Eczema Risk Factors & Tips
Causes and Risk Factors
Atopic eczema is believed to be a hereditary condition, being genetically linked. It has been suggested that people who develop eczema are abnormally sensitive to certain allergens. These allergens cause the immune system to overreact, causing inflamed, irritated and sore skin. (This explains why people with severe atopic dermatitis frequently also suffer from hay fever or asthma.) Such as is the case with psoriasis, digestive problems (inflammatory bowel diseases such as crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and diverticulitis) may precede eczema; this could be due to abnormal absorption, into the bloodstream, of foreign compounds from the digestive tract. Foreign compounds within the bloodstream provoke immune hypersensitivity and can affect the skin in many negative ways.
- Use an air-purification system to filter out particles in the air that may initiate inflammatory skin reactions. Make sure the air purifier is cleaned and/or replaced often.
- Use a humidifier in the home to help prevent skin from drying out.
- Take brief, daily baths or showers using lukewarm water. Use a gentle soap (or no soap at all).
- Pat affected skin dry with a towel and immediately apply an emollient, perfume-free moisturizer.
- Try an oatmeal bath. Natural pharmacies often sell colloidal oatmeal bath treatments. A cup of baking soda in your bath water can also bring relief.
- Apply calamine lotion. A thin layer of calamine can help stop persistent itching.
- Avoid contact with irritants or allergens that may cause problems. (If you have hay fever, for example, cover your arms and wear gardening gloves when doing yard work.)
- Ask your doctor, or other health care provider, about hydrocortisone creams and mild antihistamines to relieve itching.
- Cut nails short and wear gloves at night to avoid scratching.
- Avoid wool and acrylic fabrics next to the skin.
- Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners that may irritate the skin (e.g. bleaches, abrasive scrubs, etc.). Look for more natural solutions.
- Try to eliminate your intake of the disease-promoting hydrogenated oils (trans-fatty acids).
- Add more raw seeds such as pumpkin and flax seeds and fatty fish like salmon or sardines to your food intake; these foods contain health promoting omega 3 fatty acids, to help reduce skin inflammation.
- Ask your doctor / healthcare professional about new food-based non-drug supplements such as Recovery with Nutricol to help improve quality of life.