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Eczema Relief, Remedies that help Fight the Itch

Updated on October 15, 2010

Eczema Basics

Eczema:  (Eczematous Dermatitis) When patches of skin become irritated, rough and inflamed with blisters that causes constant itching which can lead to bleeding. From the Greek word ekzema, meaning to break out.

 

Eczema has become a household term with our family for decades. If I was to told to define Eczema in my own words: No Latin Terminology Needed) a persistent itch that causes the infected to scratch the inflamed area(s) until the point of bleeding, having a family member assist in the scratching until you both go completely insane.

 

Eczema is no joke. My experience in this field comes with years of treating my eight year old son, since birth. My goal, by the end of this article, is to have you equipped with enough knowledge to help yourself or a loved one, fight the Eczema battle. Whether, you come out victorious or not depends upon some common factors.

Before I dive into my own personal experience with the Eczema monster, I strongly recommend seeing your family Dermatologist, Pediatrician, Primary Physician or Allergist for medical advice, since this is a medical condition.

Sourcing the cause of your Eczema

When my son took his first breath, he had already developed dry, flaky patches by his ankles. Our Pediatrician, sounded the alarm, your son has: ECZEMA. It was of no surprise that he did have it. "Long has this battle been" going on with both sides of the family. Not only does my Wife continue to battle with it, my Grandmother (God bless her soul) had dealt with it for years, to the point where people were scared to touch her and even place an eye on her.

 

Here are some areas to consider, when researching, where Eczema can have it's roots:

 

Heredity, Family Inheritance. (Usually not described in the fine print of the family will.)

 

Allergic Reaction to Food or Drink. (Usually happens soon after consumption.)

Foods with high levels of acidity like tomatoes and oranges.

 

Sensitivity to Household Chemicals.

Detergents, Concentrates being currently used, should be inspected carefully of it's ingredients.

Weather, Pollution or Geographic Location.

Exposure to Sun, Heat or Cold can enhance Eczema to a more dramatic level.

Upon researching this condition, most of these items play a factor in sourcing the cause of the Eczema itch. In the case of my Son, after several visits to Doctors, blood tests and allergy skin graft tests, it had been determined his condition was due to:  Hereditary Genetics. That was "comforting news" to know why he had it. My question was, " Will he ever be free of it, or would we have to continue with countless back scratches followed by sleepless nights from his discomfort ? " As we continue to observe him, there have been cases where Eczema has vanished from a child as they get older. I hope he is one of them.

Just be certain there are no bed bugs in your dwelling. Bedbugs bites can make you itch, the bites they leave, create a different impression compared to Eczema. However, that is a whole different topic of conversation. One to be saved for a future article.

The Stages of Eczema

It's one thing to understand why you have that constant itch. It's another to learn how it develops. Some of the stages you may experience in a "break out":

1. Flaky, Dry Patches, Redness, Blotchy Skin.

2. Rubbing or Scratching of those areas to comfort the constant itching.

3. Areas of Itching: Scalp, Back, Arms, Face, Chest, Legs and Fingers to name just a few. We found in the case of our son, that his Eczema thrived in his crevasses or joint areas, like behind the knees, elbow seams, around the eyes, neck cracks and ear lobes. His back always took home the "First Place Trophy", in the itch category.

4. The affected areas become irritated, dry or may follow with blisters.

5. Due to constant scratching the skin breaks, cuts and openings in the skin follow.

6. Severity in this condition depends on the individual, can last a few days to a few weeks and a break out can repeat itself if not treated properly.

In order to bring the Eczema under control and prevent it from further damaging the skin (we will go in to better details on how to treat these a bit later):

Stop the itch.

Treat the open breaks in skin with antibiotic ointment.

Moisturize the affected areas.

Remember, before the skin can heal, the itch will have to stop and open cuts need to be tended to. Once that can be brought under control, then moisturizing will help prevent it from coming back and bring your skin in a healthy state.

Remedies from Home

One of the first areas that we looked into as a family, is treating his condition, Naturally, why not? Avoiding man made products that can, in the long term, cause more problems, was a concern for us.  Also, avoiding having to pay high mark up prices for creams and ointments gave us good reason to help balance the budget. Here are some common household items that can be found in your home or local market:

Itching

Rubbing a ice cube on the area of itch brings relief.

Use a third of a cup of each into a bath; baking soda, baking powder and oatmeal. ( I've use these also separately, on occasions. These basic ingredients soothe the skin from the itch and help dry up those areas. Our Pediatrician mentioned to us, to avoid using it over long periods,

because it can also cause the skin to get too dry.) We let him lay in the bath for at least 15 minutes.

Stop Itch, by Derma e, we purchased over the counter at our local Natural Foods Store. This is a cream in a container, it really does the job and gets the itch to stop very quickly.

Calomine Lotion (That PINK Stuff), can be rubbed on the areas of the skin to help ease the itch.

Selsun Blue Shampoo, Dandruff Shampoo, can be used on the head and scalp to treat itchiness but can also be applied to the skin to treat the itch. (Remember to avoid those open cuts, those will have to treated with Anitbiotic Ointment, like Neosporin.)

Moisturizing

Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (Pure Oil), was recommended by our local Natural Food Store, to help moisturize those dry patchy skin areas.

Vaseline and Extra Virgin Olive Oil help protect the skin and lock in moisture into the skin so it can stay healthy.

Moisturizing the skin at least twice a day. Especially, right after taking a shower. Avoid taking a long bath unless taking one to help remedy an itch. Rather, take a short, lukewarm shower.

Moisturizing your skin will vary from person to person. One particular item we like to use on our son is 100% natural African Shea Butter.

Using Soothe & Cool, Moisture Barrier ointment proved to be a good return on investment, helping to treat sores and cuts caused by scratching and it also kept his skin looking very healthy.

Soaps that we used during his flare ups were Dove, Sensitive Skin bar soap, but we also liked the cream in the bottle pump. We also came across a soap called Dermofull by a company called Ethical. Recommended by our babysitter to help treat skin with Eczema, has the same effect as using Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo.

Remedies from your Doctor

To help you on those doctor visits, here are some prescriptions that were given to us that helped control our sons condition the best. Remember, consult with your family Physician, Pediatrician, Dermatologist or Allergist, on just which medication will fit your needs.

Fluocinolone Acetonide Cream or Ointment, we prefer using the ointment over cream. Not to be used around the eyes, as told by our Pediatric Allergist. This cream worked the quickest when trying to calm down a nasty break out of Eczema. As soon as the Eczema subsided,

we discontinued using it not only because it's a steroid but we noticed that the drug didn't keep it's potency when used too often.

CAPEX (fluocinolone acetonide) topical shampoo, for relief of an itchy scalp. Has some of the same ingredients as the cream mentioned above.

Elidel and Eletone Cream, which can be used around the eye, we used sparingly. Elidel was pulled from the market for a short time, but later reinstated by the FDA to be used.

Benadryl, which can be purchased over the counter, is often recommended by doctors to help treat itchiness. At times, we used Claritin to help with the itch.

Preventive Maintenance

The following items, are some suggestions we found helpful, when treating our son:

Take lukewarm showers rather than hot baths.

Use a bath to help relieve itchiness when making bath solutions, as mentioned above.

Watch what you eat, keep a journal of what you are consuming. Avoid foods or drinks that ignite the Eczema break out.

Eat foods with high vitamin intake or use vitamin supplements to keep your skin healthy.

Keep a handle on soda intake, our sons Eczema likes to creep out when he decides to drink certain types of soft drinks.

Avoid touching or using harsh detergents, chemicals or fragrances that may irritate your skin. We like to use, Gain detergent, don't seem to have problem using it. Dreft (a popular baby detergent) recommended by Pediatric Dermatologist s, for infants and children with sensitive skin.

Keep your linens clean on a regular basis. We spend most of our time on our beds, keeping your sheets and pillowcases, prevents your skin from becoming easily irritated.

Keep your home and floors free from dust as much as possible.

Continue to use 100% Natural African Shea Butter to moisturize your skin.

No Itchiness, More Happiness for Everyone

When living together as a family. When one person is unhappy or suffering we, all suffer. If you can control or stop the Eczema Itch, you'll feel better about yourself, but also those around of you will be much happier. We had countless sleepless nights, where our son walks into our room, looking like a zombie, crying about his itchiness. Countless hours going to and fro, to see Doctors. Many school and work days lost, because the Eczema flare ups were just too much for people to see or we couldn't survive off the two hours of sleep from the night before.

It's not fun! I hope our experience with this has brought more knowledge your way. I wish all these recommendations that were expressed in this article were given to me years ago. A much wiser parent and daddy I would have been. Also, anyone who's been battling this condition take to heart that there are ways to control your Eczema and increase your chances on winning the fight against the "Eczema Monster".

Don't give the Eczema Monster any help

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have four little girls with eczema... Gave them a bath today using your above suggestions and I have two words: Thank you. :-)

      They all have smiles on their faces for the first time after a bath. No grimacing, no sadness. Just laughter and smiles.

      Again, thank you!