Eczema is a skin disorder that results in discoloration and inflammation of the skin. Symptoms include redness, dryness, swelling, flaking and scaly bumps on the skin. The exact cause of eczema is still unknown. Research shows that one of three things may cause flare-ups:
Treatments for eczema vary, but luckily most are widely available and fairly effective in most cases.
Eczema sufferers may find relief with the use of phototherapy, also known as light box therapy. Lightbox therapy increases the production of vitamin D in the body. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Patients may benefit from lightbox therapy regardless of the size of the affected area. 60% to 70% of eczema patients have experienced relief with light therapy. Although successful, this treatment can be costly. Sunburn may be a side effect for some patients.
Eczema sufferers may benefit from the application of ingestion of virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Patients may apply coconut oil directly to the skin or add it to their food. Patients who choose to eat coconut oil should consume three to four tablespoons daily. Many patients prefer to apply coconut oil directly to the skin instead of eating it. Patients should apply coconut oil the skin anywhere from once up to four times daily depending on how bad their condition is.
Extreme cold or hot temperatures can often cause eczema flare-ups. Dry air can suck moisture from s skin and can worsen eczema. Exposing the skin to a more mild temperature and humidity level can improve symptoms and provide relief. Keeping the air dry during the summertime while using a humidifier in the summer months may help improve symptoms.
Eczema patients may find relief from regular massage therapy. Massaging the affected area with oils such as jojoba oil or sunflower oil may provide relief. These oils will moisturize skin and provide some relief and relaxation. Oils contain fats, which further improve the barrier function of the skin. If the skin has become severely cracked, however, it may be best to avoid massaging oils into it.
Acupressure is great therapy for treatment of eczema. It works by distracting the nervous system and easing pain and itch. One study found that the treatment reduces the thickening of the skin caused by continuous scratching. The ancient healing art makes use of the fingers to press the main points on a person's skin, which further stimulates the curative abilities of one's body. Opting for a regular acupressure or acupuncture session can reduce itching and improve the look of the skin.
Hypnotherapy may be a useful tool for improving the symptoms of eczema. Stress is often one reason eczema flares up or worsens. Sessions will help patients focus on their inner well-being. Patients will practice breathing and deep relaxation while their therapist provides methods to relieve symptoms. Many patients feel less itching and scratching after a session.
Soak and seal therapy flushes away allergens and bacteria from the surface of the skin. The patient will spend 15 to 20 minutes in a lukewarm bath, which helps restore moisture to the skin. After bathing the patient should pat the skin dry gently with a towel, and of course, treat the area with a topical cream. Any creams applied to the area should be additive and fragrance-free.
Over-the-counter steroid creams may improve itch and pain caused by eczema. Patients should apply these creams to the skin once or twice per day. Doctors often prescribe these creams in low doses and suggest using them with a heavy moisturizer. The doctor will prescribe a stronger dose if the condition does not get better with low dose creams.
Patients may need to make long-term lifestyle changes to feel permanent relief. Figuring out what is affecting the skin make take time and plenty of trial and error. The culprit may be an ingredient in clothing, laundry detergent, body lotion or body wash. Anxiety or stress also may be the cause of eczema or worsen the symptoms. Making small changes to diet, stress, clothing, or other products used may result in a drastic improvement in symptoms.
Studies have shown that not consuming dairy and eating a healthy diet may provide relief from eczema. Instead of processed food, it is better to eat a diet of organic and whole foods. Additionally, cutting down on gluten intake and using natural supplements can help improve symptoms related to eczema.
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