What is Eczema?
The term ‘eczema’ is used for a group of conditions that show a similar pattern of changes in the skin, giving rise to specific changes on the surface. The word itself comes from the Greek and means ‘to boil or flow out’ – anyone who has had acute eczema will understand how appropriate this is and which aptly describe the microscopic blister occurring in the epidermis at the cellular level. Dermatitis, as term suggests, implies inflammation of the skin which relates to the underlying pathophysiology. Eczema or dermatitis are terms used to describe the characteristic clinical appearance of inflamed, dry, occasionally scaly and vesicular skin rashes associated with divergent underlying causes.
In acute cases, intense inflammation leads to the formation of little blisters (vesicles) in the skin, which soon burst or are scratched open, leading to weeping and the ‘flowing out’ of fluid. Even if there are no vesicles, a section of affected skin looked at under microscope shows fluid between the skin cells, tending to push them apart. This produces an appearance reminiscent of a sponge- hence the term ‘spongiosis’ that is used by doctors. All the different conditions called eczema would be expected to show this spongiosis, together with some degree of inflammation around some superficial blood vessels, which are dilated, producing the hot, red feeling and appearance.
Signs and Symptoms of Eczema
- Weeping and crusting
- Blistering-usually with vesicles but, in fierce cases, with large blisters
- Redness, papules and swelling- usually with an ill,-defined border
- Irresistible desire to scratch
- Crust over skin
- Oozing of fluid
- Less vesicular and exudative
- More scaly, pigmented and thickened
- More likely to show lichenification- a dry leathery thickened state, with increased skin markings, secondary to repeated scratching or rubbing; and
- More likely to fissure
Causes of eczema
- House dust mites
- Animal dander
- Certain foods (e.g., milk, nuts)
- Certain fabrics
- Soaps, cosmetics, perfumes
- Detergents and other cleaning fluids
- Some people report that emotional stress can also make their symptoms flare up.
Causes of acute eczema
– Contact irritants such as:
- Topical medications
– Food allergies
Causes of chronic eczema
- Suppressed acute eczema through long term topical steroid treatment
- Imbalanced immune system
- Fungal overgrowth
- Deficiency of or inability to process essential fatty acids
- Poor detoxification
- Low levels of gastric acids and poor digestions
- Low levels of good flora
Myths about eczema
- Frequent bathing of the affected areas is helpful and soothing – frequent bathing and long, hot showers should be avoided: moisturizing preparation instead of soaps should be used and moisturizers also applied liberally after bathing should be helpful.
- Eczema is contagious – it is not contagious, and one can’t acquire the condition by coming in to contact with eczema suffers or their belongings.
- Only children get eczema – although it is common in children. The condition is often seen later in life.
Cure of eczema depends upon the cause and condition of disease. Patients should be advised to take daily bath with non-caustic soap and shampoo the hair frequently (if scalp is involved), preferably with a mild baby shampoo, to keep hair and skin clean. Oil application even on dry skin should be stopped because oil traps more dirt on the skin. Patient should always avoid exposure to irritants and allergens. Should also avoid long continued bathing as it causes dryness of skin.
Conventional medicine treatment usually includes avoiding the allergens, corticosteroid, immunosuppressants, antibiotics, and antihistamines etc.
Homeopathic Treatment of Eczema
The core wisdom of the body is to push illness from a more vital to less important tissue. Thus, though it is a completely curable condition, this often requires professional, constitutional prescribing, simultaneously clearing up associated allergies or overall immune weakness. If eczema co-exists or alternates with asthma or hay fever, merely treating the skin will not resolve the whole syndrome. Nonetheless, the remedies listed here can give considerable relief, and in fact are the ones most commonly used to cure eczema on the deepest level. Sulphur is often indicated if there has been suppression by various ointments. Calendula is the best and usually only medicine that should be used to soothe itchy, chaffed or broken skin.
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat eczema but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved homeopathy medicines are available for eczema cure that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the disease. For individualized remedy selection and homeopathic treatment of eczema, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person.
Following homeopathic remedies are important:
Antim crud, Arsenic alb, Cantharis, Psorinum, Sulphur, Dulcamara, Medorrhinum, Mezarium, Rhus tox, Hepar sulph, Tuberculinum, Thuja, Kreosote, Croton tig, Sepia, Natrum mur, Merc sol, Nux vom, Calcaea carb, Borax, Bovista, Graphites, Belladonna, Ars iod and many more medicines.
- Intense itching. Turns to burning when scratches till raw; when burning stops, itching returns. Skin dry as paper. Flaking. Pussy. Small vesicles.
- Eczema worst on uncovered parts or areas. Chilly, weakness. Sips cold water.
- Restless. Anxious, worried about health, death, security, picky, miserly.
- Worse: after midnight, cold air or bath, wet; better: hot bathing, warm room.
- skin dry even in hot weather, itching, bleeding when scratched,
- aggravation in evening, on alternate days, from heat of bed, at new moon, from eating new potatoes;
- hard crust upon scalp; skin feels as if white of egg had dried on its surface.
- eczema on the bends of the extremities;
- excoriation between the thighs and about genitals;
- aggravate from wet applications.
- eczema of face, genitals, and anus;
- severe continuous itching;
- eczema with gastric troubles;
- burning is worse at night.
- eczema of the beard with oozing of watery discharge;
- Itching worse by washing;
- dry scaly itchy eruptions
- eczema over back of hand;
- moist eczema in the bends of knees, appearing during the full moon;
- frequently in women who suffer from dysmenorrhea
- eczema solare with much burning and itching;
- when touched burning and smarting;
- complications with urinary troubles;
- aggravation from warmth;
- scales from on scalp like enormous dandruff.
- pustular eczema, vesicles with watery secretions followed by formation of scales and crust;
- inflammation increases with the increasing moon and decreasing with decreasing moon
- intense itching of skin; but so tender; unable to scratch;
- amelioration by gentle rubbing;
- eczema over whole body; develops an acute eczema over whole body.
- rawness and itching around scrotal sac
- Red itching pimples; oozing of honey like liquid, which crusts over.
- Infects and scars easily, heals slowly. Overweight, sweaty, constipated.
- Scalp. Hairline, behind ears, genitals, back of hands, palms, skin folds.
- Thickened skin. Deep cracks in fingers, heels, etc. nails thick. Grooved.
- Worse: night, menses, heat (though chilly). Better: cold application.
- eczema of scalp, humid, very sore and sensitive to the touch,
- burning and sore on scratching,
- itching violently on rising in the morning,
- on genitals and upon on scrotom and thighs,
- emitting an offensive odor; b
- oils on head and neck, very sensitive to contact;
- pustules around the seat of the disease,
- hands and feet always cold.
- crusty, burning eczema on the neck.
- Eruptions like small pox-lupus;
- eczema on margins of head, especially in front
- eruptions begins on the back of the head and extends to face, also on hands,
- crust thick bleeding, oozing foetid moisture,
- itching violently;
- aggravation of symptoms from 4.00 to 8.00 pm, from getting heated,
- relieved from cold air or uncovering the parts.
- Violent itching; smarting, crawling, but parts feels cold, as if cool breeze.
- Acrid oozing, forms hard, thick crusts with pus under them or white scabs, matting the hair. Intense burning after scratching. Eczema after vaccines.
- Scalp, margins of hair, face, lids, eyebrows, hands and feet, cracked lips.
- Worse: night, heat of bed or bath, drafts, damp, touch. Better: open air.
- Small itchy blisters with corrosive fluid; skin becomes red, raw, inflamed.
- Margins of hair; bends of joints, behind ears. Dry flaky crusts form after.
- Craves salt, thirsty. Greasy, oily hair. Dry skin in general. Underweight.
- Eczema from suppressed emotions, inner grief. Avoids consolation, fuss.
- Worse: warmth, salt, seashore, And menses, better: cool weather or bathing.
- Red, raw, moist surface: burning and itching: oozing after scratching.
- Deep cracks in folds, fingers. Bleed easily, become infected. Ulcerations.
- Eruption of the palms, fingerprints, bends of joints, behind ears, genitals.
- Itching, scratches until it bleed; the part becomes cold after scratching.
- Worse: winter, cold air, moving vehicles, night. Better: warm air, dryness.
- dry or foetid eruptions; crusty eruptions, vesicles being pointed, with red areole;
- skin itches intolerably, scratches until it bleeds;
- dry and scaly eruptions, with little pointed vesicles around the reddened edges,
- discharge ceasing during summer, but reappearing when the cold weather comes on.
- moist eruptions on head, beginning with small yellow vesicles with red areola,
- forming thick crust and hard horny scabs which eat of the hair, offensive
- itching worse at night, surface raw and excoriated;
- eczema scrota on inside of thighs, discharges freely, or thickened.
- Moist, weeping eruptions, foul odor. Intensely itchy; scratches till it bleeds, causing burning. Skin bleeds easily. Dry, scaly, cracked areas.
- Unhealthy skin, pimples, easily infected. Burning hot feet at night.
- Hair margins, face, areas of perspiration, feet, bends of elbows, knee.
- Intellectual dreamer. Lethargic, unmotivated. Tired and always hungry
- Worse: night, warmth of bed, heat, bathing, wool. Better: dry, cool bathing.
- eczema worse after vaccination;
- itching vesicles with shooting pains;
- dryness of covered parts; eruptions only on covered parts.