What is it? What causes it? How to I know I definitely have it?
If eczema look different on different skin tones, and even appears differently on the skin, depending on its severity or type, then your first port of call is going to be seeing a doctor, or even your local pharmacist or naturopath.
Itching skin is often, but not always the first, symptom followed by dry patches, inflamed skin, rough, thick skin and if itched, broken and also infected skin.
Eczema can vary in intensity when it comes to how irritating the itch can be and it also varies in time when it comes to how long it lasts.
In some cases of eczema, the skin can react to tap water, but the most common triggers are detergents, skincare, body soaps, food products, grass, allergens and lack of humidity, stress, or a combination of these elements.
For some sufferers, the main cause of worry is that reaction can occur without any apparent reason, even if a person isn’t exposed to the usual triggers. This is where triggers such as stress or lack of sleep can also be looked at.
THE BEST TIME TO DEAL WITH THE SYMTOM OF ECZEMA IS STRAIGHT AWAY, BEFORE IT SPIRALS OUT OF CONTROL AND GETS WORSE. HOWEVER, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO GET STARTED
Check out: How Do I Know If I Have Eczema? on YouTube
SEVERAL TYPES OF ECZEMA YOU WILL HAVE HEARD OF:
Atopic Dermatitis The most common and most painful, frustrating itch. Can leave skin prone to infection, inflammation and can appear anywhere on face & body.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis Happens when your skin comes into contact with a specific substance. The substance can trigger an abnormal reaction in the immune system.
AVOID: Fragrance in skincare, detergents, laundry cleaning products, wool, citrus, grass, vinegar.
Cradle Cap (Infant Seborrheic Eczema) Looks crusty but isn’t itchy. It mostly affects babies up to age of 1 year old.
Adult Seborrheic Eczema: Appears on scalp as mild dandruff but can end up on ears, face, and chest. Normally found in 20-40 year old. It looks flaky and can become inflamed. Normally cause by an increase in yeast, and if it becomes infected it will need anti-fungal treatment.
Dyshidrotic Eczema: More common in women than men. Appears as small fluid blisters on hands and feet. Blisters can itch and hurt and skin can crack and become flaky.
Caused by: Allergies, stress, damp hands & feet, exposure to substance like nickel, cobalt & chromium salt.
Hand Eczema: Dry and itchy, may form blisters or cracks. It is triggered by exposure to irritant causing chemicals. Using antibacterial gels can trigger hand eczema as well.
Nummular Dermatitis: They look like a round coin shaped dots on the skin, it can itch a lot and become scaly. It is triggered by insect bites or an allergy reaction to metal or chemicals. Atopic dermatitis is also a trigger for nummular dermatitis.
Stasis Dermatitis: Triggered by fluid leaking out of weakened veins into the skin. It causes swelling, itching & pain. It mainly effects the lower leg and feels achy and heavy. Possible for people who suffers varicose veins with dry itchy skin over the veins, which may develop open sores.
For all of these, don’t think there is nothing you can do about it if you have been told it is genetic or it keeps reoccurring. As well as treating the symptom itself, you will need to start looking at what is causing your eczema.
We are all unique, so what triggers one person’s eczema, may not be the same for another person.
It is definitely useful to keep a food and lifestyle journal to document everything.
- WHAT YOU ATE THAT DAY, WHERE YOU ATE, WHO COOKED
- PRODUCTS YOU USED: SKINCARE, HAIRCARE, SUNSCREEN, PERFUME, MAKEUP
- JEWELLERY WORN THAT DAY
- WHAT YOU DID: SWIM, WALK IN CITY, WALK IN WOODS, CLEAN HOUSE
- LENGTH OF TIME AND TEMPERATURE OF BATH WATER
- STRESSFUL DAY, FUN DAY, GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, EXERCISE, AIR CONDITIONING, CENTRAL HEATING
- SYMTOMS OTHER THAN ECZEMA EG. STOMACH PAIN, SINUSES, HEADACHE, SINUS PAIN, ARTHRITIS PAIN
If something as simple as sweat can be a trigger for your eczema, then is is definitely worth documenting for 2 weeks before starting your exclusion diet. Removing all known eczema triggers for 2 weeks then reintroducing one at time to see if there’s a reaction.
Check out What Causes Eczema, Exclusion Diet and Creating A Healthy Food Diary on YouTube.
Once food, skincare and your environment have been addressed, you can also look at gut health and possible supplementation to help your gut, skin and overall body health.
Once you deal with the triggers and the possible cause of your eczema, you will start to suffer less and less. It isn’t a one cure fits all condition, as we are all unique and eczema is multi factional. It won’t be cured or healed overnight but the symptoms will start to reduce and calm down.
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