Coping with Eczema

7 Jun

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition eczemaalso known as atopic dermatitis. It is an itchy, red rash that appears on the skin from time to time. If you suffer from eczema, there is no need to be embarrassed– You are not alone. Over 30 million Americans have Eczema. This effects babies to adults, on all areas of the body, especially around areas that bend such as the elbows and knees. Symptoms of eczema vary from person to person. Some experience severe red, inflamed dry skin while others experience no symptoms at all.

Individuals who suffer from eczema primarily suffer from dry itchy skin. The itching sensation sometimes may be so severe that individuals scratch until the skin begins to bleed, further damaging the skin. It all begins with an itching sensation, followed by scratching of the skin, leading to damaged skin and the body’s release of inflammatory chemicals. This cycle is called the itch-scratch cycle. The worse the rash becomes, the itchier it becomes. An important factor to subside symptoms is to fight the itching sensation until the rash heals.1

Some Symptoms of Eczema include:

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Intense itching
  • Recurring rash with red, inflamed skin
  • Areas of swelling
  • Rough patches

 Causes & Triggers

Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, studies have linked allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever with eczema. Many household supplies have also been linked to eczema flare ups. There are many triggers that may make your eczema flare up or make worse. It is important to find triggers and allergens related to your flare ups in order to avoid the disease from reoccurring.

Common triggers

  • Cleaning supplies such as soap, detergent, shampoo and conditioner
  • Contact with juices from fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Allergy to domesticated pets such as cats and dogs
  • Allergy to seasonal pollen
  • Extreme temperatures of hot or cold
  • Constant perspiration from exercise

Living with Eczema

A few common steps can be taken to avoid reoccurring flares. The first step in minimizing flare ups is very simple– take good care of your skin. Keep your skin clean and moisturized. When bathing, use warm water and gently wash with skin sensitive soap. It is most effective to apply a moisturizer immediately after showers and baths to better lock in the moisture. Some dermatologists recommend bathing and moisturizing just before going to bed. You are less likely to further dry out your skin during your sleep.1probiotics

Probiotics are the natural form of antibiotics that help strengthen our gut and overall immune system. These dietary supplements comprised of billions of living microbial organisms help constitute the foundation of our health.  It is important to consume an adequate amount of probiotics daily to fully support the immune system. Recent research explores the use of probiotics in use for prevention of eczema in infants with high risk mothers. This study conducted administered probiotics in mothers 6 months pre and postnatal. Results show that probiotics provided protection against atopic eczema during the first 2 years of the child’s life.2 The phrase “a healthy gut is a healthy person” has many truths to it. Keep your body healthy with ample probiotics and minimize flare ups from eczema from reoccurring.

  1. National Eczema Association.
  2. Rautava S, Kalliomaki M, Isolauri E. Probiotics during pregnancy and breast-feeding might confer immunomodulatory protection against atopic disease in the infant. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2002 Jan;109(1):119-21

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