What is Eczema

Eczema is the name used as a general term to describe many types of skin inflammation (dermatitis) and allergic-type skin rashes.  Dermatitis is another name often used interchangeably with the term eczema.  Technically, eczema is slightly different and is a more general term, but many doctors and physicians will refer to atopic dermatitis and eczema as the same thing.

The word 'eczema' comes from Greek words that mean 'to boil over'.  'Dermatitis' comes from the Greek word for skin – and both terms refer to exactly the same skin condition.

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body's immune system to an irritant, such as food, or environmental factors like soap powder or pollen.  It is this response that causes the symptoms of eczema.  In addition, eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies like hay fever or asthma.

There are different forms of eczema; I can explain what they are in the ‘main groups’ below.

  • Atopic: the 'allergic' type often seen in people who also have hay fever or asthma.
  • Allergic contact: this is due to skin coming into contact with a substance to which the person is sensitive. The same substance does not cause eczema in a person who is not sensitive to it.
  • Irritant contact: is due to skin contact with irritating chemicals, powders, cleaning agents, etc. Contact with these substances is likely to cause eczema in any person, although a degree of individual variation still exists.
  • Discoid: appears as discrete islands of eczema on a background of normal skin.
  • Seborrhoeic: is commonly found in infants and appears in the nappy area and the scalp. I n adults, it also appears on the scalp and in the skin creases between the nose and sides of the mouth. Often this is caused by yeast sensitivity.
  • Others: a miscellaneous group including eczema of the legs caused by varicose veins and pompholyx – an intensely itchy form located on the hands and composed of small or (sometimes) large blisters.

There are many potential triggers of eczema.  It is believed to develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Children are more likely to develop eczema if a parent has had the condition or another atopic disease.

The symptoms of eczema usually include an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin.  Skin affected by dermatitis may blister, ooze, develop a crust or flake off.

Doctors also know that a large percentage of children with severe eczema will later develop asthma or other allergies.  Even though it's not clear why, children born to older women are more likely to develop eczema than children born to younger women.

Not everyone will have issues with the foods listed here, but common food allergies associated with eczema include:  cow's milk,  eggs,  soy products,  gluten,  nuts,  fish,  shellfish.

It is often difficult or impossible to accurately say what causes eczema to occur in any one person and often it is a combination of different things.

The lines of treatment of the different types of eczema are also similar, I have heard often that topical products will help for a while only it needs to be changed as the skin becomes somewhat ‘immune’ to the healing properties.  Harsh steroids have been the ‘go to’ for all dermatologists and skin specialists, research proves to us all that these are harmful long term and not ideal as an everyday solutions.  Whilst steroid creams are needed occasionally to ease chronic inflammation or flare ups, I would urge you to look for an effective natural topical product such as Xmaease that will ease the symptoms and provide a guilt-free healing option while searching for the root cause of the conditions.

I will write about how to look go about searching for the causes through the elimination diet next time.

Hope this finds you all well.

Michelle Facer

Formulator of Xmaease, Mother, Healer and Owner of HealthGiving