Eczema Risk Factors Causes & Symptoms
As a matter of fact, there is a wide range of causes and risk factors associated with eczema. And, eczema symptoms can manifest widely differently between those affected. While a singular cause of eczema has not been established, there are certain common causes leading to the onset and flares. In addition, a wide range of risk factors has been identified.
Risk Factors for Eczema
- Temperature changes
Symptoms of Eczema
While many will experience a lessening of symptoms and fewer flares as they age, some will continue to experience eczema symptomsthroughout adulthood, such as atopic eczema rashes. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and change from one outbreak to another. Common symptoms include:
- The appearance of small, raised bumps which may ooze liquid and develop a crust
- Thick, dry, scaly skin that cracks
- Red, brown or grayish patches of skin on hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, in skin folds, and on the face and scalp of infants
- Sensitive skin that is swollen and raw from scratching
- A recurring rash that causes intense itching, often disrupting sleep patterns
- Rashes due to atopic eczema
Can Eczema Be A Symptom Of Other Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune conditions can cause eczema and skin rashes, but presenting with either of these conditions would not necessarily lead a doctor to diagnose an autoimmune disease. Eczema is widespread and can occur on its own.
People can also have eczema and autoimmune conditions together, and one may worsen the other. Conditions that increase the sensitivity of the immune system or cause inflammation may exacerbate eczema.
Additionally, eczema can occur as a secondary complication of an autoimmune disease. For example, inflammatory bowel disease can lead to difficulty absorbing nutrients.
A 2012 study notes that if someone does not get enough of certain nutrients, such as essential fatty acids, the skin may become dry and prone to eczema.
A 2015 study found that 29.6% of people experienced scaling eczema and 18.5% developed exacerbated atopic eczema after taking this medication.
- irritants, such as artificial fragrance, harsh cleaning products, or smoke
- friction on the skin from itchy fabrics
- certain bacteria, viruses, and yeast
- dysbiosis, which is when the microbiome in the gut or on the skin is imbalanced
This yeast usually lives on the skin, but it can trigger an immune response if it overgrows. Antifungal creams and shampoos help control it.
Yoga Qigong And Tai Chi
Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi are all examples of ancient mind-body practices that combine breathing with body movement and meditation to attain focus, clarity and relaxation. Some individuals with eczema believe these gentle exercises have helped them reduce stress, lower inflammation and distract from itch.
Tai Chi and Qigong are martial art forms that combine graceful movements with diaphragmatic breathing to help circulate vital energy called Qi in order to achieve balance between the body and mind. Yoga is rooted in Ayurveda and based on a Hindu philosophy that combines deep, slow breathing with a series of poses to help achieve balance, focus and inner peace.
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Targeting Specific Problem Areas
Another deciding factor when choosing a product is the location of your targeted treatment area. Different consistencies and solutions are better suited for specific regions. For example, when it comes to your face, you should avoid products with ingredients that could potentially clog pores and lead to breakouts. And, while a lotion is a great all-over body treatment, if you are battling eczema on your elbows or behind your knees, you will probably want a product that is a bit thicker and has more staying power.
Use A Moisturizer On Your Skin Every Day
Moisturizers help keep your skin soft and flexible. They prevent skin cracks. A plain moisturizer is best. Avoid moisturizers with fragrances and a lot of extra ingredients. A good, cheap moisturizer is plain petroleum jelly . Use moisturizers that are more greasy than creamy because creams usually have more preservatives in them.
Regular use of a moisturizer can help prevent the dry skin that is common in winter.
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What Causes Atopic Dermatitis
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known. It runs in families, which suggests a genetic link. Its also linked to asthma and allergies. There is likely an alteration of the proteins in the skin that leads to atopic dermatitis.
Certain triggers can make atopic dermatitis worse. For example, stress, hot or cold temperature, dry conditions, certain fabrics, or detergents can cause a flare-up.
Best Supplements For Eczema
Here we have compiled the ten best supplements for eczema, which are available online to cure the significant symptoms of this issue. In addition, you can find all of the included supplements on Amazon. Lets have a look at the compiled best supplements for eczema, with their ingredients and benefits.
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When To See A Doctor
If a person has chronic eczema flares, they should see their doctor if they develop a fever, experience chills, have low energy, or show signs of infection, such as oozing blisters and excessive itchiness.
If a child or infant develops symptoms of infected eczema, their parent or caregiver should take them to a doctor immediately.
immediate treatment with valacyclovir .
In cases of bacterial infections, a doctor may choose to use either an oral or topical antibiotic. They may also prescribe a steroid cream to reduce associated swelling and discoloration.
Fungal infections require antifungal creams or medication. Similarly, a steroid cream may help with a fungal-infected eczema rash. Some antifungal creams that may help with the infection are available over the counter.
Some people or caregivers may want to supplement medication with natural alternatives to treat or prevent infections.
People seeking natural remedies for infected eczema may choose to try the following:
- essential oils, such as evening primrose and tea tree
- herbal supplements for eczema flares
- natural soaps and creams with emollients
- oatmeal baths to help soothe and dry the eczema
However, it is important to note that these natural remedies should not take the place of prescribed treatment. People should always follow the advice of medical professionals first.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed What Tests Are Done
Your healthcare provider will take a close look at your skin. They will look for classic signs of eczema such as a redness and dryness. They will ask about the symptoms youre experiencing.
Usually your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose eczema based on examining your skin. However, when there is doubt, they may perform the following tests:
- An allergy skin test.
- Blood tests to check for causes of the rash that might be unrelated to dermatitis.
- A skin biopsy to distinguish one type of dermatitis from another.
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Surprising Ways Parents Make Eczema Itchier
Some itch-relieving techniques that people use can make eczema itchier. To prevent this, dermatologists recommend that you avoid:
Telling your child to stop scratching: This rarely works and can leave your child feeling stressed. Stress can cause eczema to flare.
Using anti-itch products: This may seem strange, but anti-itch products often fail to relieve itchy eczema. To make matters worse, some contain ingredients that can cause eczema to flare. Only use an anti-itch product if your childs dermatologist recommends one.
Key Points About Atopic Dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis is commonly called eczema.
- Its an inherited and chronic skin disorder that is most common in infants or very young children.
- Atopic dermatitis causes dry, scaly, red skin that has red bumps that open and weep when scratched.
- Its important to find and avoid things that make atopic dermatitis worse. Triggers include stress, high or low temperatures, bacterial infections, fabrics such as wool, and detergents.
- The goals of treatment are to reduce itching and inflammations of the skin, to keep the skin moisturized, and prevent infection.
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Best For Families: Vaseline All Over Balm
Easy to apply to targeted areas
No need to rub in
Can feel greasy on skin
Difficult to use the whole balm stick
Dr. Saedi is a huge fan of Vaseline products, specifically endorsing Vaseline All Over Balm as an effective eczema family treatment. It is great for local areas because the petroleum jelly creates a great barrier to lock in the moisture, she points out. Your average petroleum jelly can be messyespecially with kidsmaking it difficult to target specific areas. Thats why I love the balm stick, she maintains.
Active Ingredients: Petroleum | Uses: Targeted protective barrier to lock in moisture
How To Use Topical Corticosteroids
Do not be afraid to apply the treatment to affected areas to control your eczema.
Unless instructed otherwise by a doctor, follow the directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine.
This will give details of how much to apply.
Most people only have to apply it once a day as there’s no evidence there’s any benefit to applying it more often.
When using a topical corticosteroid:
- apply your emollient first and ideally wait around 30 minutes until the emollient has soaked into your skin, or apply the corticosteroid at a different time of day
- apply the recommended amount of the topical corticosteroid to the affected area
- continue to use it until 48 hours after the flare-up has cleared so the inflammation under the skin surface is treated
Occasionally, your doctor may suggest using a topical corticosteroid less frequently, but over a longer period of time. This is designed to help prevent flare-ups.
This is sometimes called weekend treatment, where a person who has already gained control of their eczema uses the topical corticosteroid every weekend on the trouble sites to prevent them becoming active again.
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Living With Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.
The area where you had the eczema may easily get irritated again, so it needs special care. Continue to follow the tips provided here even after your skin has healed.
Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
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Wrap Up In Cold Weather
Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out the skin and cause eczema flares.
Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs in this body region.
While many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, always speak with a doctor before using them.
The following home remedies and tips may help:
E Homeopathic Treatment For Eczema
In order to treat chronic diseases such as eczema, homeopathy uses the constitutional remedy approach. Your doctor gathers detailed information about your disease and the symptoms before prescribing medicines. Chronic diseases take time to heal and homeopathy is considered one of the best methods to cure them. Medicines that are often prescribed in the constitutional therapy are:
1. Arsenicum Album
Immune response regulator, reduces inflammation.
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What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
Diagnosis And When To See A Doctor
People who experience symptoms of eczema should see a doctor or dermatologist. Eczema can indicate a new allergy, so it is important to determine what is causing the reaction.
There is no specific test to diagnose most types of eczema. The doctor will want to know the individualâs personal and family medical history. They will also ask about recent exposures to potential allergens and irritants. It is essential that people let the doctor know if they have hay fever or asthma.
The doctor may also ask about:
- sleep patterns
- any previous treatments for skin conditions
- any use of steroids
A physical examination of the rash will help the doctor to diagnose which type of eczema it is.
The doctor may also perform a patch test, which involves pricking a personâs skin with a needle that contains potential irritants and allergens. A patch test can determine whether or not someone has contact dermatitis.
There is no cure for eczema, so treatment involves managing the symptoms and trying to prevent further flare-ups.
Some treatment options for eczema include:
Some general tips that may help to prevent eczema flare-ups include:
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Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Unscented Body Moisturizer $1569
This body lotion is one of Dr. Libbys favorites for relieving dry, itchy eczema-prone skin. Its armed with colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, shea butter, ceramides, sunflower seed oil and Cetaphils patented Filaggrin Technology to help soothe dry, stressed skin, and repair and nourish the skin barrier, she notes.
What Does Eczema Look Like In A Toddler
Eczema can look different in all children. It can even look different in your own child over time.
But for the most part, eczema in toddlers is characterized by dry, scaly patches of skin with pink or red raised bumps. Sometimes blisters can form. When they pop and ooze, they may leave a crust on the skin.
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Biologics Are Changing The Landscape Of Eczema Treatment
The pipeline of promising treatments for atopic dermatitis is undergoing unprecedented expansion, and includes topical, oral and injectable therapies. In January 2021, the first article in this series reviewed what is coming for a new class of oral and topical drugs, the Janus kinase inhibitors . In this second article, we take a look at new biologics on the horizon. Interest and growth in this area of drug development has been fueled by research highlighting the contributions of the immune system in disease onset and progression, as well as results from clinical trial and real-world use of dupilumab , the first biologic FDA-approved for moderate-severe AD.
Immunology of eczema
AD is caused by both an elevated immune response within the skin and a defective skin barrier which can have underlying genetic or environmental factors . The bacteria that call the skin home can also play a role in AD.1
Biologics: What are they and how can they improve treatment of eczema?
A biologic is a drug made from biological sources like cells from humans, animals, plants, fungi or microbes. Biologic drugs are sometimes called biologic response modifiers because they change a process already occurring in cells or for a particular disease. In AD, new biologic drugs can modify the elevated immune response driving the disease.
A biologics revolution for AD treatment is on the way
The future: How can new biologics support the treatment revolution in AD?
How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
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Massage And Physical Therapy
One clinical study looking at essential oils for treating children with eczema found that massage with and without essential oils helped improve dry, scaly skin lesions. Children with this scaly, itchy skin problem seem to have less redness, scaling, and other symptoms if they had massage between flares. DO NOT use massage when skin is actively inflamed. The essential oils most often chosen by the mothers in the study included sweet marjoram, frankincense, German chamomile, myrrh, thyme, benzoin, spike lavender, and Litsea cubeba.
In one clinical study, participating in regular group sporting activities for 3 weeks improved eczema symptoms. Exercise may improve symptoms because of the positive impact it has on emotions. Sports should be avoided during the worst stages of an outbreak.
Climatotherapy uses sunlight and water as therapy. The Dead Sea in Israel is known for its healing properties, and many people with eczema go there to sit in the sun and swim in the water. Scientific studies support the benefits. One clinical study looked at the experience of more than 1,500 people with eczema and found that 95% of skin was cleared in people who had stayed at the Dead Sea longer than 4 weeks.