after scratching. Itching is worse at night and from getting warm in bed. The skin is easily infected, and may get tough and leathery from chronic irritation.
For eczema in the bends of limbs, Natrum Mur falls in the category of highly rated medicines. The bends of limbs include those behind the knee and folds of skin between the elbows. The eczema eruptions in the bends of limbs are dry, chapped, raw, inflamed and crusty in nature. In addition to this, Natrum Mur is a well-indicated medicine for eczema eruptions arising around the margin of the hairline.