WHAT IS ECZEMA?

Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis.

 

Eczema can affect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants. More than 15% of children in the United States are known to suffer from eczema and more than 70% of them are less than five years old! People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or of other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever (for example, hives is a result of hay fever). The nature of the link between these conditions is inadequately understood. Atopic eczema (triggered by allergens) is more common in boys than girls, however, non-atopic (not allergy related) eczema affects way more girls than 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.  Check our blog periodically for the most current scientific findings and discussion as well as various new and natural eczema treatments for babies as well as for adults. We also provide skincare tips and general health tips that help to manage eczema and other common skin conditions.

Types of eczema

There are several types of eczema, however here we only talk about the most common forms. To find out about all types of eczema, please visit American Association of Dermatology at www.aad.org and find more details there.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is considered a more severe form of eczema, and it is very common. It is associated with elevated total immunoglobulin E (IgE) in serum, which means there are one or more triggers or allergens in presence. Atopic dermatitis starts in early childhood, and is a chronic skin condition. Some grow out of it with time, others carry it to adulthood.  Atopic dermatitis is very itchy and appears commonly on face, neck, arms, and legs. There is a hereditary factor, which means kids with parents who have atopic dermatitis have higher probabilities of getting atopic eczema themselves.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be irritant related or allergen related.  An irritant is something that irritates or burns skin, such as certain chemicals like strong bases or acids, sodium lauryl sulfate, ingredients in poor quality skincare products, makeups, and soaps. Poison ivy or other poisonous plants may lead to severe reactions and itchy/painful blisters or rashes. Exposure to irritants will cause redness or itching, and prolonged exposure will lead to contact dermatitis. Nickel is not an irritant, however it can also lead to an allergic skin reaction, so in this case Nickel is an allergen. Latex could also trigger an allergic reaction.

Hand eczema(hand dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema)

Hand eczema is also called hand dermatitis, or dyshidrotic eczema. There are two types of hand eczema, a dry and wet form.  Dry dyshidrotic eczema leads to dry skin, particularly on finger tips, and in some cases form small cracks that can be painful. The best way to manage this type of skin condition is to use a very strong moisturizer and apply it to all finger tips frequently. Please read here about how LEMYKA Calming Cream relieves dryness and pain from dyshidrotic eczema. Wet form can be quite severe and may lead to blisters.  In both cases, hands are exposed to chemicals that trigger an allergic reaction (hand allergy).  Hand eczema affects many nurses, physicians, hair dressers, and chefs who need to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Minimizing the exposure to harsh chemicals and potential allergens is the key to improving symptoms.

Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic eczema is a common skin condition that causes redness, scaly patches, and in some cases, dandruff. It mostly affects the scalp, but it can also develop in oily areas, such as the face, upper chest, and back.  When infants develop this condition, it’s known as cradle cap. It typically develops within the first few weeks of life and gradually disappears over time. It may also occur in adults.

Eczema treatment

Among various types of eczema, atopic dermatitis is one of the most persistent types to treat. Some may grow out of it eventually, but many others continue to have it throughout adulthood. There are numerous triggers that lead to atopic dermatitis flares, such as dry weather, stress, pollen, contact irritants, certain food like peanuts, eggs, etc. Therefore, it is important to know that even if treatment is successful, there may be flareups where the symptoms return after re-exposure to various triggers.  A simple trick or a quick fix may sound good, but not for such a complex and persistent skin condition.

Regardless of the types of eczema, the first line of treatment is to use a strong moisturizer frequently throughout the day. Click here to learn more about LEMYKA non-steroidal therapy creams for eczema. They are safe and effective for infants, toddlers, teens and adults. 

Eczema treatments may vary depending on where eczema occurs, i.e., face, hands, or body. 

 

For those with alleviated IgE levels (caused by allergy or infection in most cases), find the source of the allergic reactions is important.  For example, if your baby's skin condition got much worse after bathing, you might want to look into the bathing product you are using, and find out if there is any ingredient that may cause irritation. Sodium lauryl sulfate, for example, is a commonly used surfactant in many face washes, shampoos, shower gels. It is a known skin irritant, and therefore should be avoided. The source of allergy could be in the form of skin contact or through one's diet.  If your baby is allergic to dairy products, it would be a good idea to substitute out such dairy products.  Interestingly, the percentage of children among eczema sufferers that have a food allergy is actually small. So if you choose to follow certain elimination diets, be sure that you or your child is indeed allergic to those particular foods.  Although there are various tests you can do to find out what you may be allergic to, being vigilant and keeping notes on how you or your baby react to food is always a good idea.

Various over-the-counter topical creams and natural remedies may offer relief to persistent itching. Please check our blogs on this topic and also click here to find out how LEMYKA creams effectively manage eczema without any steroids and harsh chemicals. 

Steroid-containing prescription medicines are the main medical treatment for eczema.  It was estimated that over 80% of eczema sufferers use steroid-containing products that are recommended by dermatologists and pediatric dermatologists.

Since over 70% of the eczema population are 5 years or younger, many parents are highly concerned with the safety of repeated use of steroidal creams on the face or over a large area. Use LEMYKA eczema therapy creams in adjunct to steroid creams for severe eczema. 

There are new medical treatments that gained FDA approval in the recent years.

Dupixent, for example, is an injectable monoclonal antibody that works well for moderate-to-severe eczema among adolescence.  Discuss with your physician regarding its potential side effects such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), itchy eyes, oral herpes, painful injection site, and swollen eye lids before use. 

For the younger population (2 years of age and older), there is a non-steroidal topical phosphodieterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitor called Eucrisa available for treating mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (AD). Make sure you read the potential side effects and ask questions before using this prescription medication.

LINK BETWEEN STRESS AND ECZEMA

Eczema can be triggered by a variety of factors such as food allergies, topical skin irritants, and environmental factors. Although stress itself does not cause eczema, it can provoke and worsen symptoms for those who already suffer from it. This is why eczema prone individuals must take extra consideration to the other parts of their life to determine if there is a stress-related reason that could be making their condition worse.

 

When the body is under stress, it releases a hormone called cortisol. In large doses, cortisol increases inflammation throughout the body which can lead to inflammation in the skin and an eczema flare up. Although topical solutions can help combat these episodes, the real solution lies in finding a way to prevent cortisol from building up in the body. Those who have eczema must focus on keeping their cortisol levels down to a minimum, which luckily can be achieved through many different ways.

 

If you are particularly stressed or have anxiety, try exercising regularly, meditating, and getting plenty of sleep. These are all very common ways to control stress levels. Other factors of your life you may want to consider are keeping a balanced diet, limiting social media and screen time, as well as surrounding yourself with people who support you. Missing any of these factors could be a potential reason that your stress and anxiety is heightened. Reducing your stress levels may help keep your eczema flare ups under control. If you are having trouble coping with stress or anxiety, speak with your doctor about treatments or therapies.

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