What is eczema? Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic allergic condition in which the skin develops areas of itchy, scaly rashes.
What are the symptoms of eczema? Eczema can occur on almost any part of the body but is most common on the face, scalp, inside of elbows, knees, ankles, and hands. It typically appears as extremely itchy patches on the skin. Eczema can get worse when scratched; in fact, itchy skin may appear normal until scratched; the irritating action may then cause the characteristic rash and scales to develop.
Other symptoms include:
Scratching can introduce infectious agents into the skin, leading to secondary complications including bacterial infection and permanent scars.
What are the causes of eczema? Eczema is caused by a reaction similar to that of an allergy and can promote chronic inflammation. The condition will often wax and wane and accompany other allergic conditions such as asthma. In some cases, a specific substance, such as certain soaps, detergents, or metals, dust mites, and animal dander, can trigger eczema. For many people, however, there is no known allergen that causes this reaction. Eczema can be worsened by dry climates, exposure to water, temperature changes, and stress.
Who is likely to develop eczema? Eczema is particularly common in infants and children. A persons risk of developing the problem also increases if he or she has a family history of eczema or allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever.
How is eczema diagnosed? Physicians usually diagnose eczema by conducting a physical exam and asking questions about the patients symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, and habits.
What is the conventional treatment for eczema? Conventional doctors often recommend a combination of self-care techniques and medical therapies to treat eczema. First, people with eczema should avoid any potential triggers that appear to make symptoms worse. Take warm, not hot, showers or baths. Use soap as sparingly as possible, and apply a soothing, hypoallergenic moisturizer immediately after bathing. Physicians may also suggest using over-the-counter anti-itch lotions or low-potency steroid creams.
When these measures dont alleviate eczema, the doctor may prescribe one or more of the following treatments:
What therapies does Dr. Weil recommend for eczema? In addition to the self-care approaches mentioned above, Dr. Weil recommends considering the following natural treatments for eczema:
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Natural Treatment of Eczema - Dr. Weil
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