Eczema comes in many forms and few people have escaped suffering from it at some point of their lives. It can flare up when the weather gets cold and heating is constantly on. The effects can vary from mild to quite severe and unfortunately there’s no known cure. Steroid creams are the norm for treating it but long term use of this has negative side effects.
Here, pharmacist Shabir Daya, looks at the different types of eczema and and some alternative ways of treating it.
Symptoms and types of eczema:
Eczema is normally a persistent skin condition which causes skin rashes and dryness of skin. The common symptoms of eczema include redness of skin, itching, inflammation, dryness, cracking, swelling, skin blisters and oozing of skin. Because eczema can be a repetitive concern, many people will experience some skin discolouration with scarring rarely a problem. Eczema is often mistaken for psoriasis, but there are several differences; the main one being that eczema invariably affects the flexible part of any of the joints. There are also other differences which include the time of onset and the differences in what triggers both these skin concerns.
There are different types of eczema which are generally classified by the location of the breakout or the physical appearance. A common type of eczema is atopic eczema, also referred to as infantile, flexural (elbows, wrists and knees are flexural joints) or atopic dermatitis. Atopic eczema is an allergy disease with a hereditary trait and is common in sufferers of hay fever and/or asthma.
Contact dermatitis is another type of eczema; there are two divisions within this type of eczema called irritant and allergic. Contact allergic dermatitis results from a deferred reaction to an allergen whereas contact irritant dermatitis, the more common one, occurs as a result of contact with irritants such as chemicals in hair care and body products.
Other types of eczema include Seborrheic Dermatitis, Xerotic eczema, Discoid eczema, Venous eczema and numerous other types.
Treatment for eczema:
There is no cure for eczema. Eczema treatments aim to reduce breakouts, calm inflammation and relieve itching and discomfort. The most frequent treatment is the use of prescribed steroid creams. Steroid creams work very quickly to suppress inflammation and relieve the redness and itching but they do not cure eczema and their long term use is thought to be responsible for thinning skin and may also cause skin discolouration.
It is for the reasons mentioned above that many people search for a natural eczema treatment. I consider Kerecis Xma to be one of the best cream’s for eczema that I have come across and one that is without any side effects. ( Glynis – this has worked wonders on my son who gets bad eczema on his hands )
Kerecis Xma cream contains a blend of proprietary omega 3 fractions, mOmega3™, derived by gentle extraction from fish skin. It is indicated for the treatment of eczema-prone skin and helps to alleviate sensitive, red and inflamed skin. It is specially formulated to form a protective, yet invisible layer, on skin which comforts and soothes to relieve itching.
Like many inflammatory skin concerns, the ‘cement’ between the outer cell layers diminishes as a result of inflammation resulting in vulnerability to dehydration, loss of natural oils and to external aggressions. Kerecis cream helps to replenish the natural oils within skin; calms and soothes skin; and helps form a barrier to prevent dehydration and external aggressions from further inflaming skin.
Kerecis Xma is suitable for use in babies, children, toddlers and adults and can be used anywhere on the face, hands, knees and scalp to also relieve the dryness which accompanies eczema. Kerecis Xma with mOmega3™ is free from steroids and paraben.
Since inflammation is responsible for dry skin and dry skin in turn can cause skin irritation and itching, it is prudent to use a good omega 3 fish oil supplement such as 100% Organic Scandinavian Rainbow Trout Oil by Viridian Nutrition, a high strength citrus flavour fish oil liquid with natural organic orange and lemon oils. I am an advocate of obtaining omega 3 fats from krill oil, however for skin conditions such as eczema, fish oils appear to work more effectively and this may be due to the specific type of omega 3’s found in fish oils. Fish oils contain triglyceride form of omega 3’s as opposed to phospholipids found in krill. Rainbow Trout Oil is suitable for both adults and children and unlike many fish oils, it is free from heavy metals and toxins.
Sufferers should always try to keep the affected skin moisturised. Do not use highly fragranced or chemical laden hair and body care products. Use gentle washing and bathing products such as Botanical Therapeutic Shampoo & Body Wash. ( Glynis – this is one of my favourite products and I use it often as my scalp gets very flaky and itchy if I don’t use the right products ) This extra mild formulation is suitable from head to toe and is free from SLS and paraben.
People who change their diet often find great benefits. An eczema diet ideally should avoid processed foods if possible. Bacon, tinned food, frozen preserved food, white sugar and flour are typically to be avoided. Severe eczema may also require the abstinence of wheat and gluten. There are many eczema diets that you can read about however most of these are simply too strict or very hard to follow. I believe that if you cannot completely abstain from the foods mentioned above, at least moderate their intake which should not be difficult.
With the correct use of supplements, creams and a reasonably healthy diet, you can control eczema and prevent outbreaks.This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.