Eczema in babies, children and teenagers

Table of contents

Introduction

Eczema is a common chronic skin condition that makes the skin inflamed, red and itchy. There are several types of eczema affecting all age groups. Infants and children commonly get atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis. Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis often appears in the first 6 months to 5 years of a child’s life. Eczema affects up to 25% of children worldwide. It is estimated that 60% of people with eczema develop it during the 1st year of their life. Eczema, commonly atopic dermatitis may change on how it looks and acts as your child grows older.

Often Eczema have various age groups. Eczema in a child can be treated accordingly.

As parents of children affected with eczema, it is good to know the following facts for better understanding of this skin condition;

  • Eczema is not contagious. Therefore, your child cannot ‘catch it’ from someone or give it to another.
  • It is better to identify the particular triggers that causes flare ups in your child in order to prevent exposure and a subsequent flare. Common triggers include; irritants like soap and detergents, allergens like dust mite and animal dander, overheating, various irritant fabrics like coarse fibered wool, stress, food allergies, bacterial and viral infections etc.
  • Implement a daily bathing routine and proper moisturizing to protect your child’s skin and to lock in the moisture.
  • You have to use prescription medication consistently to control symptoms.
  • There is no cure for eczema and it can be controlled only.
  • Discuss with your dermatologist and get a proper diagnosis of the type of eczema that your child has. So that it will be easy to manage symptoms and flares while preventing further flares by avoiding triggers.
  • It is helpful to maintain a diary on your child’s eczema flare ups and possible triggers that led to them.

Why do children develop eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Children who develop eczema has a combination of genes and environmental triggers. Something outside the body (extrinsic triggers) or something within the body (intrinsic triggers) may switch on the immune system leading to an eczema flare. Children who come from eczema families (families with a history of atopic triad – eczema, asthma or hay fever) has an increased tendency to develop atopic dermatitis.

Eczema in various age groups

Eczema looks and acts differently in children of various age groups. The appearance of eczema and the location in the body the rash appears, change as your child grows.

Below mentioned are Eczema age groups:

Eczema in infants (1st 6 months)

Eczema usually appear on your baby’s face, especially cheeks, chin, forehead and scalp. Scalp eczema is mainly due to seborrheic dermatitis which is commonly known as the cradle cap. The eczema in face can spread to other areas of the body.When seborrheic dermatitis affects the diaper region in the body, the area becomes red and inflamed. Eczematous skin in infants, tends to look more red and weepy.

Eczema in babies (6 – 12 months)

Eczema often appears on your baby’s knees and elbows rather than the face. Because these are places that are easy to rub as they crawl and easy to scratch. The eczema rash can get infected. Then there will be pustules (small pus filled bumps) or form a yellow crust on the skin. Babies with nappy rash may have seborrheic dermatitis in their nappy region.

Eczema in toddlers (2- 5 years)

Atopic dermatitis commonly occur in elbow creases and knees. Your toddler’s hands, wrists and ankles can get affected too. Frequently the face is affected. Red patches with small bumps may appear on your toddler’s face – around the mouth and the eye lids. Your toddler’s skin may look dry and scaly. Toddlers and preschoolers commonly have patchy eczema on their elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. Sometimes lichenification (thick lesions with deeper lines) can occur due to scratching.

Eczema in children (5 – 12years)

Eczema usually appears in the back of elbows and knees. Sometimes hand eczema can be common. Itchy patches and redness may develop behind your child’s ears, scalp and feet.

Eczema in teenagers

Teenagers can have patches of eczema anywhere on their bodies. These areas include; around their necks, eye lids, ears, hands, folds of their elbows and behind their knees. These patches can be inflamed, thickened and bumpy. Lichenification can occur because of frequent scratching.

When should you take your child to a doctor or a dermatologist?

  • If your child developed the rash for the first time and if you are not sure whether it is eczema
  • If the eczema is very itchy and your child scratches uncontrollably
  • If the lesions are oozing (weeping) or bleeding
  • If your child has trouble sleeping because it is so itchy
  • If the eczema does not respond after a few days, although you have been treating as usual
  • If the rash is painful
  • If there is pus oozing from the lesions or pustules (pus filled bumps) formed on the lesions
  • If your child is having fever, feeling tired and ill

How is eczema in a child treated?

Eczema in a child is not curable. It is managed by treating flare ups as they appear and preventing future flares. If your child’s eczema is mild, local application of a mild corticosteroid cream or ointment will help to control the lesions. Ex: 1% hydrocortisone. This can be bought over the counter as well.

If your child’s eczema is severe, you will need a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid. For children with mild to moderate eczema on face and body folds, a non – steroidal cream like pimecrolimus or tacrolimus may be prescribed.

Antihistamines like cetirizine or fexofenadine are prescribed to reduce itching and to prevent your child from scratching the rash. Scratching can worsen an eczema rash. Corticosteroids and antihistamines will settle the flare within a few days in many children. An oral steroid course will be prescribed for children with severe eczema. Oral antibiotics will be prescribed if your child’s rash is infected, when pus is present or if your child has fever because of the infected rash.

What can you do to help your child with self- care?

As parents you have a big role to play in ‘at home treatment’ of eczema.

  • Get your child to use a moisturizer regularly. A good, thick moisturizer which is fragrance free is ideal to use twice a day. Your child can apply the moisturizer soon after a bath or shower, while the skin is still damp. It will help to absorb the moisturizer in to skin well. For babies and younger children, it is your duty as parents to keep them well moisturized.

If your child’s skin is very dry, ointments are better as they are greasier than creams.

  • Bathing routines – Make sure that your child have short baths or showers. Water can be lukewarm but not hot, because hot water can strip the moisture from the skin. A simple fragrance free moisturizing bath oil is better than using soap or body wash.

Bathing helps to get rid of dirt and other irritants from your child’s skin. When bathing your baby, wash your baby’s smelly and dirty body parts using a mild fragrance free cleanser. Avoid scrubbing your baby’s skin. Limit the bath time to 5-10 minutes. Apply moisturizer soon afterwards.

  • Keep your child cool. Avoid keeping them near heaters or fire places.
  • Avoid dressing them with too many layers of clothing. Cotton clothes and underwear are better. Avoid clothes made with polyester and coarse fibered wool.
  • If your child scratches often, try to distract them. Keep their finger nails short and clean. You can put cotton mittens to cover your baby’s hands.
  • Identify and avoid triggers and allergens that can irritate their skin.

It is important to start treating your child’s eczema as soon as you notice it. This can prevent the skin condition from worsening. Delayed seeking of treatment makes it more difficult to treat and control eczema.

Children with eczema become more prone to skin infections. Eczema further weakens the skin barrier making it easier for viruses, bacteria and other germs to get inside the body. If you notice any skin infection on your child such as sores, yellowish crusts on skin or pus filled blisters seek help without delay.

Summary

Eczema is a common chronic skin condition which has no cure. It is quite common in babies, children and teenagers.  Eczema can be controlled with a customized skin care routine. This includes moisturizers, prescription medications and eliminating triggers to prevent future flare ups. As parents and caregivers you have a big role to play when it comes to managing your child’s eczema.

 

References:

https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/children/

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/childhood/treating/treat-babies

Probiotics for Eczema

Table of contents

Introduction

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition commonly suffered by many people. It affects between 5-20% of people at some point in their life. Numerous clinical trials are on the way and probiotics are thought to be an effective eczema treatment. Although many doctors are using them increasingly to treat eczema, according to a research review published in Cochrane Database of systemic Reviews,it is suggested that probiotics may not be an effective eczema treatment and the use of probiotics is not evidence based. However, there is no harm in using them and evidence do not show an increase of adverse events. Future research is needed to know the exact benefits of probiotics in treating eczema.

The symptoms of eczema can be annoying. Apart from dry sensitive skin, the itching can be severe, especially at night. You may suffer from loss of sleep due to this. Thickened, scaly, crusty skin with red patches can be unsightly. Sometimes these lesions become raw, swollen and ooze pus. Having lesions on hands and visible areas of the body can affect your job and relationships. Having eczema can severely affect your quality of life. Eczema is not a curable disease and it can give rise to many flare-ups during your life time.

Dealing with eczema can be challenging. Can probiotics be the answer?

What are Probiotics?

Our bodies are full of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are considered as good bacteria, because they keep our gut healthy. Probiotics are live microorganisms taken by mouth. Mostly probiotics include Lactobacillus bacteria and yeast. They are naturally found in yogurt and unpasteurized milk. Kefir, miso, kombucha, Kimchi, dark chocolate, raw cheese and apple cider vinegar are also rich in probiotics. So, depending on the diet, you may be eating foods that contain probitocs already. Probiotics are known to provide healthy digestion.

Probiotics are available as supplements that commonly contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These live bacteria in probiotics protect the gut wall by attaching to it and control the growth of undesirable bacteria. This promotes a healthy balance of gut bacteria while improving the function of your gut.

Although the exact impact on eczema by probiotic use is not clear, there are other proven benefits. Probiotics are known to;

  • Boost your immunity
  • Improve your digestion and improving the gut health
  • Help in preventing urinary tract infections

Research suggest that if a pregnant mother takes probitocs prenatally, the incidence of eczema in children will be reduced. However, supplementing probiotics in pregnancy must be done with caution by a doctor.

Why consider probiotics in eczema patients?

Eczema gives rise to dry skin with red, itchy rash with or without oozing. Scratching can make the lesions bleed and your skin can become thick and crusty. Eczema can greatly affect your quality of life.  Research has found that patients with eczema have different bacteria in their gut when compared to people who do not have eczema. Sometimes there is associated inflammation in their guts. Research suggests that if this mix of gut bacteria is changed or inflammation of the gut is reduced, eczema symptoms can be reduced too.

Evidence shows that bacteria colonies living on the skins of eczema patients are also different from those who don’t have it. As with the gut, the skin’s micro biome is not as diverse in people with eczema. This can leave it vulnerable for the bad bacteria to grow and proliferate. Staphylococcus is an example for a bad bacteria which proliferates on skin especially in people with eczema. Staphylococcus is a bacteria that is linked with flare- ups of eczema. It can trigger inflammatory response on their skin. Those who have eczema tend to have larger populations of this bacteria on their skin.

The aim of topical probiotic therapy is to build a healthier and more diverse skin micro biome in people with eczema. This is done by introducing the right strains of good bacteria on to the skin of eczema patients. This multitude of good bacteria will help to keep the harmful bad bacteria strains in check.

Eczema is associated with your immune system and the immune response is faulty. Probiotics are known to boost the immunity. So they may work in controlling eczema by reducing the immune reaction. Treatment with probiotics should be continued for at least 6 weeks to 3 months to see results.However, currently available probiotics show minimal difference in reducing eczema symptoms especially itching and loss of sleep.

Emollients (moisturizers) and topical steroids are found to be effective in controlling eczema along with antihistamines to reduce itching. Using these treatments in combination with probiotics will provide the best benefit for eczema. Adding probiotics to your diet or taking them as supplements can reduce the number of eczema flare-ups you get.

How should you start probiotics?

If you think of adding probiotics to your diet or take it as a supplement discuss with your doctor or a dermatologist first. Your doctor will help you in prescribing the best combination of probitocs and where to find it.

There are over the counter probiotic supplements. If you decide to use them, make sure to read the instructions and follow them accordingly. Always take the supplement with food because taking them on an empty stomach can give rise to side effects. Before going for supplements try to consume probiotic rich natural foods.

It is best to consult your doctor before starting probiotic supplements if you suffer from bowel conditions, other chronic diseases or a compromised immune system. If you take a probiotic supplement for the first time or change to another brand, you might experience certain symptoms like gas, diarrhea and heart burn until your body adjusts to the supplement. It will be beneficial if you start with a lower dose and gradually increase to full dose.

Topical probiotics for eczema

Research have also been done on topical probiotics to see how it affects the skin. Although this concept is still new, the research has so far been promising towards eczema. Topical probiotic strain namely Roseomonas mucosa can be helpful in treating eczema. This bacteria is found naturally on our skin. There are topical probiotic lotions produced using this bacteria. A study published in 2018 found that using Roseomonas mucosa containing lotion has been effective in reducing the amount of staphylococcus on the skin. Those who applied this lotion regularly, claimed that their severity of eczema was improved.

Another study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that a lotion containing the probiotic Lactobacillus johnsonii significantly improved eczema clinically. Therefore various strains of Lactobacillus are found to be effective as topical probiotic treatment as they have the ability to reduce the staphylococcus bacteria on skin.

Small sample size is one of the main drawbacks in these studies. More research is needed to understand the impact of topical probiotics on eczema; whether there is actually a benefit.

Conclusion

Since the effectiveness of probiotics in treatment of eczema is not proven yet, it is important to note that we should not rely solely on probiotics alone as eczema treatment. As there are no increase of adverse effects, it can be used as complementary treatment for eczema. You may also benefit by strengthened immune system and improvement of your gut health by using probiotics. Research offers promising results.

References:

 

 

Hand Fungus and Eczema

Table of contents

Introduction

Just like you can get fungal infections on your feet, it is possible to develop fungus in your hands. Hand fungus is called ‘Tinea manuum’ but commonly known as ring worm infection. In Tinea manuum, there is a red, scaly rash with a slightly raised border which is shaped like a ring. Commonly you can get it by touching your groin or feet if they are also infected with Tinea or by touching fungus contaminated objects, soil or infected persons. also infected with Tinea or by touching fungus contaminated objects, soil or infected persons. So it is important and get hand fungus treatment.

Sometimes you may falsely identify a hand fungus as hand eczema as they may have certain similarities. Sometimes both these conditions can be associated with each other.

When eczema arises in your hands it is called hand dermatitis or hand eczema. It is a chronic long- lasting skin condition which is also as common as fungal infections. Hand eczema may lead to severe negative effects on the quality of your life and even on your social status. Hand fungus treatment is therefore mandatory.

Eczema or fungus on your hands will be visible as it is difficult to hide, that may be quite embarrassing when you are among others. It will especially affect negatively on people who use their hands for the occupation such as the chefs, attendants and salon workers. Eczema is not contagious, but hand fungus is. Both these skin conditions can be quite severe, but they are not life threatening.

Hand eczema versus hand fungus

Fungal infection and hand eczema may seem similar as both are red, itchy rashes. Hand fungus typically has a raised border commonly with central clearing. The appearance is like a ring. Hand eczema doesn’t have a raised border and middle of the rash does not clear as the rash spread. So there is difference between hand fungus and hand eczema.

Commonly hand fungus affects only one hand, although you may develop it on both hands. Hand eczema is commonly bilateral and symmetrical. Hand eczema can get several flares and remissions while not responding to over the counter antifungal medications. Even after treatment, eczema can only be controlled and can reappear. However, hand fungus will respond to OTC antifungals and may clear off completely if you treat it properly. If partially treated hand fungus can reappear too and if you develop resistance to treatment, the future treatment of the rash will be difficult.

Hand eczema can be genetic and may run in families. Hand fungus is not familial, but often family members can get infected by close contact as it is contagious.

Although hand fungus can sometimes have associated nail involvement, in hand eczema nails are not involved.

What are the risk factors to develop hand fungus?

  • Those who do sports that involve close skin contact
  • Those using public showers like in gyms etc.
  • Sharing things with infected people such as towels, tools
  • Those who handle or be around animals as Tinea can spread from animals including cats, dogs and cows.
  • Those who wear tight fitting gloves
  • If you sweat too much on your hands

What are the causes of hand eczema?

Hand eczema may be related to occupational exposure or house hold activities. It often affects people who are in to catering, cleaning, hair dressing, mechanical work and health care as they frequently come in to contact with chemicals and other irritating substances.

It is a chronic skin condition which is multifactorial. Contact allergens and irritant substances play a role in triggering hand eczema. The exact cause of hand eczema is unknown. There can be a genetic association for hand eczema and it can run in atopic families. Atopy is the genetic tendency to develop allergic conditions like eczema, asthma and hay fever. Stress can be a risk factor for hand eczema.

As hand eczema is not contagious you cannot ‘catch it’ from another person or spread it to others.

What are the symptoms of hand fungus?

  • The infection usually starts on your palm and may spread to other areas like the back of your hands and fingers.
  • The rash may start small and get larger gradually with time.
  • Itchy, red rash with raised border and the outer surface appears scaly
  • Peeling and flaking of the area
  • Sometimes the fungus can affect your nails which is called onychomycosis or Tinea unguium. Then your nails can get brittle. They appear discolored, thickened and your nail may get separated from the nail bed.

Sometimes a blistering rash on the edges of your palms and fingers may be caused by the fungi. They appear as crops and will contain a sticky clear fluid. They may have a peeling edge. This rash can itch and burn. The reason why hand fungus treatment is necessary.

What are the symptoms of hand eczema?

  • Itching which may be severe – this is a common symptom in almost all hand eczemas.
  • If you scratch continuously the rash can become raw, sensitive and swollen.
  • Skin lesions are red and inflamed. Swelling can occur due to inflammation.
  • The skin of your hand is usually dry and sensitive.
  • There can be small raised bumps that may leak fluid.
  • Oozing and crusting especially when scratched
  • Red or brownish grey dark patches may appear on your hands
  • Long standing hand eczema can give rise to leathery, scaly, cracked and thickened lesions.

Treatment of hand fungus

If your hand fungus is mild, you can use an over the counter anti-fungal cream such as micanazole or clotrimazole. If your rash does not respond, seek help from your doctor or a dermatologist. He or she may prescribe a stronger topical anti-fungal agent. A course of oral antifungal medicine will be added if your lesions are severe or when the rash does not respond to topical treatment alone.

You have to make sure that you stick to the treatment regime as incomplete treatment can lead to resistant forms of fungi.

To prevent further fungal infections avoid touching contaminated objects, soil or animals unnecessarily. Do not share towels or other personal items. Avoid using common tools unless it is necessary. Avoid using public showers if possible. All these things comes under hand fungus treatment and therefor important to apply.

Treatment of hand eczema

Unfortunately there is no cure for hand eczema, but you can successfully control it. Try these home remedies to soothe your lesions.

  • Avoid scratching as it can worsen hand eczema.
  • Identify and avoid triggers that worsen your hand eczema – triggers like pollen, dust, certain foods, strong soaps and detergents,excessive sweating and smoking can worsen hand eczema.
  • Avoid strong soaps and detergents. If you must use them, wear gloves to protect your hands. Use cotton gloves when doing chores.
  • Use a mild soap or a fragrance free cleanser when bathing and washing hands. Pat dry your hands using a soft towel. Do not rub or wipe hard.
  • When you need to clean your hands use lukewarm water instead of hot water.
  • Moisturize your hands well with a good emollient. Get a good hand cream to apply frequently in order to prevent them from drying. Make sure to use an emollient that is alcohol and paraben free with minimal fragrance. If you need help to select the best moisturizer that is suitable for your skin, discuss with your doctor or a dermatologist. Apply moisturizer after a bath and soon after washing hands while your skin is still damp. It helps to absorb and lock in moisture.
  • You can use cold compresses to help soothe your skin especially if it is raw.
  • Over the counter creams like Hydrocortisone can be applied over your lesions. Hydrocortisone is a mild steroid and an anti-itch cream. More potent steroid creams and ointments may be prescribed by your doctor if your lesions are severe (Betamethasone, Mometasone, clobetasol).
  • You can try over the counter antihistamines like Fexofenadine, Cetirizine,Chlorpheniramine, or Loritidine to reduce your itching. Read the instruction leaflet prior to taking any OTC medication.

If your hand eczema does not respond to over the counter medications and home remedies, seek help as stronger medications need to be prescribed. If you think that a certain substance at work or home is the culprit behind your eczema, your doctor will do a ‘patch test’ to identify which irritants or allergens are responsible. Your doctor will also discuss the practices and behaviors that may be contributing to your hand eczema and ways to avoid or modify them.

In summary

Hand fungus is clinically differentiated from hand eczema by following signs.

  • Most hand fungus affect only a single hand.
  • If both your hands are affected, the involvement is not symmetrical.
  • Skin markings become white because the surface is scaling. But in hand eczema skin markings will be increased.
  • The Tinea rash has a raised border
  • Nearby nails can get affected (Tinea unguium)

 

Hand eczema can get complicated with skin infections. This is because of repeated scratching that destroys your skin barrier leading to cracks and open sores. Skin infections can occur with bacteria, viruses and fungi on a hand with eczema.

When your hand eczema gets a superadded fungal infection, it may give a mixed picture.

The itching will be more as both conditions are known to itch. Scratching can lead to erosions and even oozing. Fungal infection can occur especially when you have wet eczema. Fungus thrives on warm moist skin. Treatment will be difficult as the steroids which are used to treat eczema can worsen the fungal infection. Therefore, oral antifungal medications like Itraconazole or Terbinafine may be needed. Sometimes treatment will take a course of 4-6 weeks to eradicate the fungus. Then the eczema can be controlled with local application of steroids.

References:

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/tinea-manuum

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9884898/

https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/hand-eczema/

 

 

Got itchy skin? It might be Eczema

Introduction

Does your skin itch and become inflamed from time to time? Does it itch so bad that you feel like scratching it until your skin is damaged? This might be eczema.
Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis, which is commonly seen in children, but it can occur in adults too. Eczema can be controlled well if you seek medical attention. Unfortunately it is not curable, as it recurs from time to time even after complete remission.

What is Eczema?

Eczema derives from the Greek word “boil”. It accounts for a large proportion of skin disease in the developed as well as the developing world. It is estimated that Eczema affects about 16.5 million adults and more than 9.6 million children in USA. Up to 40% of the population may suffer from eczema during their life time and at any given time, about 10% of the population may have some form of eczema. It can have a vast impact on the quality of life of an individual who suffers from eczema, if it is not properly controlled.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition which may have several flares and remissions. In most eczema patients there are periods when the skin condition is worse, which is called a flare or exacerbation. It is followed by periods of skin improvements or entire clear up which is known as remission.
Eczema usually begins between of 2 -3 months of age. It commonly starts during childhood and continues in to adulthood. Some individuals may go in to total remission during their teenage years. Although eczema usually starts in childhood, adults may get it for the first time which is known as adult onset eczema.
The good news is that Eczema is not contagious and you cannot spread it to someone by touch. It is not associated with poor hygiene.

What are the common signs and symptoms of Eczema?

There are some symptoms which are common to all types of eczema.
• Dry scaly skin
• Redness and inflammation
• Itching – This can be intense. Usually it is more severe at night
Eczema is also referred to as ‘The itch that rashes’, because you may start your rash initially with itching. Your rash may develop or worsen with itching.

The other symptoms are;
• Chronic and persistent or repeatedly occurring symptoms
• The location of the rash is characteristic which is typical of eczema – commonly hands, wrists, inside elbows and knees, feet, ankles, upper chest and eye lids
• Dry and sensitive skin
• Associated oozing and crusting especially in wet eczema
• Swelling of lesions due to edema and inflammation
• Habitual scratching making the skin lesions thick and leathery
• Dark and discolored patches on skin

Why does your Eczema itch?

Itching is a symptom that almost all patients with eczema experience. It is usually ongoing day and night. Itching is the worst symptom according to most individuals. It can be so intense and may never go away.
Eczema flares can be frequently triggered by the ‘Itch –scratch cycle’. As itching leads to scratching, it can result in release of inflammatory mediators that develop the eczema and make your skin further dry. Eczema flares and dry skin may lead to more itching and the cycle continues.

Itching may occur due to many reasons, such as;
• Defective skin barrier in eczema
• External triggers
• Human nature – how you feel the itch and how well you can control the urge to scratch
• Sweating and perspiration induce itching and aggravate your eczema
Itching is a complex symptom in eczema and it is related to both physical and psychological causes. Many patients with eczema claim that it is impossible to resist the urge to scratch, when told to do so.

Does Eczema run in families?

Eczema can run in families. It is an atopic condition which may associate with other atopic conditions like Hay fever (Allergic rhinitis), allergic conjunctivitis or bronchial asthma. Genetic inheritance of allergic conditions is known as atopy. Atopy is linked with increased immune response to common allergens like inhaled allergens or certain foods.
Usually you may find a family history of one or more of these conditions suffered by a family member or a close relative.

What are the causes of Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Following factors may play a role;
• Your genes
• Immune system dysfunction
• If you have dry skin
• Factors that make your skin dry and sensitive to infection and irritants
Eczema occurs when the natural barrier of your skin is weakened. When this happens your skin is unable to protect you against various allergens and irritants. Eczema may be caused by a combination of factors.
There are certain factors which can trigger your eczema, such as;
• Irritants -wool, soap, detergents
• Allergens –Inhaled allergens like pollen, dust mites and ingested allergens like certain foods
• Heat and sweating
• Emotional stress

Can you manage your eczema?

You can try these remedies at home to control eczema and to prevent getting flares.
• Avoid scratching – Scratching worsens your eczema. Cover the itchy areas if you find it difficult to avoid scratching. Covering your rash with a bandage will not only prevent scratching, but will protect your skin too.
Trim the nails of children with eczema, to reduce the skin damage by scratching. Get them to wear gloves or anti-scratch mittens to prevent unintentional scratching especially at night.

• Use a mild, fragrance free soap when washing your skin. Pat dry with a soft towel. Do not wipe hard or rub your skin. Avoid strong soaps and detergents as they can worsen your eczema.

• Warm baths – Sprinkle your bath water with colloidal oat meal or baking soda. Soak your body for 15 minutes and pat dry.

• Moisturize your skin well and keep it hydrated – Use a good emollient regularly to moisturize your skin. Choose one which is alcohol and paraben free with minimal fragrance. Look for ingredients such as aqueous cream, Dimethicone, glycerol, Argon oil, Shea butter, cocoa butter and Lanolin oil when selecting a moisturizer. Choose an emollient that is suitable for your skin type.

• Apply your moisturizer after a bath when the skin is still damp. Damp skin absorbs and locks in the moisture well.

• Identify and avoid the triggers that is known to worsen your eczema.
Ex: Certain food items, Pollen, dust, excessive sweating and heat, strong soaps and detergents.
Identify them early and avoid. Avoid wool and tight, scratchy or rough clothing. Wear cooling clothes with smooth texture to minimize your skin irritation. When you are going out in hot weather or during your work outs, wear appropriate clothing to prevent excessive sweating.

• Manage your stress – practice relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation. Try to get quality sleep. Poor sleep can worsen your stress and make you less functional during day time

• Eat a balanced, healthy diet and void food triggers.

Are there any over the counter (OTC) products which you can use for Eczema?

OTC creams such as Hydrocortisone can be applied topically, which is a mild steroid.
Antihistamines like Cetirizine (Zyrtec),Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin),Fexofenadine (Allegra),Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or Chlorpheniramine which are available over the counter can be used to reduce your itching. Make sure that the dose and the frequency of administration is correct when using any OTC medication.
Above home remedies and self- care measures can control your rash, relieve your itching and prevent new out breaks of eczema to a certain extent.

When should you seek help?

If your itching or rash doesn’t go away on its own or with home remedies you use or if it interferes with your day to day life or disturbs your sleep, it is time to see your doctor or a dermatologist. Look for any signs of infection such as red streaks or pus or even fever associated with your eczema.
Until you meet a dermatologist maintain a diary, so that it may be helpful to your doctor to identify what triggers your eczema. You can include;

1. Your diet – anything different you consumed
2. The skin products, make up and soaps you use
3. If you come in to contact with chemicals, detergents and other irritants
4. Activities you do – walk or jog outside where there is pollen or dust, swimming in chlorinated pools
5. Your bathing or showering patterns
6. Whether you are under stress

This diary will also help you to notice any connections between your eczema flare up and your activities, so that you can avoid such activities.
How will your doctor treat your eczema?
After taking the history and examination of your skin, your doctor will diagnose eczema clinically. Lab tests are usually not needed for diagnosis. Sometimes your doctor may perform a patch test to exclude skin conditions such as contact dermatitis.
Your doctor may have to try numerous treatments for months or even years until your eczema gets controlled. However, even after successful control you may get a sudden flare. Your doctor will advise you on how to identify and avoid triggers of eczema in order to prevent a flare.
You already know that regular moisturizing control your eczema. However, moisturizing per se is not adequate for effective control.

Your doctor will suggest some of the following treatments to control your eczema:

Best suitable emollient to moisturize your skin – If your skin is very dry, your doctor will prescribe an ointment. Ointments are very effective in keeping moisture of your skin. As ointments contain the most oil, they are greasy. A cream or a lotion will be adequate for less dry skin. Moisturizing should be done twice a day. A cream is more suitable to apply during day time. Since ointments are greasier you may apply them at night. Creams can sting more than ointments.
These prescribed creams or ointments not only treat your eczema, but also control your itching. They will improve your rash by repairing the damaged skin.

Some of the prescribed creams and ointments are;

Corticosteroid creams or ointments – After moisturizing your skin, apply a thin layer on the eczematous lesions. Your doctor will direct you regarding the frequency of application. It may be once or twice a day. Corticosteroids control inflammation therefore, redness of your skin and swelling will reduce.
Example:

     Hydrocortisone – for lesions in your face, neck and other sensitive regions
     Betamethasone – more potent steroid
     Mometasone – effective corticosteroid with less side effects
     Clobetasol – used for eczema on hands and feet, thick lesions

Moisturize first before applying the medicated creams, as it will help better penetration of your skin. Once the initial lesions are controlled, you can use topical corticosteroids less frequently, to prevent a flare. Do not overuse corticosteroids as they can lead tothinning of your skin.

Calcineurin inhibitors
Example:

    Tacrolimus (protopic),
    Pimecrolimus (Elidel)

Calcineurin inhibitors act by affecting your immune response. They are useful to treat eczema in sensitive areas and for lesions which do not respond to other treatments. After moisturizing your skin, apply as directed by your doctor. Avoid strong sun light when using calcineurin inhibitors. It is safe to use them in anyone above the age of 2 years.

For severe eczema your doctor may prescribe oral medications to fight inflammation and to control your symptoms.

• Oral corticosteroids – If your eczema is severe, your doctor will prescribe oral corticosteroids.
Ex: a course of oral prednisolone
Although they are effective, they cannot be used for long periods because of the potential side effects like osteoporosis and high blood pressure that can be serious.

• Medications to fight infection – If your eczema is associated with a bacterial infection an antibiotic cream will be added. If your infection is severe with pus discharge and fever, a short course of oral antibiotics will be prescribed.

• Antihistamines – Ex: Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), diphenhydramine
Antihistaminesare prescribed to control itching. Anti-itch medications may cause drowsiness. Therefore, use them before you go to bed.

• Dupilumab (Dupixent) – This is a new option for treating severe Eczema.
Dupilumabis an injectable biologic (monoclonal antibody) that is recently approved by the FDA. It is used in people with severe eczema who do not respond well to other medications. Dupilumab is an expensive drug. It is safe when used as directed. More studies are needed to identify the benefits of this medication.

Following therapies can be combined with the medications;

• Wet wraps – The affected region is wrapped with emollients, corticosteroids and wet bandages. This is shown to be effective in those with severe eczema. Since wet wrapping can be too intensive to do at home for patients with wide spread eczema, they are done at hospital setting. This requires good nursing care and expertise. However, if you are competent enough, you may do wet wrapping at home once you learn the proper technique.

• Light therapy – Phototherapy with artificial Ultra violet Alight (UVA) or narrow band ultra violet B light (NB- UVB) can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. You may try exposing your skin to natural sun light as light therapy but in controlled amounts.
Light therapy is beneficial in patients who do not respond to topical treatments or for those who get frequent flares.

• Dietary modifications – Certain dietary changes will be suggested by your doctor if your history suggests food triggers. Foods like cow’s milk, eggs, soy can trigger symptoms or lead to flares. If your doctor suspects a food allergy, you may be referred to a dietician to modify your diet.

• Behavior modification and other relaxation techniques –to keep your stress under control and to help those with habitual scratching.

• Counselling – Talk to your therapist or a counsellor for emotional support if you suffer from persistent eczema.

Eczema may be stressful especially for adolescents and young adults. It can disturb your sleep and disrupt your day to day routines. Long standing eczema may even lead to depression in some patients. Family members of patients with eczema can also face various emotional, social and financial difficulties. Never fight eczema alone. You can seek emotional support from support groups, counsellors, family and friends.

Take home message….
Eczema can be persistent. You may need various medications along with self- care measures for a long time to get it under control. Even after successful treatment, eczema can recur.

References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/
https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/

Natural Treatment for Eczema

 

Table of Content

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that is commonly seen in children. It usually starts in childhood and may continue into adulthood. It can occur in adulthood for the first time, which is called adult-onset eczema. Even the elderly can suffer from eczema. During your lifetime, it can cause several flares and remissions, or it may go into total remission during the teenage years. It is a chronic long-term skin condition.

Eczema is also known as Atopic dermatitis. Atopy runs in families. Therefore, eczema can associate with Bronchial asthma, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), and allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye). Usually, you may find a close relative or a family member suffering from one or more of these conditions.

Eczema is almost always itchy. Itching can be so intense, and it may even disturb your sleep. There are 2 types of Eczemas, wet and dry. In wet-type oozing occurs from lesions followed by crusting. The risk of infection is more in the wet type. The lesions can be raw and angry looking. The dry type has red patches that are associated with dry skin. Lesions can be scaly and cracked.

Constant scratching can gradually thicken the lesions. Sometimes continuous scratching occurs as a habit. You may feel that scratching is soothing and unknowingly may continue to scratch until it bleeds. This may increase the risk of infection as various germs can enter through damaged skin. Continuous scratching in eczema lesions can make it thick, discolored, and leathery.

How can Eczema be treated?

Is there any natural treatment for Eczema? Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. It can only be controlled. The aim is to prevent recurrent flares and control the skin condition in remission. Most often Eczema goes into total remission by teenage years and may never reappear.

As we know there are certain trigger factors that can cause and worsen your eczema. Identify these triggers early and avoid them as much as possible. Trigger factors may differ from person to person. Some of the examples for trigger factors include pollen, dust, smoking, fabric dyes, excessive sweating, certain foods, additives and preservatives, strong soaps, and detergents. You might observe that contact with some of these triggers may have a link with your eczema. If you identify triggers the best is to avoid them.

If you are a person living with eczema, you know what it is like to find some relief for your symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Eczema?

  • Inflamed red skin
  • Dry and sensitive skin
  • Itching – which can be severe
  • Oozing and crusting in wet type eczema
  • Swelling due to inflammation
  • Leathery, scaly, and thickened areas after continuous scratching
  • Dark patches on the skin

Some of these symptoms are unbearable. Treatment should focus on reducing these symptoms and control the skin condition in remission.

What are the natural treatments for eczema?

Are there any natural treatments for Eczema? Probably you may have already tried a variety of natural products. Some may have worked. But unfortunately, some of them can leave your skin feeling more irritated and even drier.

Here are some tried and tested natural remedies for Eczema which can help to replenish moisture in your skin as well as protect the natural barrier of your skin.

Natural remedies for eczema

Colloidal Oatmeal –

Colloidal oatmeal means finely grounded oats which help to soften rough areas of skin and calm inflamed skin. This is a good natural treatment for eczema. You can buy colloidal oatmeal from a drug store or order online. If not, you can prepare your own by grinding oatmeal into a fine consistent powder.

Oatmeal bath for eczema – You may wonder whether this means bathing in a bathtub full of breakfast foods. However, this is not just oatmeal and warm water. Here, the oatmeal is ground into a fine powder which is called colloidal oatmeal. It is suspended in water.

There is a study done in 2012 which showed that colloidal oatmeal protects the skin and soothe the irritation and itching in eczema. The study also indicated that colloidal oatmeal could act as a buffer to help maintain the surface PH of your skin.

Preparation of an oatmeal bath –

  • Run lukewarm water into a clean bathtub. Make sure it is warm and not hot because hot water can worsen inflamed skin and draw out moisture from your skin making it drier.
  • Add a cup of colloidal oatmeal under the running tap. Mix well with your hand.
  • Before getting in, make sure that bathwater is milky and warm.
  • Soak for about 10 minutes in the bath. You should feel silky on your skin. This should relieve the itching of eczema too.
  • Make sure not to soak too much as it can worsen itching and your eczema.
  • Rinse off with fresh lukewarm water. Pat yourself dry with a soft towel. Do not rub yourself as it may worsen irritation and dryness.
  • You can apply an emollient afterward to moisturize your skin.

Coconut Oil –

Coconut oil is extracted from harvested mature coconuts. It acts as a natural moisturizer and is a safe and effective natural treatment for eczema. About 50% of the fat content in coconut oil comes from Lauric acid. It is a healthy form of saturated fat, which is also found in breast milk. It has a myriad of health benefits when used topically on your skin or when taken orally.

National Eczema Association claims that coconut oil has antibacterial properties that prevent infection. It reduces staphylococcal bacteria in your skin. Eczematous skin, especially the wet type tends to get infected more, coconut oil can protect it. If you are suffering from eczema, you may notice that patches of inflamed skin can crack and ooze. This is ideal for bacteria to enter and cause infection.

You can apply coconut oil on your skin to obtain benefits such as.

  • It is a natural moisturizer which is highly absorbable
  • For its antimicrobial properties to protect your skin from infection – it is effective in reducing not only bacteria but also viruses and fungi.
  • It hydrates your skin
  • Reduces inflammation and pain because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, coconut oil reduces itching and discomfort associated with your eczema.
  • Reduces oxidative stress – A study that is reported in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research revealed that antioxidants can be beneficial in the treatment of atopic dermatitis/eczema. Virgin coconut oil is rich in antioxidants.

Make sure you choose virgin coconut oil or cold-pressed coconut oil which is processed without chemicals. Coconut oil may not cure your eczema, but it is effective to reduce eczema symptoms by soothing your skin and easing the irritation and itching.

However, here are some cautions.

  • If you are allergic to coconuts, do not use its oil on your skin.
  • If you are already on prescription medicines for your eczema, check with your doctor regarding using coconut oil as an adjunct to your treatment.

How do you use coconut oil?

Put a little bit of virgin coconut oil on your hands and rub them together. Apply liberally on your skin when it is slightly damp. You can use it twice a day. Having coconut oil on your skin overnight helps maximum absorption.

Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) –

Evening Primrose Oil is extracted from the seeds of the flower of the evening primrose plant. It can be used topically as well as orally for its healing benefits. When used topically, it can soothe your irritated skin. When taken orally, it can treat systemic inflammatory conditions like eczema.

Evening Primrose Oil contains Omega 6 fatty acids and gamma Linolenic acid which prevent inflammation in your body. It helps to reduce eczema symptoms without negative side effects. Some countries have approved Evening Primrose Oil as a treatment for eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions.

How to use it?

  • 1 to 4 capsules can be taken by mouth twice a day for 3 months.
  • Topically apply 20% Evening Primrose oil on affected areas of skin twice a day

However, research is not adequate, and many of these studies show mixed results. Evening Primrose Oil may work in some of you with eczema. Since side effects are rare, there is no harm in trying it as a natural remedy. But check with your doctor first before you start using it.

Witch Hazel –

Witch Hazel is an astringent or toner made from the leaves and bark of the Witch-hazel shrub. It is indigenous to the United States and it is used for centuries by Native Americans for many skin ailments. It has been used for many years as a topical treatment for eczema and other types of skin inflammation. It is known to soothe inflamed skin, relieve itching, and even dry up oozing lesions.

However, research on the effects of Witch hazel on eczema is rare.

How do you use it?

Witch Hazel can be bought in its pure form at local drug stores. You can apply it topically over the affected skin. Since the safety of this ingredient is not studied widely, it is always better to discuss with your dermatologist first.

Aloe vera gel –

It is derived from the leaves of the aloe vera plant. Aloe vera gel has antimicrobial, wound healing, and immune system boosting properties. It can be used to soothe eczematous skin.

Aloe vera gel can be bought in drug stores and online. You can even extract the gel yourself from the leaves of the plant. Applying aloe vera gel on your skin is found to be safe and effective in both children and adults.

Sunflower oil –

Sunflower oil is extracted from the sunflower seeds. Studies have shown that sunflower oil protects your skin’s outer layer (epidermis) which is the natural barrier.

It helps to keep the moisture in and prevents bacteria from entering. Sunflower oil is known to hydrate your skin. It can relieve itching and inflammation in eczematous skin.

How to use it?

You can apply undiluted sunflower oil directly on your skin, especially in affected areas. It absorbs well when your skin is still damp after a bath.

Calendula Oil and cream –

Calendula oil is a natural oil extracted from marigold flowers. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal effects. It is a natural herbal remedy. Calendula has been used for centuries to heal skin inflammations as well as cuts and burns.

It is known to improve your blood circulation to areas of inflammation and injury. Calendula helps to hydrate skin and fights off skin infections.

It is available in local drug stores and online. It may work in some of you with eczema, although research is lacking in its effectiveness. It is generally safe to use. Avoid it, if you are allergic to Marigold plants and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There are some other natural remedies for eczema that you can try such as Acupuncture and Acupressure.

How are Acupuncture and Acupressure effective for treating eczema?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine used to treat a variety of disease conditions. It has been studied and practiced for more than 2500 years. The acupuncture practice is done using fine needles which are inserted into specific points in your body. This triggering of certain points is known to alter the flow of energy. For some of you, the thought of getting needles inserted into your body may be terrifying, but some claim that it is effective in relieving their symptoms and it is not that painful. Research is not adequate for its effectiveness in treating eczema, however, some believe that it can relieve the itch.

Natural therapy for eczema

Acupressure uses the hands and fingers of the therapist to apply pressure instead of using needles. This may also have relief against irritation and itching in eczema.

Bath therapy

Having a long bath twice a day helps to keep your skin hydrated. Make sure you apply an emollient soon after your bath to lock in moisture.

Practicing relaxation techniques to fight stress

Stress is a well-known trigger for eczema. Stress plays a role in developing inflammation not only on the skin but also in other parts of your body. So, if you learn to manage stress and cope with stressful situations in life, you can reduce eczema flare-ups.

Relaxation Techniques for Eczema

Here are some relaxation techniques you can practice to reduce stress.

  • Yoga – It is a way of life that can develop discipline, self- inquiry, and non- attachment in you. Yoga improves your health, flexibility, and empower you with conscious choices while fulfilling you with peace, clarity, and happiness.
  • Meditation – Meditation is learning how to pay attention to mindfulness. It can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance while improving your emotional health as well as your overall well- being.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This is a therapy that identifies and changes potentially self- destructive and unhealthy behaviors.
  • Deep breathing – Being mindful about your breathing pattern helps to relax your mind.
  • Music therapy – Use of music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. You can listen to melodies, play an instrument, write a song, or guided imagery as music therapy.
  • Hypnosis – Hypnosis creates a state of focused attention during which positive suggestions and guided imagery are used to help the individual.
  • Tai chi – It is a Chinese tradition with martial arts that involve slow movements and deep breaths.
  • Visualization – Using art therapy and visual imagery as a way of positive communication.
  • Biofeedback – Biofeedback is a type of therapy that uses sensors that are attached to your body to measure the key body functions. It helps to learn how your body works.
  • Massage – it improves the blood flow to your skin. Massages are known to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you practice relaxation techniques regularly, your stress levels will fall. With time you will notice that there is an improvement in your skin too.

As you can see, there are many tried and tested natural remedies to treat eczema. They may not be effective for all especially if your eczema is widespread and severe. But for some of you, these natural treatments will work wonders in soothing your skin and reducing the symptoms of your eczema.

However, if you are on prescription medications for your eczema, it is better to check with your dermatologist or your doctor, before you try natural home remedies.

There are certain home remedies we can try to treat and to prevent eczema.

  • Avoid strong soaps and detergents as they worsen eczema. Use mild soap when bathing. Pat dry your skin with a soft towel and never rub or wipe hard as it strips away the moisture of your skin.
  • Moisturizing your skin well with a good emollient is a must. This must be done several times a day. You should choose an emollient which is paraben and alcohol-free with minimal fragrance. A few examples of ingredients in a good moisturizer are aqueous cream, cocoa butter, Shea butter, Argon oil, glycerol, Dimethicone, and Lanolin Oil. When you select a moisturizer always read the label and check for the ingredients. Avoid creams with ingredients that you are allergic to. Choose the best emollient which is suitable for your skin.
  • Apply moisturizer after a bath when your skin is still damp. It helps to absorb and lock in the moisture.
  • Scratching worsens your eczema. Eczema is known as “The itch that rashes”, that means the rash appears following itching and worsen once the person scratches. Therefore, you should avoid scratching by all means.

Natural treatment for eczema may not work for all. Usually, it is effective in mild forms of eczema. You may even combine natural treatments with other known treatment options. There is no harm in using an over the counter cream like hydrocortisone which is a mild steroid over the lesions. Using an over the counter antihistamine like Fexofenadine, Cetirizine, Loratadine or chlorpheniramine will reduce itching and your urge to scratch. Make sure that the dose of the medicine and frequency of administration is right.

If you live with eczema, avoid anything which can irritate or dry up your skin which can lead to a flare-up. Perfumes, wool clothing, tight-fitting clothes may be such irritants.

It is also known that food allergies are a common cause of eczema, especially in children. Common foods that are linked to eczema are eggs, soy, wheat, milk, seafood, and peanuts. Try to eliminate some of these and see whether there is an improvement in your eczema.

Why do people seek alternative treatments for eczema?

People tend to seek alternative treatment for eczema such as natural remedies because there is simply no cure for this disease, and no one knows the exact cause of eczema. The outcome of conventional eczema treatments may not be always consistent and not always perceived as safe. There are many side effects of long-term application of topical corticosteroids as well as oral medications used in eczema.

So, many of you with eczema may wonder what natural remedies have to offer when it comes to eczema management. Alternative medicines are natural remedies that people talk about and use, even though many of them are found not to work in research studies. In fact, some people claim that natural treatments have an impact on controlling their eczema. Therefore, one should carefully weigh the pros and cons before starting any natural treatment. The best is to discuss it with your doctor.

You can use natural products, creams, dietary, and lifestyle changes to control and prevent eczema flares, especially in the winter season when symptoms are at their worst. What you should remember is just like conventional treatments, natural remedies cannot cure eczema, but they can help to manage your symptoms to a certain extent and even prevent flares if you believe in them.

When should you seek help?

If your eczema doesn’t answer the home remedies and these natural treatments, you use or if it worsens with time and it worries you it is time to seek help. Your doctor will prescribe topical steroids as well as oral treatments to control the lesions. Always ask whether it is alright to continue the natural treatment methods along with the prescribed medicine.

References:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/natural-remedies-to-reduce-eczema-symptoms
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/oatmeal-bath-for-eczema
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/calendula-oil
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/acupuncture-how-does-it-work-scientifically
  • https://nationaleczema.org/alternative-treatments/

 

 

 

 

 

All you want to know about Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Eczema

Have you tried most of the moisturizers and topical creams for treating your eczema? And still, the symptoms are not in control? Then this blog is something you want to look forward to.

Now, we have a better understanding of what causes this chronic skin condition in the first place. That makes Eczema a complicated condition to treat and manage.

While eczema can be persistent, causing extreme discomfort, it doesn’t have to prevent eczema sufferers from living a happy life. It is always possible to improve the eczema symptoms by trying treatment methods and adapting your diet can play a critical role in doing so.

Our diet is an important medium to support and strengthen our skin. While eczema is a chronic skin condition that doesn’t have any quick fixes, our eating habits can have a positive impact on it.

Finding Food triggers

Identifying food triggers requires dedication and a lot of patience, but it’s worth it, to get that rash that itches under control. While Identifying the right diet is very crucial in eczema it is equally important to track the food that causes triggers. One of the verified ways of doing so is to try the elimination diet method. Wherein you need to maintain a diary and note down the foods you’ve eaten and how your body feels and look for patterns. Start by eliminating just one food for 3 weeks that you suspect. Similarly, Introduce one by done and note the changes.

 

 You can also log your food and track the food trigger just by clicking an image of the food using this eczema app.

 

 

 

The relation between Diet and Eczema

Eczema flares can be triggered by various factors in the environment. Frequent triggers include allergens, chemical irritants, high stress, sweating, obesity, dry skin, extreme temperatures, and dry climates (especially in the winter). Though with little evidence, food is one of them, many people start to feel their eczema symptoms worsens after consuming certain types of food. And Some people have even reported a reduction in their eczema symptoms by including certain foods into their diet.

The way that diet has its impact on eczema can be looked at in this perspective, eczema in a simple word is termed as skin inflammation or inflammatory skin disease. Hence, an Anti-inflammatory diet comes into consideration. Another factor which is something related to inflammatory response and closely associated with the itch, any guesses?? Histamine it is! Yes, the amount of histamine released and its tolerance in the body is something that is closely related to eczema symptoms. One of the best ways to know that your eczema symptoms are related to histamine is your Doctor will ask you to take an anti-histamine tablet when your condition is worse. If your condition improves that’s proof of a link. In such cases, a low histamine diet will really be helpful in controlling eczema exacerbation.

Hence, it is incredibly important to understand the difference between inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods. Learning to eat more anti-inflammatory foods and eliminating inflammatory foods is key to managing eczema flare-ups when it comes to diet for eczema.

 

What is an Anti-Inflammatory diet?

The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan adapted to prevent or curb chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic Inflammation is a troublemaker, not only in eczema but a gamut of other health problems as well.

This Diet is completely based on whole plant foods. It includes vegetables, fresh fruits, legumes, intact whole grains, nuts, seeds, and non – processed foods. And the processed foods are thrown out of the picture or highly restricted.

The anti-inflammatory diet is all about filling your plate with foods that have been shown to fight inflammation and equally focusing on cutting out foods that have been shown to stimulate it.

Read more about foods to avoid in eczema as we have detailed with a list of top 10 common foods that exacerbate the eczema symptoms.

How an Anti-Inflammatory diet works

Inflammation is nothing but our body’s immune response to toxins and other foreign particles. As a natural part of metabolism, a lot of free radicals are released. In general, the inflammation subsides on its own. But in chronic cases, this inflammation remains for a longer period of time causing not only pain but also triggering chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, worsening eczema symptoms, etc

The antioxidants in anti-inflammatory diet work by reducing levels of free radicals which can lead to inflammation when they’re not held in check.

Similarly, if you are preparing to fight against histamine you want to consume more quercetin-rich foods. This compound is known to help stabilize mast cells to lower histamine levels and inflammation in addition to supporting gut health.

Anti-Inflammatory food that helps eczema

1) Vegetables

Anti-iflammatory vegetables

 

Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Also, vitamin K in green leafy vegetables helps in reducing inflammation. It is advised to go for a rainbow that is to include vegetables of different colors at least 7 to 8 variety. You can eat them both raw and cooked, and choose organic whenever possible.

Choices

  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower)
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Squashes
  • Raw and washed green salads

2) Fruits

Anti Inflammatory fruits

 

Like vegetables fruits are also rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, moreover, the pigment that gives colors to the fruits helps in fighting inflammation. Again, try to include different colors of fruits to the diet and go for fresh seasonal fruits which are low in their glycemic load have as a whole fruit or chopped into pieces

Choices

  • Berries (Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Red grapes
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Pears

3) Whole Grains

Whole grains Anti inflammatory food-min-compressed

 

Whole grains are high in fiber which also helps in reducing inflammation. Moreover, they digest slowly, reducing the frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. Remember the grains that are intact or in a few large pieces fall under the whole grain category and not whole-wheat bread or other products made from flour.

Choices

  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice,
  • Buckwheat groats,
  • Barley,
  • Quinoa,
  • Steel-cut oats

4) Beans / Legumes

Beans and Legumes Anti Inflammatory food for eczema

 

Beans are glycemic food power-packed with folic acid, magnesium, potassium, and soluble fiber. They are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. A whole cooked can be added to your meal or the pureed form like hummus will elevate the taste of the dish.

Choices

  • Chickpeas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Anasazi,
  • Adzuki
  • Lentils

5) Herbs / Spices

Spices and herbs Anti Inflammatory food for eczema

 

Herbs and spices are known for their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are used to heal inflammation for ages. Generally, herbs and spices are used to season foods and add taste to it. Turmeric and ginger are powerful natural anti-inflammatory agents. Compounds such as curcumin found in turmeric is a strong antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Adding it to your daily meal will be beneficial

Choices

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Garlic (dried and fresh)
  • Chili peppers
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

6) Vitamins

Vitamins essential to cure Eczema-min-compressed

 

You should maintain a proper balance of vitamins in their diet. Below Vitamins and minerals are particularly relevant for eczema:

Choices

  • Vitamin C – found in brightly colored fruit, veg, and rosehip.
  • Vitamin E – found in sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, avocado, and dried apricots.
  • Vitamin D – is absorbed from sunlight when it is sunny out there. You can also supplement vitamin D throughout the winter months.
  • Vitamin K2 – Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Zinc – Dark Chocolate (Less sweet)

7) Probiotics

 

Probiotic Food for eczema treatment

Probiotics are nothing but live microbes (usually bacteria) that can improve your health. They are good bacteria usually found in the lining of the digestive tract (gut). The understanding is that when you populate your gut with good bacteria through probiotic supplementation, you may be able to prevent or treat the symptoms of eczema.

Choices

  • Fortified yogurt
  • Soft cheeses (e.g. Gouda)
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso soup
  • Naturally fermented pickles
  • Tempeh
  • Unpasteurized sauerkraut
  • Over the Counter Probiotic Supplement (After consulting)

8) Quercetin Rich Food

 

Quercetin Anti Inflammatory property eczema

Quercetin is a flavonoid that is found in plants. Flavonoids have many health benefits but with regards to eczema, they work by reducing histamine release and boosting the skin’s ability to fight infection. That makes quercetin a powerful antioxidant with antihistamine properties that fight inflammation, helping to prevent eczema flare-ups.

Quercetin is found in onions, kale, broccoli, apples, tomatoes, green tea, and berries.

Choices

  • Leafy vegetables
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Red onions
  • Apples
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Black and green tea
  • Berries
  • Nectarines

9) Omega 3 Fatty Acid

 

Omega 3 fatty acid for eczema treatment and cure

Omega-3 fatty acids are required for skin health. They are known for their roles in reducing inflammation due to their strong anti-inflammatory property. Selected fishes are the number one source for omega-3 fats but if you do not eat fish you can go for distilled fish oil supplements or other plant sources mentioned below.

Choices

Non-veg source

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Herring
  • Black cod
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies

Veg source

  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Navy beans,
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Avocado
  • Omega-3-fortified foods (including eggs and milk)

10) Healthy fats

 

Healthy Fats helpful in eczema cure

Extra-virgin coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, walnuts, avocados, hemp seeds, flaxseed, flax oil. Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats and thought to have the antioxidant activity absorbing the free radicals resulting in inflammation.

Choices

  • Extra-virgin coconut oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Walnuts
  • Avocados, Avocado oil
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flaxseed, flax oil
  • Hazelnut oils in salads
  • Dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries

Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  1. Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.
  2. Drink lots of water to replenish your body’s moisture.
  3. Identify Allergens from your Diet
  4. Eat Oily fish, nuts seeds 3 times a week.
  5. Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids such as vegetable oil, beef, pork and saturated fats
  6. Try seasoning your herbs and spices that act as an anti-inflammatory agent, instead of salt to add flavor.
  7. Go for the rainbow in fruits and vegetables i.e variety of bright color fruits and vegetables
  8. Take a vitamin D supplement daily, especially in winter months. · Go for healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, soy, beans, and lentils instead of red meat
  9. Swap out margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  10. Opt for fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, bread, and pasta that list a whole grain as the first ingredient and avoid refined grains or flour.
  11. Maintenance of healthy body weight by routine exercise, if overweight or obese weight reduction will definitely help.
  12. Don’t let stress over tale you manage your stress by meditation techniques like yoga, mindfulness, etc.

Final Thoughts

Each Individual is different, so is the skin of each person, therefore the same food can act differently in two individuals. A food acting as the key anti-inflammatory agent reducing eczema symptoms in one person can be the inflammation striker in another person. It is always best to customize the diet for each person’s unique needs.

Remember any change takes its own time, being patient is the key while looking for impact through any program. It is well said that no battle is ever won or lost on a single meal, so consistency is the key to maintaining your Anti-inflammatory diet. What’s most important is the overall pattern of how you eat. Not only eating what’s right will help but you also pay equal focus on avoiding what’s wrong.

The anti-inflammatory diet is all about filling your meals with foods that have been shown the power to fight inflammation and equally focusing on cutting out foods that have been known to contribute to it.

Choose from a variety of, antioxidant-rich foods. It can help curb inflammation in combination with care routine like moisturizing, exercise, a good night’s sleep. Looking for your best combination of the above two may improve inflammation markers and possibly reduce your risk of developing eczema symptoms.

References

-Chung, Bo Young et al. “Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis with a Low-histamine Diet.” Annals of dermatology vol. 23 Suppl 1 ,Suppl 1 (2011): S91-5. doi:10.5021/ad.2011.23.S1.S91

-Fabisiak, Adam et al. “Targeting Histamine Receptors in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Critical Appraisal.” Journal of neurogastroenterology and motilityvol. 23,3 (2017): 341-348. doi:10.5056/jnm16203

-Ricker MA, Haas WC. Anti-Inflammatory Diet in Clinical Practice: A Review. Nutr Clin Pract. 2017;32(3):318-325. doi:10.1177/08845336177

Best Rated Eczema Moisturizing Cream

Moisturizing Daily must be a key part of your routine especially when you are suffering from eczema. Effective moisturizing prevents the skin from drying. It also helps in restoring the outermost layer of the skin known as stratum corneum or commonly known as a skin barrier that protects us from dehydration and skin infection 

While in-store looking for the best moisturizer for your eczema you may come across a number of products all promising to give relief from itch and dry skin. Well, it is obvious to get attracted to the bold marketing words on the package but the true value lies in reading the ingredients of the product. 

eczema moisturizing cream

To ease your job of selecting the right moisturizer, we have got the list of products that preferred by the people to moisturize their skin with Eczema.  

Following are the brands rank wise that people preferred most with Ingredients mentioned

eczema moisturizing cream

  1. Cerave 
  2. Aveeno 
  3. Cetaphil 
  4. Eucerin
  5. Curel 
  6. Neutrogena 
  7. Vanicream 
  8. E45 
  9. Avene 
  10. Coconut Oil 

Wherein Cerave, Aveeno and Cetaphil occupied the top three positions in people’s opinions.

Let us see what makes this brand a perfect eczema moisturizing cream manufacturer  

Cerave  

Eczema Creamy Oil 


Cerave features a product called Cerave Eczema creamy oil which specifically for people suffering from Atopic Dermatitis. The product is formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and safflower oil to help moisturize dry skin and keep it comfortable. 

What does Cerave Moisturizer contain? 

  • Water 
  • Isononyl Isononanoate 
  • Propylheptyl Caprylate 
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate 
  • Glycerin 
  • Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil 
  • Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil 
  • Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil 
  • Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil 
  • Magnesium Sulfate 
  • Sorbitan Monooleate 
  • Ceramide 3 
  • Ceramide 6 II 
  • Ceramide 1 
  • Niacinamide 
  • Sodium PCA 
  • Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract 
  • Allantoin 
  • Hyaluronic Acid 
  • Sodium Hydroxide 
  • Xanthan Gum 
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Ricinoleate 
  • Tocopheryl Acetate 
  • Tocopherol 
  • Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate 
  • Phytosphingosine 
  • Cholesterol 
  • Carbomer 
  • Phenoxyethanol 
  • Ethylhexylglycerin 

Top user Comment:

I love using CeraVe for my body, and First Aid Beauty (FAB) Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer for my face. I’ve never tried using CeraVe on my face, but I might give it a shot. It makes my arms and legs feel silky smooth, so I’m a big fan.

Aveeno 

Eczema therapy Daily Moisturizing cream  

Aveeno moisturizing cream

Aveeno’s this product for eczema focuses on renewing and reviving dry itchy skin. Colloidal oatmeal is the special and key ingredient in the cream to nourish and restore the skin’s protective function. 

What does Aveeno Moisturizer contain? 

  • Colloidal Oatmeal 1 
  • Water 
  • Glycerin 
  • Panthenol 
  • Distearyldimonium Chloride 
  • Petrolatum 
  • Isopropyl Palmitate 
  • Cetyl Alcohol 
  • Dimethicone 
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil 
  • Steareth-20, Benzalkonium Chloride 
  • Ceramide NP 
  • Sodium Chloride 
  • Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract

Top user comment:

I used to have oily skin, but then I got prescribed an acne treatment, so now my skin is quite dry and oily at the same time. Every night I use the Aveeno daily moisturizing body lotion on my face and neck and it works wonders for me:)

Cetaphil 

Restoraderm Eczema Soothing Moisturizer 

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

This Cetaphil product for Eczema is formulated with a unique combination of colloidal oatmeal, ceramide and patented Filaggrin technology™ to hydrate and calm dry itchy, eczema and atopic prone skin. 

What does Cetaphil Moisturizer contain? 

  • Colloidal Oatmeal 1% 
  • Allantoin 
  • Arginine 
  • Behenyl AlcoholButyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter 
  • Caprylic/Capric 
  • Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol 
  • Ceramide NP 
  • Ceteareth-20 
  • Cetearyl Alcohol 
  • Cetyl Alcohol 
  • Citric Acid 
  • Cyclopentasiloxane 
  • Dimethiconol 
  • Disodium EDTA 
  • Disodium Ethylene 
  • Dicocamide PEG-15 
  • Disulfate 
  • Glycerin 
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Glyceryl Stearate Citrate 
  • Helianthus Annuus 
  • (Sunflower) Seed Oil 
  • Niacinamide 
  • Panthenol 
  • Pentylene Glycol 
  • Sodium Hyaluronate 
  • Sodium PCA 
  • Sodium Polyacrylate 
  • Sorbitol 
  • Tocopheryl Acetate 
  • Water 

Top user Comment: 

Cetaphil cleanser and daily moisturizer have been my HG for 18 years.

Eucerin 

Eczema Relief Body Cream

Eucerin Moisturizing Cream

Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream is a clinically proven moisturizing formula that relieves and fortifies dry, itchy eczema-prone skin. This fast-absorbing eczema cream is enriched with Colloidal Oatmeal (a skin protectant), Ceramide-3, and Licochalcone (a licorice root extract). This soothing moisturizing cream is gentle enough for everyday use and helps strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. 

What does Eucerin Moisturizer contain?

  • Colloidal Oatmeal 1% (Skin Protectant) 
  • Water   
  • Glycerin   
  • Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil   
  • Mineral Oil   
  • Cetyl Alcohol   
  • Glyceryl Stearate   
  • Caprylic-Capric-Triglyceride   
  • Octyldodecanol   
  • Cetyl Palmitate   
  • PEG-40 Stearate   
  • Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract   
  • Ceramide NP   
  • 1-2-Hexanediol   
  • Phenoxyethanol   
  • Piroctone Olamine   
  • Caprylyl Glycol   
  • Ethylhexylglycerin   
  • Benzyl Alcohol   
  • Citric Acid 

Curel 

Itch Defence 

Curel moisturizing cream

 

Curél® Itch Défense® Lotion, targeted towards dry skin has Advanced Ceramide Complex which restores skin’s ceramide levels to help retain moisture and prevent symptoms of dry, itchy skin from returning. It gives a special claim that it can be used for people with eczema. 

What does Cruel Lotion contain? 

  • Water 
  • Glycerin 
  • Petroleum 
  • Tapioca starch 
  • Cetearyl alcohol 
  • PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer 
  • Dimethicone 
  • Behentrimonium Chloride 
  • Isopropyl palmitate 
  • PPG-15 Stearylether 
  • Propylene glycol Isostearate 
  • Panthenol 
  • Methylparaben 
  • Benzalkonium chloride 
  • Ethylparaben 
  • Olea europaea (Olivefruit oil 
  • Cetyl-PG hydroxyethyl Palmitamide 
  • Butyrospermum parkii (Sheabutter 
  •  Tocopheryl acetate 
  • Bis-Methoxypropylamido Isodocosane 

Neutrogena 

Oil-Free Moisture 

Neutrogena Moisturizing Cream

This lightweight, water-based formula of Neutrogena is gentle, the fragrance-free and hypoallergic nature makes it effective for even sensitive skin. It is oil-free and non-comedogenic. 

What does Neutrogena Moisturizer contain? 

  • Water 
  • C12-15 alkyl benzoate 
  • Carbomer 
  • Cetyl Alcohol 
  • Cyclomethicone 
  • Diazolidinyl Urea 
  • Dimethicone 
  • Ethylhexyl Palmitate 
  • Ethylparaben 
  • Glycerin 
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Isopropyl Isostearate 
  • Methylparaben 
  • PEG-10 Soy Sterol 
  • PEG-100 Stearate 
  • Petrolatum 
  • Propylparaben 
  • Sodium Hydroxide 
  • Soybean Glycine Soja Sterols 
  • Tetrasodium EDTA 

Vanicream 

Moisturizing Cream 

vanicream moisturizing cream

 

It’s a non-greasy moisturizing cream that is easy to spread, quickly absorbed and non-comedogenic. It Helps restore and maintain a normal moisture level. Soothes red, irritated, cracking or itchy skin.  Ideal for skin associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, ichthyosis, and winter itch. Apart from Cream, the product is also available in the lotion and ointment versions. 

What does Vanicream contain? 

  • Purified water,  
  • Petrolatum 
  • Sorbitol,  
  • Cetearyl alcohol,  
  • Propylene glycol,  
  • Peteareth-20,  
  • Simethicone 
  • Glyceryl stearate,  
  • PEG-30 stearate, s 
  • Sorbic acid,  
  • BHT 

Top user comment: 

I recently switched to Vanicream, and I am loving the Lite Lotion and the Moisturizer!

E45 

E45 Moisturizing Lotion 

E45 Moisturising Lotion

E45 is a dermatologically tested Perfume-Free Lotion which is a light daily dry skin moisturizer that’s perfect for everyday use all over the body, to keep your skin feeling soft, supple and hydrated. E45 Moisturising Lotion contains Medilan™, a purified, hypoallergenic form of lanolin with excellent moisturizing properties. It soothes, protects the skin and more importantly suitable for sensitive skin too.

What does E45 Moisturizing Lotion contain? 

  • Aqua 
  • Petrolatum 
  • Isopropyl Palmitate 
  • Paraffinum Liquidum 
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Ceteth-20 
  • Hypoallergenic Anhydrous Lanolin (Medilan™) 
  • Phenoxyethanol 
  • Methylparaben 
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose 
  • Carbomer 
  • Propylparaben 
  • Sodium Hydroxide 
  • BHT 

Avene 

Skin Recovery Cream RICH 

Avene Moisturizing Cream

Avene’s RICH moisturizing cream is formulated with minimal ingredients for the highest level of tolerance for hypersensitive and irritated skin. It is formulated with minimal ingredients for maximum tolerance and helps reduce inflammation and reactivity protecting the skin’s barrier 

What does Avene Moisturizer contain? 

  • Aven thermal spring water 
  • Mineral oil 
  • Glycerin 
  • Squalene 
  • Dimethicone 
  • Glyceryl Stearate 
  • Behenyl alcohol 
  • Serine 
  • Butyrospermum parkii (Sheabutter 
  • Carbomer 
  • Tetrasodium EDTA 
  • Triethanolamine 
  • Water 
  • Xantham gum

Top user comment:

I used Avène for a few years and absolutely zero irritation too, they have great products as well.

Hope this article helps you find the best eczema moisturizer that suits your skin. It was possible because of the contribution of the users and readers like you. In case you feel any product that should be listed under this heading please leave us in the comment. Also, let us know your story about how these products helped you recover from poor skin conditions to inspire fellow readers. 

What is Microbiome: Role in Eczema and its Treatment

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Want to know what is microbiome? We all know that our body is made up of innumerable cells. Scientists mention that an average human body approximately consists of 37.2 trillion cells, a few more or less depending upon the factors like size, weight, age, etc of an individual i.e. 37200000000000 that’s too many zeros, isn’t it?

But there is something more in numbers in the human body than the number of cells. It is the Microorganisms, yes you read it right – the human body also consists of innumerable microorganisms and the number is estimated to be three to ten times the human cells in an average human body.

What is the Human Microbiome?

One may always think of what is the human microbiome. Microscopic living things such as bacteria, fungi, viruses are called Micro-organisms and conveniently called Microbes. The genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses – that live on and inside the human body is collectively termed as Microbiome.

Though there are different types of Microbes that reside in and on the human body, the most studied are bacteria which are huge in number, hence its nothing wrong in saying that we more bacteria than a human.

What role does Microbiome have in the human body?

Have you ever come across questions such as What is the human microbiome? and what are their roles in the human body? Let’s check out below:

Microbes are present in every part of the body, on the skin, up the nose, but a chunk of them resides in the gut inside the large intestine. Microbiome plays a vital role in the development of immunity and nutrition. The bacteria in the microbiome help in digestion, regulate the immune system, produce vitamins, and protect against other bacteria that cause disease. New research says that gut microbiome may also affect the central nervous system, which controls brain function.

Similarly, microbes residing on the skin also play a critical role in skin health. Any alterations in the composition and function of these microbes lead to changes in immunity causing skin diseases, such as Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis as it is commonly known.

Skin Microbiome and Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition marked by red, itchy, inflamed skin. There is no direct known cause for eczema except that it is caused by the combination of genetic and environmental factors. But recently researchers linked the onset of eczema flares to the activity of microorganisms. Various environmental factors, such as stress, diet, and pollutants, affect microbial composition in the skin.


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Skin microbiomes influence the skin barrier by controlling ecological factors, such as humidity, temperature, pH, and lipid content. These changes can exacerbate skin barrier impairment and are associated with abnormalities in the functions of skin barrier-associated genes. Earlier studies have found that the Microbe Staphylococcus aureus creates susceptibility to develop Atopic Dermatitis and is directly linked to Eczema Flares.

The Experiment

In an Experiment by Dr. Kong [1] and his team, the researchers sampled the skin of pediatric eczema patients, before a flare, during the flare, & after a flare and analyzed the bacteria, using advanced gene sequencing techniques. As a result, they could see more S. aureus during flares compared to samples taken before and after and from healthy controls. This clearly proves the association of S. aureus with eczema flares exacerbating the eczema symptoms.

Microbiome and Eczema

Moreover, it was also found that the presence of S. aureus results in skin barrier dysfunction further delaying the healing process in Eczema.

For further clarification on the role of S. aureus in the development of Atopic Dermatitis, the researchers collected samples from human skin and administered colonies of the bacteria to the mouse. The skin on the mice became inflamed and thick. They found that S. aureus made use of a process called “quorum sensing” as a means of communication between S. aureus individuals.

The bacteria use it to know when to release toxins and enzymes that break down the skin barrier, allowing the bacteria access to interior parts of the skin, which causes flareups.

Good Bacteria Vs Bad Bacteria

While the problem is caused by one microbe the solution was also found in other microbes. While screening the S. aureus killing strains, a couple of bacteria that dwell on the skin was found they were Staphylococcus epidermis and Staphylococcus hominis.

These bacteria living on the skin and fight off the toxins using proteins called antimicrobial peptides that interfere with quorum sensing. When the researchers cultured some of the “good” bacteria and applied it to the skin of mice with eczema, it prevented flareups.

Good bacteria vs Bad Bacteria

Similarly, in another research by Ian A Myles [2], another gram-negative bacteria called Roseomonas mucosa was found to be improving the skin barrier function, immune balance, and property of killing S aureus which when sprayed on mice prevented it from developing Eczema.

Using Microbes for Treating Eczema Patients

A topical lotion with S. epidermis and S. hominis strains to test their effects on atopic dermatitis patients was created by Dr. Gallo’s and team. Application of this lotion on volunteers suffering from eczema gave results in 24 hrs vanishing S. aureus. The same Lotion without these microbes remained ineffective on the patients.

For testing the therapeutic effect of R mucosa in humans with AD live strains of R mucosa isolates were sprayed on eczema of each participant twice weekly for 6 weeks in adults. There was a significant decrease in a rash, itch and the need for topical steroids.

It was also found that while the helpful S. epidermis and S. hominis strains are abundant on the skin of healthy people, they are rare on the skin of atopic dermatitis patients. This suggests that they provide the first line of defense against the pathogen causing the skin barrier dysfunction leading to the onset of Eczema. The Exact reason why some human body fails to develop these good bacteria is still unclear and requires further research.

Conclusion

As there are numerous treatment options and precautionary measures available for treating eczema, the different method works for different individuals. The treatment also depends on managing triggers and care routine. The theory of treating eczema with microbes is an interesting development in treating eczema. This method will be effective as it directly acts on the actual cause of the flare-up i.e. killing the S. aureus bacteria. These studies and experiments will aid in developing effective treatments consisting of Microbiome. Methods and solutions to improve the healthy skin Microbiome shall also play a crucial role in preventing and treating Atopic Dermatitis

References:

  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/newsroom/spotlight-on-research/role-microbiota-eczema-findings-suggest-striking-right-balance-keeps [1]
  • https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/pediatric-dermatology/microbiome-based-therapy-eczema-horizon [2]

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB-8JEo_0bI

 

Stress Management Techniques to Control Eczema

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Eczema and Stress

Eczema and stress are co-related to each other. Eczema is a chronic skin condition though prevalent amongst the children, it affects people of all ages. Also known as Atopic Dermatitis, it is a multi-faceted skin disease that occurs as a result of one or a combination of various factors such as human genes, weather, environmental factors, etc. Triggers play the role of a culprit in exacerbating the eczema symptoms causing flares.

One of the factors which is not external and nor genes but which aggravates eczema is Stress. Emotional stress, anxiety, low mood, depression, panic, etc can be placed under the roof of stress, which not only affects the person mentally but also physically aggravating Eczema Symptoms.

People suffering from eczema may find that their flare-ups start or worsen with increased levels of stress. Hence people’s condition worsens even if all the triggers are well managed and in control and that is due to Stress. One should not rule out stress or take it lightly while managing eczema. Therefore eczema and stress can make eczema worse.

Eczema due to stress

Eczema due to stress can be found in many people. One of the important reasons for the onset of eczema is skin barrier dysfunction. Stress further worsens the immunity, affecting the skin barrier in people who are already suffering from Eczema. When an individual is tensed the body tries to protect the skin by boosting inflammation there and this boost worsens the condition in Eczema patients.

This happens because people with Eczema has increased response to stress as they have for other factors. This increased response results in the release of a high amount of cortisol “a stress hormone” which is known for its fight-flight response.

While it’s a response from the body to help us face the stressful situation, too much cortisol, suppresses the immune system and causes an inflammatory response in the skin. And as known, people suffering eczema are particularly susceptible to this inflammatory response.

Eczema due to Stress

 

As stress hampers the skin barrier function it leads to more moisture loss and increased susceptibility to eczema infections. It further reduces the natural defense of skin to keep a check on germs and its ability to retain moisture.


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Major causes of Stress

Before heading for the solution let’s check out the common and major reason for stress in human life

what causes stress

 

Major causes of stress in adults

· Work pressures or job loss: Too much of work pressure in completing tasks and completing tasks in the office. The fear of job loss is one of the common causes of stress in adults those who are employed and unemployment itself is a depressing situation.

· Bereavement: Loss of a loved one makes people enter depression

· Relationship challenges: The ups and downs in various types of relationships.

· Money worries: Financial insecurity creates fear and stressful condition especially for a family.

Major causes of stress in children

· Social pressures e.g. bullying: Feeling of inferiority complex and the constant fear of getting bullied leads to panic and stress

· Studying for exams: Important cause of stress in students

· Parental divorce: Another Major cause of stress in children are fighting between their parents or divorce.

Stress Eczema Treatment

Stress eczema treatment is essential for people suffering from eczema. Studies have shown that people suffering from eczema, who tried mediation techniques or received psychological therapy along with their routine medical care have significantly larger improvements in their skin condition than those who just received standard medical care or skincare education. With the help of below stress eczema treatment, one can manage eczema effectively.

Some of the techniques include:

How to get rid of Stress in Eczema

Meditation

There are various techniques and methods of meditation, from deep breathing, yoga, or simply lying or sitting in isolation to relax. Pick the one that suits you and practice it regularly. Different techniques may suit different people, simply spend time just for yourself. Make sure you dedicate time to your schedule and be consistent.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be defined as a state of intentional, non-judgmental focus on the present moment. It has four core elements i.e. Awareness, Focus, Acceptance, and Observation. It is something that you can practice anywhere in-home or in the go while eating etc. just keep in mind the core elements.

For e.g. mindful eating involves eating very slowly and deliberately while paying attention to the sensations of holding the item, smelling, tasting, chewing, and swallowing it.

You can try any mindfulness technique including Mindful eating, Mindful breathing, Body Scan, Mindful Movement, Loving-kindness meditation, etc.

Mindfulness can reduce stress responses and help in strengthening the immune system and lowering the blood pressure level.

Sound sleep

Lack of sleep is an important factor that disturbs the mental health of an individual. Many times a sound sleep is what all you need. A good nights sleep can help in lowering the stress, giving space and time for the mind to relax. If it’s the eczema itch that’s not allowing you to sleep, try popping up antihistamine before bed (take advice from your physician for such a situation). Make your sleeping environment comfortable with regards to bed, room temperature, humidity to aid you in a good night’s sleep.

Eczema Groups

Most people suffering from eczema feel lonely and detached from society. It’s common to feel embarrassing about the condition but it’s also human nature to befriend with similar people. In this case, people suffering from the same condition will not have any barrier between them as both are suffering from it. There are several Eczema Support groups across the globe on the internet, social media where one can be a member, share their problems, give solutions from personal experience. These groups even carry out different programs for the people. Joining such a group can boost confidence in reducing the depression of why it happens to me?

Get Involved in Leisure Activities

It is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay – try some exercise, or involve in a sport which you enjoy (Avoid sweating or take a shower as soon as you reach home. You can also involve in activities which you love or makes you relax like reading a book, watching a play, visiting your loved ones, etc.

Visit physician

If things won’t work as you planned, you always have the option of seeking help from your physician. There also exists psychological therapy, Habit reversal technique (Reversing the habit of scratching) and Psychotherapy (also known as “talk therapy”) which your physician may guide you to go for. The addition of psychological treatment also reduces the number of topical steroids needed.

Conclusion

People with eczema experience the onset of eczema flares which worsen with increased stress. Eczema itself can also lead to more stress as it can be itchy and uncomfortable for patients, which will ultimately result in more inflammation and flareup, leading to a vicious cycle. This is because stress hormone which hampers the skin barrier increases the inflammation to trigger an eczema flare.

Managing stress is an essential part of treating eczema as some of the stress managing techniques not only help in preventing eczema flares but also strengthens the immune system and overall skin health. Stress management along with the routine care treatment has shown a larger response in reducing the eczema symptoms than those without stress management.

The Combined Approach to Treat Eczema

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What Triggers Eczema?

Skin is the largest organ in humans constituting the outer most layer of the body. It forms a barrier between the internal body and the environment to carry out these two-key functions:

1) To retain moisture by preventing the loss of water

2) Preventing foreign particles such as pathogens, allergens, irritants etc from entering inside the body.

This is called as the skin barrier function and its maintenance is very crucial for the skin’s health and overall protection of the body. In some Individuals due to complex interaction between the genetic and environmental factor, this skin barrier disrupts, and immune response of the cells gets altered. This alteration gives rise Atopic Dermatitis also commonly known as Eczema.

Eczema is commonly recognized as a dry, red, itchy and inflamed skin condition. This skin condition is common among the babies that disappear as the baby grows. But in some individuals, it continues and becomes a lifelong condition. Many teens and adults too suffer from this chronic skin condition. Eczema in children is common. Eczema gets flared or the condition exacerbates due to its triggers which can be anything from your day to day life such as food, apparel, weather, perfume, detergent, etc.

Eczema doesn’t have a complete cure like diabetes; it needs proper management. So the best treatment for eczema is
essential. A properly managed eczema skin is as good as normal skin. It is very crucial to keep a check or track your various activities for effective eczema management.


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The Combined Approach to Atopic Eczema Treatment

Managing eczema is not only about drugs and lotions, but it is also a multi-step and multi-factor process that includes, avoiding triggers, applying creams, taking medicines, changing behavior, etc. In short, it is a combined approach bringing together the conventional dermatology treatments with a set of psychological interventions. The combination of these topical remedies and the elimination of self-damaging behavior such as scratching optimizes the effectiveness of healing and managing eczema.

This Combined Approach to treating eczema is one of the techniques from behavioral dermatology. It uses behavior modification to optimize the conventional treatment of atopic eczema. It was originally devised by Dr. Peter Norén, Dermatologist in Uppsala, Sweden.  eliminating the habitual behavior is key as it results in the chronic eczema condition not allowing it to heal.

Using the EczemaLess app you can inculcate the combined approach in your routine to treat and manage eczema effectively. Let us check out the fundamentals of treating eczema with a combined approach using eczemaLess app

3 Fundamentals of treating eczema

The 3 fundamentals for treating eczema using the combined approach are

  1. Manging Dryness
  2. Treating Eczema Inflammation
  3. Scratch control

Managing Skin Dryness

Managing Skin Dryness in Eczema

In Eczema due to the barrier dysfunction the skin losses its property to retain moisture. This results in water loss making the skin dry. Dry skin further exacerbates the eczema symptoms giving rise to itching, making the skin susceptible to damage due to scratching. Extreme Dry skin also leads to cracks, which opens the entrance to the pathogen, causing infection in Eczema.

This dry condition can be managed by keeping the skin moisturized. Effective moisturizing is one of the key elements in keeping Eczema flares down and avoiding flare-ups.

For effective moisturizing one should be doing it in a certain fashion, at proper intervals and by selecting appropriate moisturizers. The best treatment for eczema is important hence, check out the tips below to effectively moisturize your skin in Eczema

Step 1 – Select the right moisturizer

Moisturizers come in different forms such as creams, lotion, and ointment. Each one differs from others in terms of water level and medicinal contents. You must always go with the application that is easy to apply and suits your eczema condition or get a piece of advice from your physician

Step 2 – Time to Apply

Figure out the right time and frequency to get maximum benefit in the treatment. The best time to apply moisturizer is immediately after your shower or as soon as you are out of a bathtub.

Reapply the moisturizer frequently, at a regular time interval, or as soon as the previous application dries up to retain the skin moisture effectively. Skin area which is exposed requires more frequent application than those which are covered.

Step 3 – Method to apply

Apply a thin layer to provide insulation for the water inside the skin and not very thick, because thick layer will trap the heat inside which may worsen then condition. Do not rub hard as it may further damage the skin

Apply the moisturizer softly but effectively covering all the skin areas, especially the effected and exposed ones. apply quickly without consuming much time before the wet skin gets dried up.

Treating Eczema Skin Inflammation

Topical Creams to treat Eczema

Eczema cannot be cured completely, the treatment of eczema lies in managing its symptoms such as inflammation, itch, rash effectively and preventing the episodes of flare-ups. As a primary line of treatment to eczema flares, topical and non-topical steroids and creams are used. These creams quickly relieve the itching and reduce the inflammation. Along with the other techniques, this will prevent Eczema flare-ups.

It is very essential to get the right topical treatment from your care provider. It is also very important to use them exactly as it is prescribed.

It is recommended to use it exactly as prescribed by the physician and not to leave until the skin stops itching and the inflammation has gone away. But not too long more than prescribed duration which may lead to topical steroid addiction and other side-effects due to overuse.

Use the fingertip rule for the quantity required to cover the affected area effectively.

Scratch Control

Scratch Control tips

The above two fundamentals fall under the conventional remedy for eczema, whereas this falls under the Psychological treatment that is bringing a behavioral change or habit reversal technique.

Often “itch” and “scratch” are used interchangeably to describe the same thing but clinically both mean different things. Itch is a feeling, while scratching is an action or behavior towards that feeling.

The dry skin and red rash condition of the skin gives rise to an unbearable itch. This itch leads to scratch to get temporary relief. But when an individual scratches the skin it gets damaged. Damaged skin leads to more rash that means more itching and ultimately which causes more scratching. This is called the vicious itch-scratch cycle which causes exacerbation of Eczema and damage to the skin.

When this cycle continues, one tends to scratch again and again which becomes a habit. So now the person starts scratching due to habit without any itch.

Habitual Scratching is the main cause of Chronic Eczema which continuously damages the skin and doesn’t allow eczema to heal. Hence it is very crucial to control the scratching or reverse this habit of scratching. There are numerous habit reversal techniques which can be used to prevent scratching, along with the other treatment.

The scratching can be tracked by counting them and noting the situations, circumstances and what helped for scratching. One of the best ways to deal with itch without scratching psychologically is holding the fist tightly for 30 secs. If it still feels itchy than a pinch or poke a nail on the skin.

Treatment cycle Duration

Treatment with topical steroids occurs in two stages in 1st stage of healing, the normal appearance of the skin is restored i.e. the skin looks good this is called “The look Good Point” and the second one “feel-good point” on.  Hidden healing which further reduces the possibility of a flare-up.

So, it is very important to continue the application beyond the look good point. As per the recommended approach, it takes approximately 5 – 6 weeks while treating chronic eczema to reach the look good point and takes a couple of weeks more to accomplish hidden healing. In acute eczema the numbers approximately the same only the weeks change into days.

The Combined Approach was designed for adults and older children with proper stages and routine to be followed.  A modified version suitable for Younger Children is also released which is almost like the earlier involving the parents. The stages of treatment are outlined, with an emphasis on how the parents, and others, are required to be involved. Both the plans for adults and younger children is based on the three fundamentals of treatment with few pre-treatment assessments.

Other points to consider along with the combined approach

Managing Triggers – Different people have different triggers that cause their eczema to flare. It’s important to keep track to identify the triggers and avoid it. Keep a track of your triggers using the trigger section in the app. In case of food try elimination diet technique (inform your physician before trying)

Managing Stress – Stress aggravates the eczema symptoms causing flare-ups. It also induces scratching leading to the itch-scratch cycle. Try different meditation techniques, to reduce stress and achieve peace of mind

Maintain Attitude – For the people suffering from eczema, life can often be miserable. A psychological boost is important if you believe you can do. Don’t “accept and live with it, think like it’s just a small skin problem.  Don’t give up if previous attempts have failed, the combined approach is holistic and has been shown to provide positive results

Avoid infection: In eczema due to low immunity and skin barrier dysfunction, the patient is at high risk for the infection. The patient needs to be extra cautious about the eczema flares he gets if the treatment is not subsidizing the flare one should seek medical. It may be due to the infection. Look for symptoms for Infection in eczema especially in kids.

Conclusion:

As we can see that though Eczema does not have any cure, by using proper techniques one can overcome Eczema. The combined approach of using conventional treatment along with behavioral changes can be very effective in combating Eczema in the long run.

References:  

  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjd.15092
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311935534_Habit_reversal_for_habitual_scratching_in_younger_children_with_atopic_eczema