What is eczema?
The word eczema comes from the Greek word ekzema and means to boil over. It is a fit description since people with eczema literally have a problem with an overproduction of epidermal cells resulting in red, itchy, scaling skin. Eczema can be an acute problem or a chronic problem although those with a short term problem are generally diagnosed as having dermatitis. Actually eczema is known by many names including: atopic eczema, dermatitis, contact dermatitis, xerotic eczema and seborrhetic dermatitis. While these are all forms of skin rashes, they are all considered under the family of eczema.
What causes eczema?
Skin health is a combination of internal factors and external factors. There is a lot of debate in the medical community regarding what causes eczema and the real answer is that we don’t know. Some believe that an over clean environment is the cause and that a lack of exposure to bacteria growing up has caused people to have asthma and allergies. Others believe that eczema is an allergic reaction to the feces of dust mites. There is also evidence that eczema could be related to food allergies, such as the consumption of dairy products. If the body is unable to handle certain foods, it stands to reason that the skin could become inflamed and irritated in the body’s attempt to deal with the offending substances.
What is the treatment for eczema?
Unfortunately since we do not really know the cause of eczema, we also do not really have a cure for eczema. That means that most treatments aim to reduce the symptoms of eczema, namely the redness, itching and scaling that occurs. Some doctors prescribe corticosteroids to control the symptoms, but there are negative side effects associated with long term use. These include a thinning of the skin and eventual atrophy. For most, this is not a good solution.
So many people have started looking toward nature for home remedies to treat eczema. One of the easiest remedies is sun exposure. UV radiation seems to help many people with the severity of their outbreaks. So if you live in a sunny area, spending some time outside in the sun might be a good idea. You would not want to put sunscreen on the areas affected by eczema since the point is to allow the UV radiation to hit these patches. You should however put sunscreen on any areas that do not have eczema.
Try experimenting with your diet to remove certain foods for two weeks and see what effect that has on your eczema. You should try eliminating one type of food every two weeks so that you can isolate the problem. Common foods which can cause food allergies include: dairy products, eggs, nuts, wheat, coffee and soy products.
Some people have found that bathing in salt water can help their eczema. Some people even travel to the Dead Sea in Israel to treat their skin ailments because of the supposed healing properties of the water and clay. One thing to keep in mind is that it may be painful to wash sores in salt water, so be prepared for some possible pain.