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What are Some Treatments for Eczema?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Eczema is a form of dermatitis characterized by patches of red, dry, itchy skin. In fact, these problem spots may develop into a persistent rash that may turn scaly and ooze. While eczema can appear anywhere on the body, the areas most commonly affected are the hands, elbows, knees, chest and arms. The condition usually makes its initial appearance in infancy, although it often endures into adulthood. Fortunately, there are several self-care treatments for eczema that can be practiced.

There are different types of eczema, which are generally classified according the area of the body on which it appears. For instance, atopic eczema is used interchangeably with the term atopic dermatitis and is the most common form. Xerotic eczema refers to dry skin that becomes irritated by cold weather and is commonly called “winter itch.” Left unchecked, though, it can progress to a more severe form of eczema that can leave the skin cracked and vulnerable to infection. Treatments for eczema management are basically the same regardless of the form it takes.

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Eczema has a variety of causes too, including allergies, certain medications, occupational and environmental toxins, and poor nutritional status. The identification of cause and risk factors for this condition are usually made by utlizing various tests, such as the scoring system known as SCORAD. A radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and immunoglobulin test will check the level of IgEs (antibodies) present, as well as special white blood cells known as eosinophil granulocytes. Elevated levels of either indicate allergy as the primary cause of eczema.

Successful treatments for eczema begins with exercising appropriate skin care habits and steering clear of potential irritants. Strong soaps should be avoided in favor of oil or fat-based cleansers that are also fragrance-free. Frequent moisturizing of affected areas is also important. In addition, care should be taken to avoid coming into contact with harsh detergents and chemicals commonly used in the home and workplace. For example, consider replacing commercial laundry detergent with a non-toxic, natural laundry product since the former can leave a residue on clothing and further irritate skin.

Aside from consulting a physician to isolate any food or contact allergies, there are also dietary and nutritional strategies to explore as treatments for eczema. For example, it may help to eliminate or limit dietary sources of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory mediator obtained exclusively from animal products. In addition, reducing intake of refined sugars and flours, as well as food colorings and additives may be helpful. In fact, adhering to a diet rich in whole grains, fresh vegetables, and fruits is highly recommended.

Including “good” bacteria in the diet can help to restore the balance of intestinal flora to promote the elimination of toxins. Studies on the effects of Lactobacillus GG, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis in the treatment and prevention of eczema have shown very positive results. Organic natural yogurt is a good source of such helpful bacteria. Probiotic supplements are also available as soft gel capsules.

Drinking or supplementing with green tea may also help due to the presence of Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol with demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is also abundant in proanthocyanidins, another type of polyphenol that also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have shown that these agents reduce inflammation by suppressing arachidonic acid metabolism.

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