If you are prone to dry skin that itches and causes red or irritated patches to form on your body, chances are you are battling an eczema breakout. Children are more prone to the condition but many adults struggle managing this condition as well. It goes by a few names, but at it's core you are suffering with atopic dermatitis which basically means irritation from an allergen. A great majority of people who suffer from atopic dermatitis also have some other allergies or asthma.
All forms of eczema also have some similar symptoms, all are pretty uncomfortable to deal with like dry or scaly skin that itches and is often red or inflamed.
1. Atopic Dermatitis
This kind of eczema is actually the most popular and starts in the childhood years. It can go away by adulthood IF the skin is properly taken care of along the way. Our skin is the largest organ on our body, but also the one that is the most neglected. Atopic Dermatitis is usually one of three ailments a person is experiencing as hay fever and asthma also tend to be present.
Symptoms & Causes
Atopic Dermatitis shares the common symptoms of dry, scaly skin that itches and discolors the skin but it is often located in the creases of your arms, elbows, and legs. Babies might get it on their cheeks and/or scalps as well. Your skin may also get red from inflammation but turn dark from constant irritation and get mild infections from scratching.
To say the least, this is a miserable experience and can be brought on by excessively dry skin. In some cases it can be hereditary or brought on by environmental factors like exposing the skin to allergens. Autoimmune deficiencies can also lead to atopic dermatitis.
2. Contact Dermatitis
I'm not sure about you, but I've had the worst breakouts just from having nickel touch my skin. I cannot wear any jewelry that uses nickel in it or else my skin gets so irritated, it itches and burns to the touch. If you've ever experienced this because of washing detergents, metals, or other irritants, that's contact dermatitis. It's classified in a couple of different ways, the first is based on allergies that effect your autoimmune system like metals or even latex. The second is contact irritant where a foreign substance like a chemical irritates your skin. So allergen vs irritant.
Symptoms and Causes
As discussed earlier, your skin will itch and burn and sting from this kind of dermatitis. You may even break out into hives, which are tiny bumps that itch. Some people have blister like bumps that are filled with fluid in combination with the hives. All of these itch and cause a rash which can leave your skin feeling scaly and leathery. I do my best to stay away from nickel because I know that I react this way to it but also washing detergents that are heavily laced with fragrance, I'm weary about all new perfumes, body sprays, body washes and soaps because all of these things can cause contact dermatitis. Latex, poison ivy and even tobacco smoke can cause these rashes to flare up if you're prone.
3. Dyshidrotic Eczema
This kind of eczema causes blisters that are filled with fluid to be present on several areas of the body. The larger the blisters, the more you will feel the itching and pain associated with them. They can pop upon your hands, on your fingers, toes, hands and feet. Sometimes these blisters can last for as long as 3 weeks and will cause your skin to feel almost spongy if you've been scratching. Like with most forms of eczema, your skin will be cracking from dryness and appear scaly. It may even flake a bit with this kind of eczema. Avoiding breakouts can be tricky as they can be brought on by stress but is most often presented when your hands and feet have been damp, so those who sweat excessively might have this.
4. Hand Eczema
I was raised by my Grandmother who used to be a maid at one of the hotels in Downtown Oakland when she first came to America. When she was older, she had mild hand eczema from years of having her hands n cleansers when working and then coming home to clean after her own children. Many people in professions where they clean, wash your hands consistently wor have your hands in chemicals can result in hand eczema.
This one is tricky. It looks a lot like atopic dermatitis but it can also be found near your genitals. The dry, itchy, scaly skin is still a symptom and they itch more when you're sleeping. Stress is one thing that can trigger this but there still isn't a clear cause so it's hard to know how to avoid this. Make sure to sanitize, exfoliate and moisturize to keep your skin healthy especially if you have other kinds of eczema or psoriasis.
6. Nummular Eczema
What in the what? Nummular is Latin for coin so this version of eczema is called nummular because of the coin shaped rash it gives you. Little circles of itchy, scaly rashes on your skin. Almost like ringworm. It's easier for you to get this if you already suffer from another form of eczema. It is SO important to take care and actually moisturize your skin. However, you can also get this from contact with chemicals, plants, insect bites or metals that cause you irritation.
7. Stasis Dermatitis
Have your legs ever gotten swollen after walking around? You might have stasis dermatitis if this has happened. What you may be unaware of is the fluid leaking into your skin from weak veins in your lower legs. When this happens you can experience swelling in the lower part of your legs. They may even begin to get heavy and develop sores on your legs and feet. Varicose veins are often present in people who experience stasis dermatitis and the skin on top of those veins will itch like crazy.
Stasis dermatitis is caused by a buildup of blood pooling at the bottom of your legs because of malfunctioning valves. Lack of circulation of this blood can lead to varicose veins and stasis dermatitis.
While you might live in a humid climate where you sweat a lot, that doesn't save you. Excess sweating can actually worsen dyshidrotic eczema. People have gone as far as to get botox injections to help control sweating and avoid the side effects of it, but you can help yourself with far less invasive options. The first thing to consider is what is causing you to have a skin rash. If you can correct it by changing your daily habits, then that is the best because you are addressing the issue at the source. Otherwise, you are simply managing your symptoms and even then you can do that without additional stress on your internal organs processing oral prescriptions.
With that being said, there are several essential oils that can be used to mitigate the pain and discomfort associated with dry and inflammatory based skin conditions. Here are a few of them:
If you aren't quite ready to embark on making your own treatments, you can always opt to use one of the skin rash solution oriented products made by Bella's Apothecary. This way, you can provide relief from itchy skin caused by eczema and psoriasis without damaging your internal organs in the process or wasting products in a trial & error process. Just rubbing the ointment or oil in for 30 seconds or more increases the skin's absorption rate and decreases inflammation as well. While each cream contains mild antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal qualities, making sure to clean the skin thoroughly will help keep symptoms at bay as well. The Malady Quick Fix is a broad spectrum pain reliever that works wonders for inflammation. The swelling of the lower legs that occurs with stasis dermatitis can be treated with Malady Quick Fix as can the constant discomfort associated with Neurodermatitis. To find these product, visit the skin rash section of the shop by clicking here.
One thing that is certain with all types of eczema is that you must keep your skin hydrated. Although I've given you a few ideas on how to treat your own, I'm still interested to hear about other holistic treatments you've tried and how you liked them. Feel free to list some of them in the comments.
Bella Eiko is a single mother of a 6 year old boy, freelance journalist, foodie & Civil Rights activist that is dedicated to building a better world by increasing communication & applying positive changes to her everyday life. This endeavor includes educating both herself as well as her son about sustainable living and healthy alternatives to everyday products using practical application.