Eczema is a general term. It literally refers to inflammation of skin. It is also called dermatitis. Eczema covers many skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Eczema is not contagious like a common cold. Most people with eczema have family history of the condition. Other allergic conditions like asthma and hay fever are also found in the family. Some researches link the condition with the possibility of passing through the genes. Eczema is most common in infants and children. Roughly 1 in 10 people in the world is affected by eczema at some point in their lives.
The exact cause is unknown. Eczema is mostly due to a allergic reaction in the skin. Over a period persistent allergic reaction may become long-term inflammation. It will lead the skin to become itchy and scaly. This prolonged irritation and scratching can cause the skin to thickened. Certain factors like dry skin, exposure to environmental irritants, exposure to water, stress and temperature changes may aggravate eczema.
Symptoms are vary. It includes blisters with oozing and crusting, inflammation around the blisters, dry, leathery skin areas, ear discharge or bleeding, changes in the skin color, intense itching and rash. Usually in children younger than 2 years, skin lesions begin on the cheeks, elbows, or knees. But in adults, it is more commonly seen on the inside of the knees and elbows. It is also common to see the raw areas of the affected parts of skin from scratching.
Examination and test
Eczema is easily identified and diagnosed by physicians by visual examination and history. Skin leision biopsy may be helpful to confirm the diagnosis.
CAM therapies for eczema
Acupuncture is helpful in many skin conditions. In cases of eczema, points like SP 6 SP 9, SP 10, ST 40, LI 11, UB 12, GB 20, UB 40 and DU 14 are commonly used. Local points are to be selected according to the affected region.
In ayurveda, eczema is known as vicharcika. Many ayurvedic herbs and products are being prescribed for eczema since even century. Such products are rasa manikya, amritadi guggulu, hadirarisht, paradadi malham, shuddha gandhaka, haemafine, guggulu, evening primrose, vicharchikari oil, flaxseed oil, brihat marichyadi taila, guduchyadi taila, coconut oil, wheat grass oil.
Many herbs are highly useful for eczema. Few of such herbs are Babul, Butea, Linseed, Madhuca and Neem.
Homeopathic drugs are known for its efficacy in skin conditions. Drugs like Bovista, Borax, Graphites, Hepar sulpuris, Kalium sulphuricum, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Medorrhinum, Natrum muriaticum, Psorinum, Rhus toxicodendron, Sulphur, Tarentula hispanica, Urtica urens, Vinca minor, X Ray and Zincum metallicum are most commonly used.
Pranayama is useful in eczema.