Eczema is a itchy and dry or moist skin condition. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. When scratched, the skin becomes red and inflamed. Dry eczema is a chronic, inherited, inflammatory skin condition with dry, itching and reddish skin. Eczema is not contagious and is common in children but it can occur at any age. It is an allergic condition with periodical flare-ups. It is often accompanied by asthma or other kind of allergic conditions. Eczema usually appears in childhood which might continue into adulthood. The commonly affected areas are the scalp, face, eyelids, neck, upper chest, wrists, hands, (inside) bends of the elbows and knees, ankles and feet.
Symptoms of Dry eczema
- Dryness of skin
- Red and scaly skin on affected parts
- Itching especially at night
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Types and manifestation of eczema
- Dyshidrotic eczema: skin irritation expecially on the palms and soles with blisters.
- Nummular eczema: circular patches on the skin which is scaly, and itchy.
- Seborrheic eczema: oily, scaly, yellow scabs on the scalp and face.
- Xerotic eczema: cracks in the skin which oozes from excessive dryness.
- Allergic contact dermatitis: itchy skin from exposure to allergens.
- Stasis dermatitis: usually occurs in leg due to venous pooling.
Causes of eczema
- One of the causes for eczema is a mutation in the gene called filaggrin, which is important for the formation and repair of the skin barrier. The skin cells has two copies of the filaggrin gene but people prone to develop eczema have only one copy of this gene.
- Eczema or other allergic conditions running in the family such as hay fever and asthma, which are risk factors for eczema.
- Irritants from soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, etc can cause flare ups.
- Dust mites, pets, pollens, mold, and dandruff can lead to eczema.
- Bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, and certain fungi can cause eczema and vice versa.
- Very hot or cold weather can bring out eczema.
- Stress can make the symptoms of eczema worse.
- Hormonal changes can worsen the symptoms of eczema, especially during pregnancy and at specific points in the menstrual cycle.
- Asthma and hay fever
- Chronic itchy, scaly skin called lichen planus, where the skin becomes discolored, thick and leathery
- Skin infections
- Irritant hand dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Sleep problems due to itching.
Management of dry eczema
- Lukewarm baths or showers, avoid hot showers.
- Wash your body with plain warm water or a mild herbal soap
- Moisturize the skin while bathing using bath oils.
- Exlcuding perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
- Wear soft and loose cotton clothes.
- After bath pat with a towel rather than rub your skin.
- Wear protective gloves when handling chemical or detergent.
- Avoid chlorinated pools.
- Avoid hard physical activity in hot weather as sweat triggers eczema.
- Keep your fingernails short.
- Avoid overexposure to sun and harsh weathers.
- Wet wrap therapy which involves wrapping the affected area in a layer of wet gauze, cotton, or bandages, followed by a layer of dry bandages.
- Avoid scratching the affected area as much as possible.
Homeopathic Medicines for Eczema
Graphites: It works in case of both dry eczema and moist eczema. Very rough and dry skin with intense irritation. In moist eczema, the skin eruptions ooze moist, sticky fluid. Eczematous eruptions between fingers and toes oozing glutinous discharge. Eczema of eyelids with red margins and scaly eruptions.
Natrum mur: It is indicated for eczema in the bends of limbs, behind the knee and folds of skin between the elbows. The eruptions are dry, chapped, raw, inflamed and crusty in nature. Eczema with eruptions around the margin of the hairline.
Sulphur: It is indicated for eczema with excessive itching and rashes. Eczema with severe scratching. Burning sensation follows scratching of the rash. The itching worsens in the evening and night time. Worse in summer and spring. The skin feel rough and dry. Warmth and washing increase the itching. The skin looks very dirty and unhealthy.
Psorinum: It is effective in treating dry, itchy eczema and scratching until it bleeds. Eczema worse in winter and better during summer. Eczema behind the ears.
Petroleum: This is one of the best medicines for eczema that gets worse during the winter. Skin is very rough, hard and thick. Deep cracks appear on the affected skin. The cracks may bleed in some cases. Itching and burning of the skin which is highly sensitive to the touch. Eczema with deep cracks on the fingertips.
Mezereum: It is indicated for eczema with thick, crusty eruptions on the scalp, which tend to form a leathery crust on the head. Intense itching especially at night. Discharge of glutinous or pus discharge along with blood. Acrid discharge with intolerable itching. Itching changes place very often. Offensive discharge of the scalp with hair gets matted together due to the sticky discharge.
Vinca Minor: It is also a very good medicine for eczema on the scalp. Eruptions in spots with oozing and matting of hair. Irresistible desire to scratch.
Arsenicum album: The best medicine for eczema accompanied by asthma or hay fever. Dry, rough and itchy skin with marked burning sensation. Cold may worsen the itching and burning. Eczema with asthmatic symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, constriction in the throat and chest.
Hepar sulphur: Covers eczema with pus in patients sensitive to cold. Eczema with intolerable itching, accompanied by sneezing and tendency get cold easily.
Dulcamara: This is one of the common homeopathic medicines for eczema. Eczema occurs in damp or cold weather with thick formation of yellowish crust and intense itching.
Silicea: It is frequently used medicines for complaints of eczema with tendency to suppuration of skin injuries.
Lycopodium: It is indicated for chronic eczema where the skin becomes excessively dry and raw from itching. Thick and indurated skin due to eczema. Offensive secretions, fissured eruptions, and violent itching. Itching and other symptoms worse from the warmth and better by cold applications.
Kali sulphuricum: It is indicated for skin erupations characterized by yellow, slimy discharges and desquamation of the affected part. Papular eruptions with intense itching. The skin is very dry with tendency to ooze thin yellowish discharge.