Among dry skin problems, eczema is a frequently met condition. Eczema manifests through the swelling, rashes and dryness of the skin. The condition can cause discomfort, as the skin may be itchy, but it is also an esthetic problem.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition that may be caused by a wide range of factors such as:
- Contact allergies
- Inhalant allergies
- Negative reactions to food
- Dry weather
- Sun exposure
- The use of certain skin products and soaps
- Skin infections and poor skin condition
- Immune system mediated diseases such as Lupus
Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema is a broad term used for dermatitis and different skin conditions that manifest through:
- Skin edema or swelling of the tissues
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Flaking of the affected areas
- Lesions in the affected area
- Skin discoloration
Eczema and Dry Skin
Eczema is a condition that will get worse if the patient has dry skin. Conversely, a patient with eczema can develop dry skin. When choosing the treatments, it is important to also offer moisture to the skin, so that it will heal faster.
The eczema may be treated, but the treatment may differ according to the causes of the condition and the symptoms displayed by the patient. In most cases, it will be necessary to apply treatment for the underlying condition leading to eczema. The treatment may include allergy management such as antihistamines or steroids. Steroids may also be used if the patient has an immune system disease.
Steroid creams are often prescribed to patients with eczema, regardless of the underlying cause. The steroid creams will reduce skin swelling, itchiness and irritation. Light therapy employs ultraviolet rays and may be effective in eliminating eczema in some patients.
There are also alternative treatments that can be applied: massage therapy, aromatherapy or herbal remedies. The patients should test a few treatments and see what works best. It may take several months to find a suitable eczema treatment.
Moisturizing the Skin
Eczema can be aggravated if the patient fails to moisturize his skin. The skin moisturizer used should contain as few synthetic ingredients as possible, and should be ethanol and fragrance free.
The best time to apply the moisturizing cream is immediately after a bath or shower, so that the moisture is locked in the skin. If used on a regular basis, the moisturizing cream can help in the healing process. The patient should also avoid the contact with soaps and aggressive detergents that can eliminate the essential skin oils and result in dry skin. The environment should be humid, so an air humidifier should be used indoors, if needed.
The diet plays an important role and the patient can eat foods that will hydrate the skin from the inside. These foods include wheat products and seeds, which all contain omega 3 fatty acids that help the skin. Fruits and vegetables, along with a minimum of 2 liter water intake per day are also important to reduce or prevent eczema.