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What is Eczema
Skin infections are most common of all. We all have experienced it at least once in our lives. This article is about Eczema: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Prevention, and Ayurvedic Treatment.
The word “eczema” is derived from Greek word meaning ‘to boil over’. Eczema is a skin condition in which skin is inflamed and irritated. The skin develops patches that cause itching, are rough and are sometimes cracked. The skin patches may appear red in fair skin and dark patches like grey or purple’ in darker skin tones.
This condition can range f mild to severe. It is commonly found in children but it can be found in adults too.
Let us know eczema’s causes, symptoms, prevention and Ayurvedic Treatment
Symptoms of eczema
Depending upon the age, symptoms of eczema may vary from person to person:
In infants: The infants under the age of 2 may have the following symptoms:
- Development of rashes over scalp and cheeks.
- Itching due to rashes.
- Rashes may interfere with baby’s sleep.
- Rashes bubble up at first and later they leak fluid.
In children: Children aged 2 and above may have the following symptoms:
- Development of rashes behind elbow creases and knees, on neck, wrist and ankles.
- Rashes are bumpy and can vary from light to dark.
- Lichenification (a condition in which skin becomes thick and leathery) is found. This can develop into permanent itching.
In adults: In adults, the following symptoms are usually seen:
- Development of rashes on nape of neck, elbow and neck creases.
- Rashes cover much of the body and itch permanently.
- Rashes are scaly in comparison to children.
Causes of eczema:
Exact cause of eczema is not yet known. But some factors are included, such as:
- Hereditary (related to gene) and environmental factors.
- Immune system’s response.
- Family history of asthma and allergies
- Very cold and host environment.
Types of eczema:
It can be of the following types:
- Contact dermatitis: We all get this many times in our lives. It is a rash which we develop when we get in contact with things that can cause rash.
- Nummular eczema: In this, you develop round sores. These sores often develop after a skin injury like insect bite.
- Dyschidrotic eczema: It commonly develops on hands and feet. It is characterized by rashes that are small, itchy and are water filled.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: It is the most common condition that affects scalp. It can also develop in other oily areas of your body. The skin becomes red and develops scaly patches.
- Stasis dermatitis: It occurs on lower extremities. Poor circulation is its main cause.
Complications of eczema:
Complications of eczema are the following:
- Chronic itchy and scaly skin.
- Other skin infections
- Loss of sleep because of itching.
Treatment of eczema
Eczema can’t be cured. Treatments are available for healing the affected skin. Age, symptoms, and current state of health play an important role in treating eczema. Following are some medications to get relief from eczema:
- Tropical creams and ointments: These reduce inflammation and itching. These are corticosteroid creams and ointments.
- Systemic corticosteroids: If you aren’t relieved by tropical creams and ointments, then you will be advised for systemic corticosteroids. Injection and oral medication are used in this treatment.
- Should be used for short duration
- If you are taking other medications for eczema, systemic should not be used.
- Tropical calcineurin inhibitors: It acts on immune system by inhibiting its activities. It relieves from inflammation and flares.
- Antibiotics: If eczema occurs along with bacterial skin infection, then antibiotics must be advised.
- Antiviral and antifungal: These should also be prescribed in associated viral and fungal infections.
- Antihistamines: These cause drowsiness. Thus, antihistamines reduce risk of scratching at night.
- Phototherapy: This method is used to treat moderate dermatitis. In this, affected area is exposed under UVA or UVB waves.
Prevention of eczema
You can prevent your skin to flare up by the following:
- Use moisturizers more frequently.
- Reduce your exposure to triggers of eczema like stress, sweat, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen.
- Wear cotton clothes or clothes with soft fabrics.
- Cut your nails short to prevent skin scratching.
- Avoid taking too much bath.
- Also, avoid taking bath for long durations.
- Avoid rubbing your skin after bath. Rather, pat or dry it with towel.
- Avoid using perfumed and antibacterial soaps as they will dry up your skin. Use mild soap instead.
Is eczema contagious?
No; not at all. Like psoriasis, eczema is also non-contagious. This means that it will not spread from one person to another.
Eczema: Ayurvedic Perspective
Like Psoriasis, eczema is also classified under kushtha.
It should be kept in mind while knowing about any disease through Ayurveda perspective that any disease in Ayurveda is treated on the basis of their symptoms, site, involvement of doshas, prakriti of the person and many more factors. It is not always necessary to name a disease.
If we compare, ezema shows much resemblance with the skin disease “Vicharchika”. This disease is mentioned under kushtha. It is one among chudrakushtha that are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts.
Like psoriasis, eczema is also caused due to vitiation of tridoshas (Vata, Potta, Kapha).
Vicharchika is mentioned as –
“सकण्डुः पीडिका श्यावा बहुस्रावा विचर्चिका।” (Charak samhita: chi 7/26)
It means that Vicharchika is a skin disease characterised by pidika (papules, vessicles or pustules), kandu (itching), bahusrav (discharge) and shayavata (discoloration).
Involvement of three doshas symptoms:
- vata vitiation- Shayavata (discoloration)
- pitta vitiation- pidika (papules, vessicles or pustules)
- kapha vitiation- kandu (itching) and bahusrava (discharge).
Is eczema curable?
Like psoriasis, it is also classified as krucchasadhyavyadhi (which means a disease which is cured with difficulty) and aasadhyavyadhi (diseases which are incurable).
For more, see psoriasis.
Ayurvedic Treatment for eczema:
According to Ayurveda, skin is not merely a superficial organ. But it extends deeper into the body. For the same reason, skin diseases are rooted into deeper tissues like fat, muscles, blood etc. Thus, skin diseases need to be treated carefully.
Due to similar classification like psoriasis, in eczema, aama (toxins) need to be removed.
The treatment is almost the same for eczema too.Stress triggers eczema, so medication and yoga can be helpful.
Here is the list of some Ayurvedic medications, herbs that can help in relieving symptoms. These are:
- Triphlakashya and Lodhra sevyadi kashya- These help in stabilising three doshas and also in krimighma (means it can help in combating microbial involvement). Besides this, lodhra sevyadi acts as anti-inflammatory and antitoxin.
- Arogyavardhani vati- It helps in detoxification. Katuki, its main content eliminates vitiated pitta and corrects Rakta (blood).
- Purnarnavasva- It has anti-inflammatory property. Its contents like giloy act as antioxidant and show erythropoietic activity.
- Bilwadai Agad – It helps in combating inflammation, act as antimicrobial.
- Nalpamardi tail- Use it after seka, it helps in relieving inflammation and burning sensation. It also inhibits bacterial growth and helps in stabilizing pitta and kapha.
You can also use some other herbs and remedies like:
- Aloe vera and Chandan (Santalum alba) – Has cooling property. Aloe vera helps in combating dryness.
- Neem – Acts as antibacterial
- Coconut oil – It can add moisture to the skin as it contains healthy fatty acids. For relieving inflammation, virgin coconut oil can be used.
- Honey – Has antibacterial property, act as anti-inflammatory agent.
In conclusion, It can be cured
At the end, you should keep in mind it can’t be fully treated. But as we know ‘prevention’ is better than cure. Always prevent yourself from eczema’s triggers.
Also it can be relieved by Ayurveda medications and herbs. If you have eczema don’t panic. Take medications and take care of yourself.