Eczema is a persistent condition that troubles many Australians. Although it can affect people at any stage of life, it is especially common in early childhood, and may come as part of a ‘cluster’ of other seemingly unrelated conditions such as asthma and hayfever.
Eczema is a red, hot, dry and itchy rash that can affect one or many areas on the face and body and it can be mild, moderate or severe. The itch can cause scratching which can result in areas that may become infected with bacteria and this can worsen the eczema. Antibiotics are often prescribed in the event of a bacterial infection caused by scratching.
There are several very sound theories explaining the cause of eczema. Recent research suggests that the barrier normally provided by the skin may not be as ‘secure’ or complete in eczema sufferers, and that constant exposure to irritants like water, soap, grease, food or chemicals will further damage this protective barrier function, causing an eczema reaction.
In addition to this, eczema is thought to be a sign of an unbalanced immune system. This is explained in more detail in the “treatments” section, but essentially, a lot of improvements can be made just by bringing the immune system back into a state of balance.
Conventional Eczema Treatment
There is a range of standard conventional treatments that can work very well to alleviate the aggravating symptoms of eczema. These typically involve the use of corticosteroid preparations to reduce the itch and inflammations occurring in the skin, as well as the recommendation of non irritating skin washes to help keep inflammation and irritation under control.
If you have ever been to a pharmacy to seek help for eczema treatment, you may have had prescriptions filled for drugs such as Diprosone, Elocon, Advantin or Betnovate, or come away with EgoDerm or Sigmacort cream, as well as a recommendation to bathe with products such as QV Wash.
Another approach is to prevent or control the eczema with supplements that work from inside the body as opposed to just on the surface of the skin. Treating eczema from the outside and inside together will give a more complete treatment than using either approach by itself.