Problems with the skin are some of the most frustrating symptoms to treat on the body because they could be caused by almost anything.
Certain skin conditions are easier to identify such as the marks of chicken pox, the blisters of shingles, or the dark coloring of a mole.
What happens if your symptoms are more general. How do you treat that?
Eczema is a very common skin complaint that affects millions of people. It is known as atopic dermatitis which means "inflammation of the outer layer of the skin."
Many people recognize eczema as it usually occurs in patches anywhere on the body and is characterized by red, dry, flaking areas of skin that typically itch. Severe eczema can crack and bleed especially when scratched over and over worsening the inflammation.
Eczema is typically caused by environmental influences such as things you touch, lotions, shampoos, fragrance, soaps, hand sanitizers, plants such as poison ivy, chemicals, cleaning products, outdoor allergens like pollen, animal dander and such.
There is a large genetic component to eczema and many afflicted can trace it back into their parents, grandparents and siblings. Eczema can also worsen with stress and food allergies or food intolerances.
As there is no true test for eczema, health care providers typically identify it by sight and get a detailed history to see if there are things in your life, work or hobbies that may be triggers.
Treatment typically involves using fragrance-free body and household products and evaluating items you may be exposed to on a daily basis as a cause.
Topically, steroid creams are very helpful at eliminating the symptom however the condition commonly returns when you stop applying it. Be aware that long-term cortisone use is discouraged as it thins skin.
Hypoallergenic lotions keep the skin hydrated, vitamin E oil and jojoba oil can also help with the healing process.
Consider eliminating the most common food allergies such as wheat, dairy products, eggs, corn, sugar, and nuts to see if you notice a difference. Keep in mind that you must do this for at least six weeks before reintroducing the food one at a time.