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Article: Eczema Supplements | Skin Inflammation, Redness, Dry & Itchy Skin

Eczema Supplements | Skin Inflammation, Redness, Dry & Itchy Skin

Eczema 

Author: Dr. Veena Deo

Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by redness, itching, and oozing vesicular lesions that become scaly, crusted, or hardened.

Eczema, a boiling over of the skin, is characterized by redness, flaking, and tiny blisters. The terms Eczema and Dermatitis are synonymous, referring to distinctive reaction patterns in the skin, which can be either acute or chronic. In the acute stage, edema of the epidermis progresses to the formation of intra-epidermal vesicles, which may enlarge and rupture. In the chronic stage, there is less edema and vesiculation but more thickening of the epidermis; this is accompanied by a variable degree of vasodilation and T-cell lymphocytic infiltration in the upper dermis.

Causes:

The exact cause is unknown, but it may occur due to environmental and hereditary factors. New research shows that eczema is associated with a weak immune system. Environmental factors include soap, detergent, and disinfectants. Allergies to dairy food, eggs, wheat, and soy products can also contribute, as can infections from bacteria and viruses. Stress is not a cause, but it can exacerbate symptoms. Research published in the British Journal of Dermatology has found that the use of antibiotics in babies may increase the risk of developing eczema by 40%.

Classification Of Eczema:

Atopic, Seborrheic, Discoid, Irritant, Allergic, Asteatotic, Gravitational, Lichen simplex, Pompholyx.

Clinical Symptoms:

The clinical symptoms are similar in all types and vary according to the duration of the rash. Acute eczema presents with redness, swelling, papules, vesicles, and, more rarely, large blisters, exudation, cracking, peeling, and scaling. Chronic eczema presents with the same symptoms, but usually less vesicular and exudative, with lichenification, dry leathery thickening, fissures, scratch marks, and hypo- or hyperpigmentation.

Atopic Eczema:

It is hereditary and affects 10 to 20% of people. Atopic individuals may manifest one or more of a group of diseases including asthma, hay fever, food and other allergies, and atopic eczema.

Clinical Features:

In childhood, red, itchy dry skin occurs and may disappear in adulthood. The onset is usually in the first 2 years of life. In atopic eczema, visible flexural eczema is observed on the cheeks, forehead, and outer limbs if the individual is under 4 years old. There is widespread dryness of the skin and a history of asthma or hay fever. In infants, this type of eczema occurs on the chest, face, scalp, and neck.

Complications:

Infections, especially Staphylococcus aureus (bacterial), can occur. Contact with the herpes simplex virus can lead to widespread severe eruptions, and behavioral difficulties may arise.

Seborrheic Eczema:

This type of eczema presents with a red, scaly rash affecting the scalp (dandruff occurs), eyebrows, central chest, and nasolabial folds. Severe cases may resemble psoriasis and are a feature of AIDS.

Discoid Eczema:

This type presents with coin-shaped eczematous lesions on the limbs of young and elderly men. It may also occur in children with atopic eczema.

Irritant Eczema:

Common causes include detergents, alkalis, acids, solvents, and abrasive dust. Elderly individuals with an atopic background and fair, dry skin are vulnerable. Strong irritants produce acute reactions at the site of contact, while weak irritants often cause chronic eczema.

Allergic Contact Eczema:

This type occurs due to delayed hypersensitivity reactions following contact with haptens (small molecules that can elicit an immune response) wherever allergens come in contact with the skin. Common allergens include nickel (present in jewelry, jean studs, and bra clips), dichromate (in leather and cement), paraphenylenediamine (in hair dye, clothing), and rubber chemicals (in clothing, shoes, and tires).

Asteatotic Eczema:

This type is generally observed in elderly hospitalized individuals with dry skin due to overwashing and diuretics. It often occurs on the lower legs.

Gravitational (Statis) Eczema:

This type occurs on the lower legs and is often associated with venous insufficiency, presenting with red or bluish discoloration, hair loss, and ulceration.

Lichen Simplex:

Characterized by chronic itching and scratching, lichen simplex presents with thick, leathery, brownish skin. Common sites affected include the nap of the neck, lower legs, and anogenital area.

Pompholyx:

This skin disease is marked by an eruption of vesicles, especially on the palms, surfaces of the fingers, and soles. It can be provoked by heat, stress, or nickel ingestion in nickel-sensitive patients but is often idiopathic.

General Management:

Regular use of bland emollients is advisable in all types of eczema to prevent excessive water loss and reduce the amount of local corticosteroids used. Instead of soap, emollients should be used as a bath additive.

Investigations:

Patch tests are performed for suspected patients of contact allergic dermatitis. IgE and specific IgE tests support the diagnosis of atopic eczema and determine specific environmental allergens.

Ref: Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine

Herbs To Treat Eczema:

  • Red Clover: Contains tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant useful in eczema.
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root: Relieves swelling, and allergy symptoms, and improves liver function.
  • Aloe vera gel: Acts as an anti-inflammatory when applied to the affected area.
  • Milk thistle: Helps to cure eczema and related liver problems.
  • Tea tree oil: Contains terpenoids, which act as active antimicrobial agents to prevent or treat bacterial infections.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Boil water with Neem bark (Azadirachta indica) and clean the affected part daily with this water.
  • Use warm water for bathing.
  • Apply a paste of Neem bark on the affected part.
  • Apply olive oil to reduce inflammation and moisturize the skin.
  • Eat watermelon daily.
  • Add oatmeal powder to your bath to prevent clumps.
  • Use Flaxseed oil or Pumpkin seed oil in salad dressing for Omega 3 oils.
  • Take walks in fresh air daily.
  • Take sea salt baths to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Apply a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to the affected area.
  • Wear cotton clothes.
  • Take grape seed extract orally to detoxify the body and relieve eczema symptoms.
  • GLA, found in primrose oil, is effective in controlling eczema symptoms, but more research is needed.
  • Apply a mixture of camphor and sandalwood on the affected parts.
  • Apply a paste of Turmeric powder on the affected parts or consume a pinch of turmeric daily.

Avoid:

  • Aromatic and perfumed products like scented soaps and lotions.
  • Scratching.
  • Tight-fitting and abrasive clothing.
  • Stress, as it weakens the immune system.
  • Sour foods like pickles, curd, meat, and fish.

Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some natural home remedies, consult an Ayurvedic physician for the proper quantities before using them.