Often misconstrued as a childhood disease, the National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases estimates that up to 60% of eczema sufferers experience
symptoms into adulthood. Atopic dermatis,
the most common form of eczema, is characterized by chronic, itchy inflamed skin
and affects millions of people worldwide. (For further reading about
causes of dermatitis and treatments, explore our dermatitis home page.)
Usually seen first as an inflamed, red and itchy area on the backside of the knee
or in the crease of the elbow, eczema can manifest nearly anywhere on the body,
including the face, arms and hands. Affected areas can also produce blisters, ooze,
or become scaly, brown and thickened.
with numerous other skin conditions, the precise cause of eczema remains unknown,
but many scientists believe that the origins of eczema are genetic. Because of the
visible chronic rash and blisters that often plague eczema patients, there are a
number of misconceptions surrounding the disease. Eczema is not contagious; nor
is it caused by poor hygiene. There is also a bit of confusion surrounding the condition
and the effect of allergens upon it. Although not the cause, those suffering from
eczema are more likely to be susceptible to allergies, including food and airborne,
as well as being more prone to developing asthma. Sadly, allergies are often triggers
for an eczema flare-up.
There is no cure for eczema as of yet, but certain measures can be taken to alleviate
the discomfort of the condition. In addition to recommending their eczema patients
to keep their skin moisturized and avoid irritants, doctors may prescribe corticosteroids
in either pill or topical cream. Antihistamines are often given to combat discomfort
caused by persistent itching. Some people with extreme cases of eczema have found
relief with the use of ultraviolet light therapy. Eczema patients should meet with
their dermatologists frequently to discuss any changes in their condition and to
stay informed of any new treatments as they become available. While many common
treatments can be costly and may have severe side effects, many sufferers report
great success with diet and lifestyle changes that not only assist in reducing the
frequency and severity of eczema outbreaks, but can greatly benefit the entire body!
Patients with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis are often asked
to keep a diary of events and habits to identify patterns and factors that may be
causing their condition to flare up. Many eczema sufferers find they are extremely
sensitive to different foods, such as dairy, wheat and sugar, as well as to the
preservatives and additives found in processed foods. Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN,
author of Digestive Wellness, suggests eliminating all processed foods
as well as any that have been shown to trigger a reaction from the diet. She also
encourages an annual detoxification regimen for most individuals, in order to cleanse
the system of accumulated toxins. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, zinc,
and vitamins D and A have also been shown to assist healing in some individuals
afflicted with eczema.
While some flare-ups are caused by diet, others may be related to temperature variations.
Since heat is frequently a cause of increased discomfort, eczema patients should
try to wear breathable clothing such as cotton whenever possible. Sufferers living
in colder climates need to take precautions as well. Cold air can be extremely drying
to the skin, and patients need to apply extra moisture to areas exposed to the elements
during the winter months.
As difficult as it may seem, especially with the itchy patches and bumps associated
with eczema, individuals should try not to scratch the afflicted areas. Scratching
can only lead to increased irritation, and may cause the skin to thicken and become
almost leathery in appearance over time. One of the best protections against an
eczema outbreak is moisture. During a flare-up, the protective outer layer of skin
dries and cracks, which allows irritants to infiltrate the deeper layers of the
skin, causing increased discomfort and itching. Because those suffering from eczema
are prone to dry skin, it is of the utmost importance to keep skin moisturized.
In order to increase moisture in the skin, people with eczema can take a brief shower,
gently wash with mild soap, lightly towel dry, then immediately apply moisturizer
while the skin is still damp.
Let DermaHarmony help
At DermaHarmony, we firmly believe in promoting healing from the inside out! We
offer a number of products that may assist in alleviating some of the discomfort
of skin conditions such as eczema. You might want to start out by purchasing a DermaDetoxâ„¢ package. This package assists
in gently encouraging your system to rid itself of accumulated toxins. Detoxification
helps to cleanse the system, but it also promotes healing in the intestines damaged
by leaky gut, and readies them to better absorb essential vitamins and minerals.
Included with the DermaDetox package is an easy-to-follow dietary guide written
by Deirdre Earls, a registered dietician who found relief from psoriasis by changing
Supplementation can be an important part of any health regimen. At Dermaharmony
we offer DermaEssentials, pharmaceutical-grade
supplements designed specifically to assist those with skin conditions. DermaEssentials
do not contain yeast, dairy, soy protein, corn, sodium, starch, wheat gluten, artificial
colors or preservatives.
If you are interested in learning more about skin conditions and how DermaHarmony
can help promote relief, please visit our library!
Most visited articles on Dermatitis
More Articles >>
Seborrheic Dermatitis and Cradle Cap
Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is a very common, intermittent skin condition characterized
most often by itchy flaky scales on the scalp. Red flaking skin may also be found
on the face or behind the ears. Often referred to as cradle cap when affecting infants,
many adults—especially those between the ages of 30 and 60—experience seborrhea
or SD as well.
Dermatitis - General
Dermatitis, also referred to as eczema, is a term used to describe a broad variety
of skin irritations that involve inflammation and red itchy rashes. The condition
is not life-threatening and cannot be passed from one person to another through
any sort of contact, though it can have a familial component.
Contact dermatitis, which is inflammation caused by direct contact with an irritant
or allergen, is one of the most common types of skin irritations. It is sometimes
referred to as "occupational dermatitis," as it is very common in occupations where
individuals come into frequent contact with irritants and allergens.
Nummular dermatitis is an inflammatory skin irritation characterized by its round,
coin-shaped lesions. Sometimes referred to as discoid eczema, it affects approximately
2 in every 1000 people in the United States and is most prevalent in middle-aged
Stasis dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that develops secondary to fluid
build-up, or blood pooling (stasis), just under the skin as a result of problematic
Perioral dermatitis is a common facial skin irritation affecting the skin around
the mouth, extending at times upwards or outwards onto the cheeks, and less commonly
around the eyes or forehead.
How We Help
At DermaHarmony, our goals are to educate chronic skin care suffers about dermatology, share what contributes to health and wellness, and support our readers in any way we can. Our programs promote healthy skin with nutritional supplements, topical treatments and dietary guidance. Learn more about our programs or call us toll-free at 1-800-827-3730. Our Support Desk is open 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.
Our skin assessment is designed to help us get a better understanding of your symptoms and to make diet and lifestyle recommendations for you. It is simple, free, takes just five minutes to complete. Take our skin assessment.
Earls, D. 2005. Your Healing Diet — A Quick Guide to Reversing Psoriasis and
Chronic Diseases with Healing Foods. Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publishing.
Ellwood, P., et al. 2001. Diet and asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic
eczema symptom prevalence: An ecological analysis of the International Study of
Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) data. European Respiratory Journal, 17
(3), 436â€“443. URL: http://erj.ersjournals.com/cgi/content/full/17/3/436 (accessed
electronically August 28, 2006.)
Lipski, E., 2005. Digestive Wellness. NY: McGraw–Hill.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.1999 (revised
April 2003). Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis. NIH Publication No.
http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/dermatitis/ (accessed electronically
August 27, 2006.)
Principal Author: K. Kastelein, Editor-in-Chief
Date of Publication: 09/01/2006
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