It’s normal for most people to experience some skin dryness from time to time. But some people have a more intense, chronic condition called eczema, which is a type of dry skin rash that often refuses to go away no matter how much moisturizer you use.
That’s partially because eczema is a more complex issue than just having dry skin. In fact, eczema is often indicative that your skin barrier needs some serious assistance.
Not sure how to tackle eczema at home without using artificial moisturizer creams? Read on and we’ll explain everything you need to know about eczema, including where it comes from and how you can treat its symptoms using home remedies.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a type of skin rash characterized by a rash-like appearance, itchiness, and regular inflammation. Technically, there are seven types of eczema ranging from atopic dermatitis to stasis dermatitis to nummular eczema. The most common is atopic dermatitis and it usually first occurs in infancy.
But overall, eczema is very common and over 31 million Americans have some form of this skin condition. While many Americans are fortunate and their eczema goes away after they become adults, others are not so lucky and have to deal with the skin rash for the rest of their lives.
What Causes Eczema
Eczema is so common in large part because there are many different ways you can get it.
Eczema occurs when your skin barrier reacts improperly to contaminants or dryness. Normally, the skin barrier seals in moisture and protects your skin from becoming cracked or dry over the day.
But in some people, the skin barrier is regularly compromised. In other people, their immune system actively destroys the skin barrier and leaves their skin vulnerable to damage and inflammation.
These reactions to the skin barrier can be caused by:
- Genetics. Some people are simply more likely to have eczema than others.
- Regular exposure to allergens or irritants, like food allergens pesticides and dust mites. People in toxic areas are more likely to get eczema.
- Factors that can worsen the skin reaction include sweat, stress, obesity, soaps, detergents, dust, and pollen.
- Regular daily stress, which compromises your immune system.
- Nutritional deficiencies, which can affect the quality of the skin barrier or the immune system.
Additionally, people who have a family history of atopic dermatitis are more likely to experience the condition themselves. They may also be more likely to experience similar conditions like allergies, hay fever, or even asthma.
Symptoms of Eczema
While eczema symptoms can vary depending on the exact type you experience, there are some common symptoms to look for no matter what which may signal cause eczema flare-ups, including:
- Regular scratching or a constant need to itch especially at night.
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees.
- Dry and/or sensitive skin.
- Inflamed or discolored skin, especially if it looks rough or leathery or like scabs.
- Oozing or crusting.
- Regular swelling and affected areas.
Note that not everyone who has eczema experiences all of the above symptoms. Some people only experience one or two symptoms and they may have a milder form of the condition. Because of this, it’s tough to know whether you really have eczema or just have sensitive skin.
Speak to a dermatologist or medical professional for an official diagnosis.
Useful Remedies for Eczema
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to tackle eczema depending on which type you have or how severe its symptoms are. Let’s take a look at some of these remedies now.
Natural Skin Moisturizers
Of course, you can also apply remedies directly to your eczema-affected skin. Natural skin moisturizers are the best products to target, although you’ll want to avoid skin moisturizers that include synthetic additives or other chemicals. These ingredients can be overly harsh and exacerbate your eczema symptoms.
Instead, we recommend natural moisturizers and ointments with various essential oils. One good example is lavender oil, which can reduce discomfort. Other examples include:
- Coconut oil, which seals in moisture and softens the skin.
- Vegetable glycerin, which is another moisturizing agent.
- Vitamin E, an antioxidant and excellent moisturizer.
- Witch hazel, an excellent soothing agent.
Bottom line: be sure to use natural products that are fragrance-free and don’t have synthetic additives. In fact, you should try to avoid using any irritating skin products whatsoever, no matter what skin type you have.
Not sure whether a product is safe or not? Stick with reliable marketplaces like Dr. Livingood.
Overall, eczema is a chronic, oftentimes lifelong condition that will require regular attention to keep in check. But by following the tips above, and by getting some advice from a doctor, you’ll be able to minimize any eczema symptoms you might be susceptible to and enjoy healthy, soft skin for the rest of your life.