Eczema is a medical term that can be described in two skin conditions. First, it refers to any type of rashes in the body. Second, it is commonly used to refer to chronic skin condition known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. A person can have atopic eczema as early as one month old and may develop the condition when he grows up. But there are also instances that you may experience this condition due to significant causes.
There are different kinds of eczema but this book will only give full attention on atopic eczema which is the most common type of eczema. To understand the term fully, the description will be given to you. It is called atopic because this condition is a combination of different diseases such as asthma, dermatitis, rashes and fever. Dermatitis refers to the inflammation or irritation of the skin.
Treatment and Prevention
Cut out cow’s milk. The main reason why infants can easily get eczema as early as one month is due to formula milk. Formula milk is made from cow’s milk. Although not all babies with family history of eczema have allergic reactions to formula cow’s milk, it is still best to avoid it as possible to ensure that no skin problem will occur. Breastmilk is still the best for babies as it can fight bacteria. But if breastfeeding is not possible, there are also some alternatives that you can use for your babies. Not only infants but adults who are allergic to cow’s milk can try other alternatives. It really depends on your choice but you can try almond milk, rice milk, goat’s milk and the likes. However, if you are also allergic to poultry products, it is better to stop taking them. You can also try soy milk then.
Choose comfortable clothes and natural laundry soap. It seems very simple; however, many of us did not notice that the clothes we wear can be the main reason why eczema is easily triggered. It is the thing that our skin has direct and frequent contact with. Many people found out that they experience flare-ups during winter. This is because they wear many clothes to fight the cold during winter. The more the layer of clothes they wear, the more the flare-ups will occur because many winter clothes can aggravate skin irritation.
It is better to buy and use clothes made up of organic fibers rather than wool. Wear loose or comfortable clothes rather than tight ones whenever possible to prevent skin irritation. Cotton or silk clothes are also good for your skin. This means that you have to be wise in choosing what you wear. Meanwhile, when you plan to work out or exercise, be sure to wear appropriate clothes for the activity. You must wear clothes that can easily absorb sweat because as mentioned excessive sweating or perspiration can also trigger eczema.
In addition, there are times when the detergent you use for washing clothes is the reason why skin inflammation is triggered. Detergents may contain harmful chemicals that can easily irritate your skin or detergents may leave residue that can aggravate eczema. You have to check the ingredients of the detergent first before buying it to know if it can bring harmful effect on your skin. Use natural soaps rather than commercialized ones.
Watch your diet. It is essential to know when having skin conditions like atopic eczema that our skin is the largest organ of our body – so we have to be cautious of all the things or products that we usually apply to our skin. In this case, diet plays a very important role to make our skin healthy. You have to concentrate on the foods that are good for your liver. You should also avoid eating processed foods. Also, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits. It is also better to shift from foods rich in carbohydrates to protein foods.
Balanced Nutrients. In reality, many people do not mind if the food they eat contains needed nutrients. It is important to know that you are getting enough nutrients because it can prevent and even treat eczema. It also fights the possible complications of eczema. Some of these nutrients are:
- Vitamin A, D and E. You should eat foods rich in these vitamins. Examples of foods rich in Vitamin A are potatoes, carrots, melon, broccoli, apricots, and other green leafy vegetables. Examples of foods rich in Vitamin D are raw fish, soy products, eggs and other poultry products and mushrooms. Examples of foods rich in Vitamin E are tofu, nut and broccoli. The combination of these vitamins show significant effect on the skin health. It prevents skin irritation, removes skin inflammation and even repair damaged cells.
- Foods rich in fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 are also beneficial to heal eczema and will also help to prevent the possibility of the said chronic skin condition. Examples of foods rich in fatty acids are legumes, tofu shelled sea foods and the likes.
Relieve stress. As mentioned, chronic skin condition including eczema are connected to our state of mind or psychosocial problems like stress. So, it is essential to spend time on how to relieve stress. There are some substitute solutions like hypnotherapy and visualization which have been recommended as ways of relieving stress. But there are also several and simpler ways to relieve stress that you can do regularly. Some of them are the following:
- Meditation. There are many options that you can follow on how to meditate to reduce stress. You can go to a place where you can have peaceful mind. You can sit down for some minutes to relax your mind. You may also want to do pilates and yoga. These exercises can help you relax and relieve stress.
- Listening to music. It is already recognized that music can reduce blood pressure and lessen depression, thus it becomes a good medicine for stress. Instrumental or easy listening music can be very calming.
- Sleep at least eight hours a day. Poor sleep is the main factor why people get easily stressed out. This is why having straight eight hours of sleep every night is very important.
Avoid buying and using soaps and other products that can irritate your skin. Bath soaps and other products intended for bathing can have a big effect on your skin, thus it is essential that you really know the products you will use for bathing or even cosmetic products that you will apply on your skin. Just remember that the more natural the ingredients are, the more it prevents the possibility of chronic skin condition. Don’t be easily persuaded by products that contain dye and perfume because although it smells good, it will actually dry and irritate your skin. Don’t buy or use skin care products which contain sodium lauryl sulfate because it is proven to trigger flare-ups of eczema. Lastly, don’t use products with parabens. Parabens are commonly seen in many products such as shampoo, hand wash, creams and other skin care products. This ingredient is believed to cause skin inflammation and other serious skin problems and is even connected to cancer.
Air humidifier is helpful to treat and prevent eczema. Extreme temperature of air inside the house can aggravate the condition of your skin. This will result to skin inflammation and dryness. You can prevent this condition by providing an air humidifier which is intended to add moist to the air. You can purchase this in many appliance and machine stores or depot. If you do not want to spend money, you can also make your own air humidifier. There are substitutes for a machine. One good example of those is plant. Plants gives natural moist to the air. Palm and ferns are the types of plants that can add natural moist to the air and your skin. Another method to moisten the air is to put a jar of water below the radiator. The water will evaporate which humidifies the air.
Avoid scratching. Scratching your skin can cause serious skin irritation. If the itchiness is intense, follow one of those natural home remedies listed in Chapter 2. Also, cut your fingernails if they are too long to avoid the possibility of soreness and wounds. For babies, have them wear mittens to prevent them from scratching.
There are instances that the saliva of pets like dogs and cats can aggravate the skin condition like eczema. So, if you have a pet in your house, you might want to put them away temporarily to your baby. The first three months is crucial to all babies because this is the stage where the occurrence of eczema starts. If you notice that there is really a connection between the pets and the appearance of skin irritation of your child, it is better to keep your pets away.
Although, regular baths can make your skin feels comfortable, it can also reduce moisture of the skin which in return can trigger flare-ups. With this, you must reduce your baths and only do it for two to three days if you can. Also, use warm water and set your shower time only for 15 minutes. Don’t forget to use moisturizer after taking a warm bath. Use essential oils or other natural home remedies mentioned in Chapter 2 because they bring no side effects on the skin. In addition, the moisture will lasts longer if you use natural products. Don’t rub your skin too much with towels especially the affected areas, just damp it carefully and slowly.