Do you have Eczema or Dermatitis?

Although many people believe that eczema
and dermatitis are separate conditions,
they are actually one and the same. The
most common form of this skin condition is
atopic eczema. Depending on what study you
read, there are between 18 and 34 million
people that exhibit symptoms of eczema.
Atopic eczema is often genetic and can be
associated with a family history of
environmental sensitivities and allergic
conditions like asthma or hay fever.

What are the symptoms?

One of the most common symptoms associated
with eczema is extreme itchiness. Speaking
from experience, once you start scratching
it is hard to stop. You can rub your skin
raw trying to get rid of the unbearable
itch. Other common symptoms include:

Rash on the legs, arms, hands and neck
(most common but other areas can be
involved) General dry skin even when eczema
is not active Blisters with oozing and
scabbing Redness and inflammation around
the blisters What causes eczema?

There tends to be a general consensus that
eczema is caused by a combination of
genetic and environmental factors. If a
person has atopic eczema there will usually
be another family member with an atopic
condition, such as eczema, asthma or hay
fever. Many environmental factors are
associated with a flare-up and may include
the following:

· Wool clothing that scratches and rubs
against the skin

· Taking long hot showers or frequent baths

· Activities that involve dust and soil

· Extremes in temperature (both hot and

· Contact with chemicals such as bug spray,
paint thinner, air fresheners and even
certain scented toilet paper

· Scented soaps, detergents and perfume

In addition to the above-mentioned factors,
stress and diet can play a role in
activating an eczema flare up.


Staying calm and keeping a positive mental
attitude can be an excellent way to keep
eczema flare-ups to a minimum. Personal and
work related stresses are potent triggers
for eczema. Feelings of anger and
frustration can also increase the chances
of a flare-up. My personal battles with
eczema have been at there worst during
periods of increased stress at work.

Diet Certain foods have been known to
provoke the onset of eczema. Foods on this
list include peanuts, milk and milk
products, soy, fish, eggs and wheat. It’s
not a bad idea to keep a journal of what
you eat and write down the effects it has
on your body. The journal will help you
identify and avoid foods that provoke an
eczema attack.

Is there a cure for Eczema?

There is no complete cure for eczema.
However, there are a variety of natural
treatments and routines that can be
followed to help reduce eczema flare-ups.
Treatments are very individual and work
better on some people than others. If these
tips don’t offer some relief then it is
best to consult your healthcare
professional. Various natural healing
experts recommend the following for
controlling eczema:

GLA – Evening primrose oil is a great
source of the essential fatty acid known as
GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). GLA is hard to
come by in the diet so it is best to get
thru supplementation. Typical dosage is
between 3 and 6 grams daily, taken with
food. Studies for Primrose oil have been
mixed but some patients do claim that the
oil has helped to reduce symptoms of

Herbs – There are a variety of herbs that
have had some success in treating eczema.
These include burdock root, red clover,
goldenrod, roman chamomile, German
chamomile and yarrow. A great recipe that
can be applied to the affected area (2x a
day) is the following:

German chamomile 12 drops

Goldenrod 6 drops

Tagetes 6 drops

Dilute this solution in the following:

Almond oil 2 tablespoons

Jojoba oil 25 drops

Evening primrose oil 10 drops

This natural remedy has offered excellent
results for numerous people with eczema.
For your first application, treat a small
area to insure that your skin is not overly
sensitive to the oils.

Ice- placing an ice pack on the aggravated
areas can offer a natural way to relieve
itching. A good ice pack can be made from a
solution of 50% water and 50% rubbing
alcohol. The alcohol will prevent the
solution from hardening and allows you to
mold the pack to the contours of your body.

Moisturize – It is very important to
moisturize every day with a hypoallergenic
moisturizer free of perfume. I have found
sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil to
be excellent moisturizers. Make sure to
apply immediately after every bath or
shower. When drying, make sure to pat your
skin dry and do not rub.

Relax – As I have already mentioned, stress
has been shown to have an active role in
many an eczema flare-up. It is important to
involve yourself in regular stress reducing
activities. This can include daily
meditation, yoga, walking or a few minutes
of deep breathing exercises. Pick an
activity you will enjoy and that you can do


Remember that eczema is a chronic condition
that is most likely the result of your
inherited genetics. Learning your flare up
triggers and making the appropriate
lifestyle changes is of prime importance in
controlling eczema. Keeping a regular
journal will go a long way in helping to
identify your trigger foods and activities.
I would encourage you to learn as much as
possible about your condition. This will
give you a sense of control and empowerment
while helping you in your self-management
of this chronic condition. Successful
management of eczema can be achieved
provided you commit yourself to the
process. I wish you well!

About the Author:

Mike Brooks has been a life long follower
and proponent of the fitness lifestyle.
Through his avid research, Mr. Brooks has
come to the realization that being healthy
is a choice and encompasses not only proper
diet but also a fitness regimen that
includes the mind, body and soul. Mike
Brooks is the publisher and editor-in-chief
for the health information site

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