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Eczema

Homeopathic Treatment of Eczema

The word eczema comes from Greek words that mean "to boil over". Dermatitis comes from the Greek word for skin and both terms refer to exactly the same skin condition. In some languages, dermatitis and eczema are synonymous, while in other languages dermatitis implies an acute condition and "eczema" a chronic one. The two conditions are often classified together.

The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes that are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed injuries. Scratching open a healing lesion may result in scarring and may enlarge the rash.

Causes of Eczema:

Doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema, but a defect of the skin that impairs its function as a barrier, possibly combined with an abnormal function of the immune system, are believed to be important factors.

  • Studies have shown that in people with atopic dermatitis there are gene defects that lead to abnormalities in certain proteins (such as filaggrin) that are important in maintaining the barrier function of normal skin.
  • Some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat. Environmental allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) may also cause outbreaks of eczema. Changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, can lead to outbreaks of eczema in some people.
  • People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or a family history of other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever.
    • Atopic dermatitis is believed to belong to a group of related diseases including food allergy, asthma, and allergic rhinitis that tend to develop in sequence, suggesting that atopic dermatitis early in life may lead to or predict later allergic diseases. The nature of the link between these conditions is inadequately understood. Up to 20% of children and 1%-2% of adults are believed to have eczema.
    • Eczema is slightly more common in girls than in boys. It occurs in people of all races.
    • Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.

Symptoms of Eczema:

Medical professionals sometimes refer to eczema as "the itch that rashes."

  • Usually, the first symptom of eczema is intense itching.
  • The rash appears later and is red and bumpy.
  • The rash itches or burns.
  • If it is scratched, it may ooze and become crusty.
  • In adults, chronic rubbing produces thickened plaques of skin.
  • Some people develop red bumps or clear fluid-filled bumps that look "bubbly" and, when scratched, add wetness to the overall appearance.
  • Painful cracks can develop over time.
  • Although the rash can be located anywhere on the body, in adults it is most often found on the neck, flexures of the arms (opposite the elbow) and flexures of legs (opposite the knee). Infants may exhibit the rash on the torso and face. As the child begins to crawl, the rash involves the skin of the elbows and knees. The diaper area is often spared.
    • The itching may be so intense that it interferes with sleep.

 

Types of Eczema:

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and is the most common cause of eczema. The condition tends to come and go, depending upon exposures to triggers or causative factors. Factors that may cause atopic dermatitis (allergens) include environmental factors like molds, pollen, or pollutants; contact irritants like soaps, detergents, nickel (in jewelry), or perfumes; food allergies; or other allergies. Around two-thirds of those who develop the condition do so prior to 1 year of age. When the disease starts in infancy, it is sometimes termed infantile eczema. Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families, and people who develop the condition often have a family history of other allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever.

Contact Eczema:

Contact eczema (contact dermatitis) is a localized reaction that includes redness, itching, and burning in areas where the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy-causing substance to which an individual is sensitized) or with a general irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical. Other examples of contact eczema include reactions to laundry detergents, soaps, nickel (present in jewelry), cosmetics, fabrics, clothing, and perfume. Due to the vast number of substances with which individuals have contact, it can be difficult to determine the trigger for contact dermatitis. The condition is sometimes referred to as allergic contact eczema (allergic contact dermatitis) if the trigger is an allergen and irritant contact eczema (irritant contact dermatitis) if the trigger is an irritant. Skin reactions to poison ivy and poison sumac are examples of allergic contact eczema. People who have a history of allergies have an increased risk for developing contact eczema.

Seborrheic eczema:

Seborrheic eczema (seborrheic dermatitis) is a form of skin inflammation of unknown cause. The signs and symptoms of seborrheic eczema include yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and occasionally other parts of the body. Dandruff and "cradle cap" in infants are examples of seborrheic eczema. It is commonplace for seborrheic dermatitis to inflame the face at the creases of the cheeks and/or the nasal folds. Seborrheic dermatitis is not necessarily associated with itching. This condition tends to run in families. Emotional stress, oily skin, infrequent shampooing, and weather conditions may all increase a person's risk of developing seborrheic eczema. One type of seborrheic eczema is also common in people with AIDS.

Nummular eczema:

Nummular eczema (nummular dermatitis) is characterized by coin-shaped patches of irritated skin -- most commonly located on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs -- that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy. This form of eczema is relatively uncommon and occurs most frequently in elderly men. Nummular eczema is usually a chronic condition. A personal or family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or allergies increases the risk of developing the condition.

Neurodermatitis:

Neurodermatitis, also known as lichen simplex chronicus, is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a scratch-itch cycle that begins with a localized itch (such as an insect bite) that becomes intensely irritated when scratched. Women are more commonly affected by neurodermatitis than men, and the condition is most frequent in people 20-50 years of age. This form of eczema results in scaly patches of skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms. Over time, the skin can become thickened and leathery. Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of neurodermatitis.

Stasis dermatitis:

Stasis dermatitis is a skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to the circulatory problem known as venous insufficiency, in which the function of the valves within the veins has been compromised. Stasis dermatitis occurs almost exclusively in middle-aged and elderly people, with approximately 6%-7% of the population over 50 years of age being affected by the condition. The risk of developing stasis dermatitis increases with advancing age. Symptoms include itching and/or reddish-brown discoloration of the skin on one or both legs. Progression of the condition can lead to the blistering, oozing skin lesions seen with other forms of eczema, and ulcers may develop in affected areas. The chronic circulatory problems lead to an increase in fluid buildup (edema) in the legs. Stasis dermatitis has also been referred to as varicose eczema.

 

Dyshidrotic eczema:

Dyshidrotic eczema (dyshidrotic dermatitis) is an irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn. The cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown. Dyshidrotic eczema is also known as vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis, dyshidrosis, or pompholyx. This form of eczema occurs in up to 20% of people with hand eczema and is more common during the spring and summer months and in warmer climates. Males and females are equally affected, and the condition can occur in people of any age.

Treatment:

The goals for the treatment of eczema are to prevent itching, inflammation, and worsening of the condition. Treatment of eczema may involve both lifestyle changes and the use of medications. Treatment is always based upon an individual's age, overall health status, and the type and severity of the condition.

  • Keeping the skin well hydrated through the application of creams or ointments (with a low water and high oil content) as well as avoiding over-bathing (see "Can eczema be prevented?" section) is an important step in treatment.
  • It is recommended to apply emollient creams such as petrolatum-based creams to the body immediately after a five-minute lukewarm bath in order to seal in moisture while the body is still wet.
  • Lifestyle modifications to avoid triggers for the condition are also recommended.
  • Corticosteroid creams are sometimes prescribed to decrease the inflammatory reaction in the skin. These may be mild-, medium-, or high-potency corticosteroid creams depending upon the severity of the symptoms. If itching is severe, oral antihistamines may be prescribed. To control itching, the sedative type antihistamine drugs (for example, diphenhydramine [Benadryl] and hydroxyzine [Atarax, Vistaril]) appear to be most effective.

Homeopathic Treatment of Eczema:

The Homeopathic treatment prescribed considers the overall susceptibility of the individual to factors such as family history (genetic predisposition), sensitivity to certain food, allergens, metals and chemicals and prescribe internal remedies capable of correcting those factors. The treatment works towards correcting the immune response and not suppressing it. The only medicines prescribed are internal homeopathic medicines.

The Homeopathic approach for Eczema is to treat the person as a whole rather than treating only the disease. Eczema is simply an external presentation of an internal disorder due to lowered vitality and immunity. When the whole person is treated, the power of immune system is enhanced thereby causing the disease to disappear. Homeopathy does not believe in treating eczema or any skin diseases by simply applying ointment or creams. A constitutional remedy (specific to the individual) is selected by assessing the physical, mental and emotional states, family history, and the past health history of the person. The type of eczema, location, aggravating and relieving factors will be taken into consideration, besides many other factors in choosing the remedy.

Eczema is curable with Homeopathy. Person with acute, chronic and recurring eczema find excellent treatment with Homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic treatment not only successfully removes the eczema, but also eliminates the possibility of development of other hypersensitivity disorders such as asthma after the eczema is cured.

There is no denying that eczema is aggravated by stress and mental and emotional disturbances

There is no way suggesting that this skin condition is "in your head" or caused by you continuing to think about it, that there is some way you can "make" yourself not itchy. But if you were to take a detailed written account of your life, both as a whole and on a daily basis, you will most likely notice that there are times when the most stressful times in your life coincide with the worst flare-ups of your eczema.

Those stressful times and events can be one-time or recurrent; whatever the triggers are, hypnotherapy for eczema aims to dig deeper into them, removing the unresolved issues in your life that may cause you to scratch more often than others.

This is not to say that all your eczema would magically disappear with one hypnotherapy session. It's like practicing for yoga, or any sport - it takes time to achieve good results, but studies have shown that the results are pretty promising.

Role of Hypnotherapy in Eczema:

On the most basic level, hypnotherapy provides deep relaxation techniques that help scratch less, which is always a plus in my book as an eczema sufferer. On the deeper level, it can lead to the discovery of emotional causes for eczema.