What triggers eczema? 8 Tips for treating eczema

Treating eczema at times is hard to deal with. In addition to infants and babies, eczema can also affects teens and adults. It is possible that some people will be able to overcome this condition. In most cases, this is the long term skin condition that flares up periodically. Eczema is a skin condition in which the body develops patches on the skin that can be itchy, dry, red, inflamed, cracked and rough.

In spite of the fact that a lot of research has been done, a cure has not yet been found. Few medications or creams can help reduce inflammation. Some home remedies can soothe the skin and make it better. It must be noted that eczema can be triggered by some foods too. Avoiding them will help a lot.

By the end of this read, you will find a few tips and tips that will help in preventing and reducing eczema to some extent.

Types of eczema:

There are 7 most common types of eczema. Each of which has a different trigger and diverse symptoms.

Atopic dermatitis:

This is the most prevailing type of eczema. Usually outgrows by adulthood. Many people often suffer from hay fever and asthma along with atopic dermatitis (usually referred as a triad).

Common symptoms include: Rash (Elbow, knees, scalp, cheeks), dryness, inflammation, lighter or darker skin. thicker skin at times, small bumps

Causes: Skin’s weakened protection against irritants, allergens. Genetics. Immune system issues 

Contact dermatitis:

This happens when your skin comes into contact with irritants, as the name implies. It can be either allergic contact or irritant contact dermatitis.

Common symptoms include: Burning, itching, redness, sting, inflammation, bumps, blisters, leathery skin

Causes: Latex, metals, bleach, chemicals in personal care products, paints, poisonous plants, solvents

Stasis dermatitis:

In this type, fluid flows out of weaker veins into your skin.

Common symptoms include: Heavy legs, redness, varicose veins, leg swelling, itching, pain

Causes: Blood flow complication in the lower legs

Dyshidrotic eczema:

Usually affects fingers, palms, hands, toes and feet. Seen more in women as compared.

Common symptoms include: Fluid blisters, irritation, itching, redness, pain, scaly patches

Causes: Stress, allergies, constant wetness, metal exposure

Neurodermatitis:

More or less similar to atopic dermatitis. It affects arms, forearms, wrist, legs, head, feet’s sole, neck, scalp, genitals.

Common symptoms include: Hard skin, redness, itchy, scaly patches, inflammation

Causes: Stress, localized itch maybe due to insects

Hand eczema:

As the name suggests, this type of eczema affects only hands.

Common symptoms include: Dry, Red hands, itching, cracks, at times blisters, irritation

Causes: Frequent exposure to chemicals in any form

Nummular eczema:

Nummular eczema can be easily differentiable from the other types because of its formation. The coin shaped patches occur in different parts of the body, especially legs, and seem to be prone in men.

Common symptoms include: Coin shape formation, itchy, dry and scaly

Causes: Allergic reaction, insect bite, dry skin

Some common symptoms of eczema:

The symptoms of eczema may vary according to age. These symptoms helps in treating eczema. Though there are not many differences but can be noticeable.

General: Mild severity. Itching. Dryness. Redness. Scaly skin. Weeping sores. Infections if scratched frequently.

Skin colour: People whose skin tone is not white usually have eczema rash in brown colour. Light or dark patches. Hyperpigmentation.

Infants (below 2 years): Itchiness, dryness, boils, rash on cheeks, scalp and chest, redness, sensitive skin

Childhood (above 2 years): Usually overcome as the child gets older. Small bumps, itching, thick skin, rash on necks, legs, wrists, creases of buttocks, elbow and knees, light or dark rash, redness

Adults: Dry skin, infections, redness, extremely itchy, rash cover the whole body, scaly skin, irritated skin, eczema on eyelids and hands, patches, cracked skin, inflammation, bumps, blisters, thick skin, skin more prone to infections

Causes of eczema:

The absolute cause of eczema is quite unidentified. But it is alleged to be triggered by some environmental, genetic, atopic conditions.

  • Some specific foods
  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Genetics
  • Extreme temperature conditions
  • Overactive immune system
  • Allergens
  • Irritant chemicals (personal care and others)
  • Sweating
  • Scratchy material
Home remedies:

Home remedies will help in alleviating the inflammation and are not complete treatment. Treating eczema completely is quite not possible. Please make sure to do a patch test before applying anything.

Bathing:

Clean and moist skin is an important routine to follow while treating eczema. This is important to avoid infections. But if not taken proper care while bathing, eczema can be worse.

Do’s: Use lukewarm water, follow 10-15 minutes of bath time, apply moisturizer within 3 minutes after patting dry, use mild body care products

Don’ts: Avoid harsh scrubbing, usage of to much of soap, usage of extreme water temperatures, Harsh cleansing or cleaning products

Aloe vera:

Aloe vera helps in soothing the skin. This is considered as one of the effective remedy in treating eczema as it’s natural. It also helps as it has antimicrobial, antibacterial and wound healing properties. It also prevents infections. Take some amount of pure aloe vera gel. Apply it to the affected areas. Gently massage until it blends in the skin.

Coconut oil:

Coconut oil helps in protecting and retaining skin hydration with the help of fatty acids present in them. It works well for inflammations as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Apply virgin coconut oil to the affected areas after bathing and before bed too. You can also apply and massage it slightly whenever your skin feels dry.

Apple cider vinegar:

The National Eczema Association states that apple cider vinegar helps with treating eczema skin condition when used with caution. It helps by fighting bacteria and balancing skin’s acidity levels. It is most important to DILUTE apple cider vinegar before using it. Mix 1:1 ratio of water and ACV. Lightly dip the cotton swab into it. Apply it on the affected areas. Cover it for an hour or two. Rinse well. Pat dry and moisturize.  Avoid contact with cuts, bruises, eyes and intimate areas.

Honey:

Honey has natural moisturizing properties. It works as a natural emollient. Moreover, it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties too. Also, it helps in healing the wound faster. Few studies have shown that it also boosts immune system function. Take a suitable amount of raw unprocessed honey. Apply to the affected area. Rest it for 20-30 minutes. Rinse well.

Bleach bath:

Bleach is effective in killing the harmful bacteria. In fact, few studies have shown that although it may feel dangerous it actually helps in improving eczema symptoms. Use lukewarm water in the process. In a bathtub, add half a cup of regular strength bleach (6%). Mix it well. Soak in for 5-10 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Pat dry and moisturize well. If discomfort or irritation occurs immediately terminate the process. Avoid contact with eyes. Also, it must be noted that people suffering from breathing problems must avoid this remedy.

Oatmeal:

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in improving skin dryness by maintaining the skin moisture. Also, it helps in making the skin soft and reduces the intensity of itching. For eczema colloidal oatmeal is used. It’s the form of oats which are ground and boiled. This process extracts the skin healing properties of oatmeal. It’s easy to use. Just add 2-3 spoons of colloidal oatmeal in the warm bath. Soak for 10-15 minutes. Rinse well.

Essential oil:

Tea tree oil is used for most of the skin treatments. It has good antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also heals the wounds faster. Moreover, it reduces the eczema symptoms by moisturizing the skin and reducing the risk of infections. Make sure to DILUTE any essential oil before use. Mix tea tree oil in coconut, almond or olive oil. Apply to the affected parts. Rest it for about 15 minutes.

Few tips for eczema babies and children:

Extra care must be taken while treating eczema in babies and children as their skin is quite sensitive and may react quicker.

  • Use mild, chemical free moisturizers
  • Oat’s bath is generally safe for babies. Care must be taken for sensitive areas.
  • Avoid bathing the babies frequently
  • Make sure baby gets enough air flow when covered
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Use mittens whenever required
  • Use chemical free baby care products
  • Fragrance free and alcohol-free wipes must be proffered
  • Extra care must be taken in extreme weather conditions
How to prevent eczema?

Eczema sufferers can do a number of things to improve their skin’s health and lessen symptoms.

  • Moisturize daily (twice or thrice or whenever dryness occurs)
  • Avoid going near strong heat sources
  • Use lukewarm water for bathing
  • Limit the bathing time
  • Dry yourself well
  • Reducing stress
  • Avoid scrubbing and scratching
  • Identify your triggers and avoid them
  • Cut fingernails often
  • Use gentle skin care products
  • Avoid chemical products
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing
  • Wear soft cotton clothes
  • Take extra care in winters
  • Clean yourself thoroughly when sweating a lot
  • Avoid dust and mites too
Eczema foods: What to eat and what to avoid:

Eczema in some people can be triggered by certain foods. Some foods provoke the body to release certain immune system compounds that cause inflammation thus, inducing eczema.

Foods to eat:

Anti-inflammatory foods must be included in the diet.

Berries: Contains antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries. Cherries too can help.

Fish: Rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna

Vegetables: Great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Broccoli, spinach, kale, peppers

Probiotic rich foods: They promote good bacteria in the gut.  Kefir, kombucha, yogurt, fermented foods, cheese, buttermilk, kanji, sauerkraut. Moderation is important.

Foods to avoid:

Well, you might love some foods that are mentioned below but that can be the cause of eczema triggers. Make sure to eliminate the foods that trigger you. Try one food at a time for 6-8 weeks to understand what triggers your eczema. Above all, this is an important step to be followed while treating eczema. Either one or a combination of foods can activate or worsen eczema.

Some common food triggers:

  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Nuts
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Vanilla
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon

It is often seen that people suffering from dyshidrotic eczema get triggered by foods that contain nickel. Some of these are –

Eczema in some people can also be evoked by some birch pollen. This means they might have allergy to-

  • Pears
  • Hazelnut
  • Carrots
  • Green apples
Extra: Why does eczema get worse at night for some people?

There can be multiple reasons for the same. Fading of the remedies or medication done during the day time, scratching more in sleep, stress, environmental disturbances, few reactions or decrease in body’s temperature can be some of the reasons.

  • To avoid eczema to get worse at night try these tips –
  • Avoid triggers before bed (Best ways)
  • Keep yourself well hydrated and moisturized before bed
  • Meditate or release stress
  • Bathing or medicated baths before bed (Followed by moisturizing immediately)
  • Use clean sheets and do not use harsh fabrics
  • If you feel a bit scratchy before bed, wear gloves and sleep
  • Keep the surrounding clean and cool
  • Try wet wrapping

Eczema has no complete cure as of now. Prevention and proper care will help you reduce the eczema symptoms and make your life easier.


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