Chronic eczema (or any dermatitis) can be a terrible condition that can drastically reduce your quality of life. If you or a loved one has ever suffered from eczema, then you know first-hand the effect it can have on your life. Treating eczema can often be a challenge, which makes the condition even more frustrating.
I have also suffered from eczema personally, & I have written this article to help provide a free guide that you can use to help identify and eliminate your eczema! My wife also occasionally gets eczema, even though she is a registered nurse.
What is Eczema or Dermatitis?
Eczema (also sometimes called skin dermatitis) is simply a general term applied to various conditions of the skin. When you have eczema, you will usually experience dry, red, irritated, and highly itchy skin.
Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but most frequently occurs on the back of the neck, arm folds, lower legs, face, and back. It can also mimic other skin conditions. When I first had eczema, I thought it was ringworm. However, after the treatments failed I realized that it was eczema and not ringworm. I have, however, had itchy eczema bumps on my fingers, which I finally realized were caused by food allergies.
When people have outbreaks of eczema, it can be very uncomfortable, frustrating, & embarrassing. Normally, if you have eczema for an extended period of time, you are considered to have “chronic eczema.”
What Causes Eczema or Dermatitis to Occur?
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help your eczema is to find the source of the problem. There are several things that can cause your eczema. By understanding some of the causes, you can help prevent things that cause breakouts.
Common Causes of Eczema:
- Food Allergies/Insensitivities & Nutrition- Milk, Wheat, Shellfish, Peanuts are the most common food allergies. However, you can be allergic or insensitive to almost any type of food. Also, bad eating habits can worsen eczema (such as eating too much junk food).
- Other Allergens- Things such as poison ivy, latex, certain metals, plants, materials, detergents, chemicals, etc. can cause an allergic reaction to the human body.
- Sun Exposure- Some individuals have a reaction to sun exposure that can cause inflammation of the skin. Also, lack of sun exposure can be a cause of eczema because bacteria can multiply on the skin & cause inflammation.
- Parasites- A skin or intestinal parasite could be to blame for your eczema.
- Unknown causes–Sometimes it can be difficult to determine a cause (ie, “idiopathic eczema”).
How to Cure/Treat Your Chronic Eczema
If you have eczema for an extended period of time, then you should try to find the cause of it. Here are a few tips that have helped me to cure my eczema:
1. Try to get more sun exposure. Every time my eczema seems as if it is going to break out, I will go outside on a hot sunny day for a few hours. The next day my eczema will actually look worse, but then it will completely clear up! Just make sure not to get sunburned or to over-expose your skin because it could lead to skin cancer.
2. Try what is called an “elimination” diet. This is just a fancy way of saying “try to cut down on certain foods for a period of time.” For example, I cut down on my milk & dairy intake when my eczema was really bad. I used to eat about 4 bowls of cereal a day, eat lots of cheese, etc. After I cut down on this, my eczema slowly improved greatly over the course of about a month. Try this with different possible food allergens (dairy, peanuts, shellfish, etc.) If the eczema improves, it could have been an allergy.
3. Try eating a better diet. If you are downing lots of unhealthy foods, it could be causing a vitamin deficiency or problem with your health. Try sticking to more fruits, vegetables, and lean meat (fish, steaks, etc.). This could slowly improve your health & eczema over time.
4. Try getting a chlorine filter for your shower. Sometimes, counties & cities place harsh chemicals in the water supply that can irritate your skin.
5. Consider getting a hard water softener if you have extremely hard water. You can usually tell if you have hard water because you will get a lot of soap scum build up. a hard water softener removes harsh chemicals. This can help you to keep your skin softer.
6. Experiment with various lotions. They can help keep your skin smooth & protect it from getting dry.
If you try these things & your eczema still does not improve, then you may want to visit a doctor. You might do the following during your visit:
- Do a stool analysis to check for parasites
- Have an allergy test performed to see of any obvious allergens
- Take a skin sample to test for other infections, bacteria, or other skin parasites
When you go to the doctor, you may be prescribed a steroid cream. These creams can work wonders on clearing up your eczema, but if your eczema keeps coming back it can be very frustrating.
Many times these steroids creams or other pills/medication are only stopping the symptom of eczema, not the actual cause.
If you have eczema, I dearly hope that you are able to heal it & find out the cause. I know it can be a horrible condition that is very frustrating!