What Is Eczema?
(atopic dermatitis) is a skin disease that is chronic, meaning that flare-ups of symptoms occur repeatedly over time. Doctors do not completely understand why people develop eczema; however, the condition appears to be connected to inflammatory responses of the immune system. More common in people with allergy issues and asthma, eczema appears as a skin rash that may develop on any part of the body. The rash often has a crusty appearance, and oozing blisters may develop in affected areas. Skin redness, dryness and itchiness are common symptoms of the condition. You may also develop patches of thick, scaly skin or discolored patches of skin if you have eczema. If you believe you have eczema, you should see your doctor for a professional diagnosis. Your physician can help you develop a plan of care, so that you can have healthier skin and experience less discomfort.
The Importance of Moisturizing
There is no cure for eczema, but you can help to address and reduce symptoms with good skin care and other at-home interventions. Eczema outbreaks are often triggered by skin dryness, making it important that you take steps to keep your skin properly hydrated. Moisturizers, lotions and creams are available to help you meet your skin's moisture needs and decrease the likelihood of flare-ups. These products contain ingredients that supplement natural oils in the skin and that help to seal in moisture to prevent dehydration. Often, these products are made with gentle ingredients that are natural or hypoallergenic because many people who have eczema also have sensitive skin.
Topical Cortisone Products for Relief
If itching and inflammation from eczema are making it difficult for you to sleep or focus on your daily tasks, eczema relief products that contain hydrocortisone can help to temporarily alleviate your symptoms. Hydrocortisone is an over-the-counter topical medication that helps to suppress the immune system responses in the skin. This results in a decrease of itching and redness. Before using a hydrocortisone skin cream or ointment for eczema, check with your doctor to make sure the product is safe for you. Only apply it as often as directed to ensure best results.
Herbal and Homeopathic Products
For those who prefer natural remedies, there are a number of herbal and homeopathic topical and oral supplement products for eczema available on the market. Herbal formulas may contain licorice, chamomile, chickweed, witch hazel and other medicinal plants that have been used as folk remedies for eczema as a part of various natural healing traditions. Homeopathic formulas contain diluted amounts of natural substances like calendula, sulfur and Urtica urens, which are combined using the principles of homeopathy, a natural healing practice that has been used since the 18th century. Keep in mind that there is not enough evidence to verify the effectiveness of any herbal or homeopathic remedies for eczema. Consult your doctor or health care provider before using any new oral or topical natural formula.
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