HOMEOPATHY AND ECZEMA
Eczema is an inflammatory skin disorder. It is described by patches of dry, red, flaky skin, often accompanied by areas that are inflamed, broken, moist and oozing. Eczema can be Acute, short-lived, or Chronic, lasting for several years with periods of remission. If eczema is chronic, then the skin may become thick and scaly and may change color. The itching caused by eczema can be so severe and intolerable that scratching may cause the skin to crack and bleed. Eczema can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly found on the face, scalp, hands, behind the ears and in the creases of the elbows, knees and groin. It is not contagious. People who have eczema usually have very dry, itchy skin that struggles to hold moisture. Eczema often runs in families and may be aggravated by stress or contact with certain chemicals or allergens.
The various different types of Eczema:
• Atopic eczema: Atopic eczema is the commonest form of eczema and is related with asthma and hay fever. It can affect both children and adults, usually running in families. The most common symptoms of atopic eczema are dryness of the skin, redness, inflammation and unbearable itchiness that can cause the skin to split, leaving it prone to infection. In infected eczema the skin may crack and weep.
• Allergic contact dermatitis: Develops when the body’s immune system reacts against a substance in contact with the skin. The allergic reaction often develops over a period of time through repeated contact with the substance. For example, an allergic reaction may occur to perfumes, nickel, which is often found in earrings, belt buckles and jeans buttons.
• Irritant contact dermatitis: This type of eczema is caused by frequent contact with everyday substances, such as detergents and chemicals, which are irritating to the skin. It most commonly occurs on the hands of adults and can be prevented by keeping away from the irritants and keeping the skin moisturized.
• Infantile seborrhoeic eczema: Is a common condition affecting babies under one year old, the exact cause of which is unknown. It usually starts on the scalp or the nappy area and quickly spreads to the face then elbows, knees, neck, wrists and ankles. Although this type of eczema looks unpleasant, it is not sore or itchy and does not cause the baby to feel uncomfortable or unwell.
• Adult seborrhoeic eczema: This type of eczema affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40. It is usually seen on the scalp as mild dandruff, but can spread to the face, ears and chest. The skin becomes red, inflamed and starts to flake.
• Varicose eczema: Varicose eczema affects the lower legs in the middle to late years, due to poor circulation. Commonly the skin around the ankles is affected, becoming speckled, itchy and inflamed.
• Discoid eczema: Is also found in adults and appears suddenly as a few coin shaped areas of red skin, normally on the trunk or lower legs. They become itchy and can weep fluid.
Various causes of Eczema:
Eczema is not caused by one specific allergy. It is influenced by many environmental factors like:
• Synthetic or woolen fabrics.
• Washing powders, industrial chemicals and dyes, cement, garden plants, bracelets and watch straps, rubber boots and gloves.
• Irritant foods - such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts and fish.
• Cigarette smoke - in an enclosed room, fumes will irritate the skin.
• Cats and dogs - almost all furry pets will produce an allergic reaction in a child with eczema.
• House dust mites - these are microscopic creatures that are found in large numbers in old mattresses and within the dust in carpets and other surfaces. When scratched into the skin they will worsen eczema and, if inhaled, will provoke asthma.
• Grass pollen - most children with eczema are allergic to grass pollen.
• Cosmetics, hairsprays, perfumes, antiperspirants and deodorants may cause eczema.
• Nickel fastening, underwear elastic and contraceptives.
• Weather changes and emotional stress also precipitate Eczema.
• Poor drainage of blood due to stagnation in the varicose veins causes varicose eczema.
Clinical features of eczema
- Weeping and crusting
- Blistering-usually with vesicles but, in fierce cases, with large blisters
- Redness, papules and swelling- usually with an ill,-defined border
- Less vesicular and exudative
- More scaly, pigmented and thickened
- More likely to show lichenification- a dry leathery thickened state, with increased skin markings, secondary to repeated scratching or rubbing; and
- More likely to fissure
- House dust mites
- Animal dander
- Certain foods (e.g., milk, nuts)
- Certain fabrics
- Soaps, cosmetics, perfumes
- Detergents and other cleaning fluids
- Some people report that emotional stress can also make their eczema symptoms flare up.
The cause of this disorder is still unknown but from all the research that has been done physicians have come to the conclusion that it is a combination of factors. HEREDITY or genetic factor is one of the main predisposing causes. If there is a family history of eczema, asthma or any other allergic condition then the child is more prone to inherit this disorder. The other factor is ENVIRONMENTAL. Things like FOOD, SOAP, CREAMS can cause flare ups. That is why it is extremely important to avoid certain things in the child’s diet and care.
Here are a few features of Atopic Dermatitis-
- Intense ITCHING
- Presence of typical rashes over the body especially on the cheeks, in the folds of the skin, behind the knees, in side the elbows, sides of the neck, wrists, ankles etc..
- DRY, SCALING, ROUGH skin
- CRACKS behind the ears and other parts which may even bleed due to scratching
- Early onset of symptoms
Homeopathic approach to Eczema:
Homeopathy offers very good treatment for eczema. According to Homeopathic principles skin affections are usually an expression of an internal disorder and are therefore not treated only with external applications. Homeopathic medicines work towards eliminating the basic sensitivity to develop such a lesion using internal medicine. This approach not only successfully removes the eczema but also removes the possibility of development of other hypersensitivity disorders like asthma after the eczema is cured. Homeopathy considers any skin disease as an expression of lowered vitality and immunity. So it cures by enhancing the immunity level of an individual.
Calendula is the best and usually only medicine that should be used to soothe itchy, chaffed or broken skin.
Following remedies are important in the path of homeopathic treatment of eczema
Intense itching. Turns to burning when scratches till raw; when burning stops, itching returns. Skin dry as paper. Flaking. Pussy. Small vesicles.
Eczema worst on uncovered parts or areas. Chilly, weakness. Sips cold water.
Restless. Anxious, worried about health, death, security, picky, miserly.
Worse: after midnight, cold air or bath, wet; better: hot bathing, warm room.
Red itching pimples; oozing of honey like liquid, which crusts over.
Infects and scars easily, heals slowly. Overweight, sweaty, constipated.
Scalp. Hairline, behind ears, genitals, back of hands, palms, skin folds.
Thickened skin. Deep cracks in fingers, heels, etc. nails thick. Grooved.
Worse: night, menses, heat (though chilly). Better: cold application.
Violent itching; smarting, crawling, but parts feels cold, as if cool breeze.
Acrid oozing, forms hard, thick crusts with pus under them or white scabs, matting the hair. Intense burning after scratching. Eczema after vaccines.
Scalp, margins of hair, face, lids, eyebrows, hands and feet, cracked lips.
Worse: night, heat of bed or bath, drafts, damp, touch. Better: open air.
Small itchy blisters with corrosive fluid; skin becomes red, raw, inflamed.
Margins of hair; bends of joints, behind ears. Dry flaky crusts form after.
Craves salt, thirsty. Greasy, oily hair. Dry skin in general. Underweight.
Eczema from suppressed emotion, inner grief. Avoids consolation, fuss.
Worse: warmth, salt, seashore, And menses, better: cool weather or bathing.
Red, raw, moist surface: burning and itching: oozing after scratching.
Deep cracks in folds, fingers. Bleed easily, become infected. Ulcerations.
Eruption of the palms, fingerprints, bends of joints, behind ears, genitals.
Itching, scratches until it bleed; the part becomes cold after scratching.
Worse: winter, cold air, moving vehicles, night. Better: warm air, dryness.
Moist, weeping eruptions, foul odor. Intensely itchy; scratches till it bleeds, causing burning. Skin bleeds easily. Dry, scaly, cracked areas.
Unhealthy skin, pimples, easily infected. Burning hot feet at night.
Hair margins, face, areas of perspiration, feet, bends of elbows, knee.
Intellectual dreamer. Lethargic, unmotivated. Tired and always hungry
Worse: night, warmth of bed, heat, bathing, wool. Better: dry, cool bathing.
FOODS THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED
- MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS – in a great number of cases the child suffering from Eczema is highly allergic to MILK. It causes flare ups and increases the itching, redness, and all the symptoms. Curd, paneer, cheese, lassi, ghee, ice-cream, chocolates, etc… should not be given to the child.
- NUTS – these are known to cause allergies in most of the cases. Do not give your child any peanuts (sing), grams (Channa), Besan (Channa Atta), almonds (badam), Cashew nut (kaju), Pista, Walnut etc….
- SHELLFISH – certain people are highly allergic to prawns, crab, lobster, and some types of fish.
- EGGS – not all children are allergic but this has to be tried out and tested. If there is no reaction to egg then it can be safely consumed.
- ARTIFICIALLY COLOURED AND FLAVOVORED FOODS – this includes tomato ketchup, jelly, jams, fruit juices, cold drinks, certain masalas, packet and tin food, squashes etc….
- FRUITS – there are certain fruits which cause a lot of allergies like strawberries, pine-apple, all the citrus fruits like oranges, mosambi, grapes etc…
- CHINESE FOOD – all the chinese restaurants in this city use a substance known as AJINOMOTO. This is known to cause severe allergies and must be totally avoided.
- PLANTS, GRASS, PETS, POWDERS, COSMETICS, POLLUTION IN THE ENVIRONMENT – all these factors can also trigger a flare up in the skin.
- SOAP – the best soap to use is one that is non-perfumed and glycerine base. In the market soaps like PEARS or Cinthol are preferred. But use minimum soap as even these have chemicals.
- KEEP THE SKIN MOIST AND
HYDRATED – this can be achieved by using a non-perfumed
moisturizer or just plain petroleum jelly. Immediately
after a bath when the body is still moist apply the moisturizer
with a little water. This helps in trapping the moisture
in the skin and preventing it from drying up.
- DO NOT RUB THE SKIN DRY AFTER A BATH, JUST PAT IT DRY LIGHTLY.
- COTTON CLOTHES ARE BEST
– make your child wear only cotton clothes especially
under garments. Avoid wool, synthetic materials and rough
fibers these will only increase the itching.
- HOMOEOPATHY is the treatment of choice for this Atopic condition as it helps to heal the skin from within. No external applications can bring about a complete cure. The correct constitutional remedy boosts the patients own immunity to fight against this disorder and prevent flare ups. Along with the Homoeopathic treatment it is extremely essential to take care of all the things listed above.
Hence, for a safe, natural, effective, and long-lasting answer for Eczema, is only Homeopathy.