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Eczema (or atopic dermatitis) is a chronic, non-contagious skin condition. It consists of an itchy inflammation of your skin. Eczema tends to develop in the back of the knees and in the arms, but it may appear anywhere. Many times, it flares periodically and then subsides. It can be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown. It may result from a combination of dry, irritable skin with a malfunction in the body’s immune system, but it is often attributed to some sort of food or airborne allergy too.
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- Skin inflammation and irritation.
- Red to brownish-gray colored patches.
- Small, raised bumps or blisters.
- Thickened, cracked or scaly skin.
- Raw, sensitive skin from scratching.
Home remedies can’t cure eczema, but they can relieve itching, reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups.
1. Avoid scratching the eczema
Scratching the rash can make it worse: it can cause more itching and more inflammation. It may allow the skin bacteria to penetrate the skin, leading to a bacterial infection which will worsen the symptoms and can cause the bumps to leak fluid and crust. When eczema is around the eyes, scratching may cause redness and swelling.
To avoid scratching the affected area, you can:
- Cover it with sterile gauze, bandages, gloves, etc. to prevent scratching
- Apply an anti-itch cream temporarily relieve the itch
- Apply cool, wet compresses to relieve the itch and protect the skin
2. Moisturize your skin
Apply a moisturizer oil or ointment to keep your skin well hydrated. Having clean and moist skin helps prevent flare-ups. You can use a lubricating cream if your skin is already dry. Drinking water is also important to keep you hydrated.
3. Take a warm bath
Add a cup of oatmeal or ½ of baking soda to warm water and let yourself soak for 15 minutes. You can add a very small amount of bleach (1/3 cup) instead as kills the microorganisms on your own skin.
When taking a bath or a shower, use mild soaps and avoid scrubbing the skin too hard, harsh soaps and hot water as these things may irritate the skin and worsen the symptoms. Then gently pat yourself dry and apply moisturizer.
4. Avoid eczema triggers
Triggers are not the cause of the disease, but they can worsen it. Find out your specific triggers and try to avoid them. Some of the most common triggers are stress and other emotional disorders, harsh soaps and detergents, sweating, rapid changes of temperature, dry skin, low humidity, solvents, cleaners, wool, man-made fabrics, dust, sand, cigarette smoke, pollution and certain foods such as eggs, milk, fish, soy or wheat. A healthy diet, light activity, and adequate sleep will keep you healthy, which can help prevent flares.
In addition, using a humidifier can help you as it moistens the air and removes irritants like dry air or cigarette smoke.
6. Wear non-irritating clothes
Cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing won’t harm your skin, whereas rough, tight, scratchy or wooly clothing will cause irritation. During exercise, wear appropriate clothing.
1. Herbal creams
Herbal topical creams and oils can efficiently manage eczema. Some of the most used are the lotions and oils made with witch hazel, chamomile, calendula and evening primrose.
2. Coconut oil
Applying a thin layer of this highly effective moisturizer helps cool eczema itching and pain.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has healing and anti-inflammatory properties: it helps repair and fortify skin cells, reduces skin irritations and moisturizes the skin. As a result, it may reduce redness, itching, and inflammation.
4. Chamomile tea warm compress
- 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers.
- 1 cup water.
- Boil the water and steep the chamomile flowers in it for 15 minutes.
- Soak a clean cloth in the chamomile, wring it out and apply it to the skin for 10-15 minutes.
Atopic dermatitis is controllable, but you have to regularly apply the treatments and remedies, and it will take time until you see the results.