What is Eczema?
Although many people believe it is a stand-alone condition, eczema is actually a term that is used to describe a group of inflammatory skin conditions that produce rash-like symptoms on the surface of the skin. There are conventional methods to treat eczema, as well as alternative methods which make use of natural skincare products and lifestyle changes.
There are many different causes of eczema and to treat it successfully, we need to understand these causes as well as what can exacerbate symptoms.
Atopic Dermatitis vs. Eczema
The correct term for chronic eczema is atopic dermatitis. Atopic means there is a genetic disposition toward allergic reactions and hypersensitivity while dermatitis means inflammation of the skin.
Atopic dermatitis is characterized by inflamed skin which may be flaky, itchy, often cracks open, and weeps when scratched.
It is quite common for atopic dermatitis to go through stages of remission where the condition is under control. However, flare ups are equally common and can be severe and relatively debilitating.
People with atopic dermatitis often find it difficult to avoid scratching, especially during flare ups because of the extreme itchiness that comes with it.
What Causes Eczema?
Eczema is a result of the skin barrier being compromised, making it more sensitive and vulnerable to irritants and allergens (any substance that causes an allergic reaction). In addition, a compromised skin barrier is unable to effectively retain moisture, which contributes to the dryness and flakiness of the skin in people with eczema.
Although eczema is not considered an autoimmune disorder, symptoms of this condition are often considered a result of an immune system dysfunction or overreaction. In other words, people with eczema will experience a hyper-response to allergens, which results in red, inflamed, itchy patches on the skin.
Furthermore, certain environmental factors can contribute to the triggering or exacerbation of eczema.
Lastly, emotional triggers such as stress and anxiety can also play a huge role in atopic dermatitis.
Below is a list of potential allergens, triggers and other contributors to eczema:
- Fragranced body lotion and/or soap
- Body lotions and soaps with synthetic colouring
- Fabric softeners and detergents
- Bubble bath liquids
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Air pollution
- Synthetic fabrics
- Allergenic foods such as dairy, nuts, soy, and eggs
- Skincare products that contain sulfates and other harmful chemicals
- Cleaning detergents and chemicals
- Dry or hot climates
- Environments with high or low humidity (individual dependent)
- Stress and anxiety
- Excess consumption of sugar
Other Common Types of Eczema
As mentioned before, the term eczema refers to several inflammatory skin conditions which exist separately to atopic dermatitis (chronic eczema).
Contact Eczema or Contact Dermatitis
This is an allergic or inflammatory response to an external irritant that the skin has come into contact with.
Common causes of contact eczema are:
- Fabric softeners
- Cleaning detergents or chemicals
- Synthetic fabrics
- Body lotions, perfumes, or soaps
Symptoms of contact eczema include:
- Itchy bumps may appear on your skin
- Fluid-filled blisters may form, ooze and form crusts
- Over time the skin may become thickened and leathery
More common in women than in men, dyshidrotic eczema causes small blisters to form on the hands and feet.
Causes of dyshidrotic eczema include:
- Frequently damp hands and feet
Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema include:
- Fluid-filled blisters on the toes, soles of the feet, fingers, and palms of the hands
- The blisters may be itchy or painful
- The skin in these areas can flake or crack
As the name suggests, this eczema presents on the hands only and is common in people who work with chemicals on a daily basis such as hairdressers or those providing cleaning services.
Causes of hand eczema include:
- Hairdressing services
- Cleaning services
- Laundry or dry-cleaning services
- Healthcare services
Symptoms of hand eczema include:
- The hands get itchy, dry, and red
- Inflamed patches might crack or become blistery
This type of eczema is similar to atopic dermatitis and causes thick, scaly patches of inflamed skin to appear on the surface of the skin.
Causes of neurodermatitis:
This type of eczema usually appears in people who already have psoriasis or other types of eczema. Although it is unclear what causes neurodermatitis,
Symptoms of neurodermatitis include:
- Thick, scaly patches which form on the legs, arms, back of the neck, soles of the feet, scalp, and back of the hands
- Patches are usually extremely itchy
- When scratched, patches can bleed and get infected
Traditional Treatment for Eczema vs. Natural Skincare Products for Eczema
The most common treatment for eczema prescribed by doctors includes oral and topical steroids (cortisone) as well as oral antihistamines (tablets to reduce the body’s response to allergens).
Although effective for flare ups, cortisone is known to suppress symptoms which often creates the illusion that the eczema is disappearing. In addition to this, cortisone creams can also mask infection, causing more risk for further damage to be done to the affected tissue.
It’s important to note that there isn’t one single cure for eczema as it’s often difficult to establish the exact cause. However, through a process of elimination, we can try and remove or at least minimize exposure to the triggers and irritants that cause flare ups.
Additionally, using natural skincare products to treat eczema provides a safe alternative which offers effective and long-term relief without the use of harmful chemicals and symptom suppressants.
Mojo Magic – Natural Eczema Treatment Cream
Mojo Magic skincare is made from safe, natural ingredients free from harmful chemicals which can often worsen the symptoms of eczema.
In our next article, we will take a look at the different ingredients in conventional creams used to treat eczema and compare them to the soothing, nourishing ingredients found in our products and how they offer relief.
To find out more about our natural skincare products, please feel free to contact us, or visit our online store to make your purchase.