Eczema is a kind of chronic skin disorder which becomes apparent in the form of itching rashes that are most often red, dry, leathery, and scaly. Sometimes, a person may also experience skin blisters with crusting and oozing. Most of the time, eczema occurs in infants for the very first time, with rashes developing on the knees, elbows and cheeks.
In adulthood, though the problem is much less apparent, but most people experience the problem if they are exposed to chemical irritants or allergens, or are under stress. It has also been observed that the people who have some or other family member suffering from hay fever, eczema, or asthma, often suffer from eczema.
Below mentioned are some of the most effective and safe methods for treating the problem of eczema at home:
Treatments And Remedies for Eczema
Probiotics refers to the good bacteria which are found existing naturally inside our digestive tract. These good bacteria work to suppress the growth and development of harmful bacteria inside our body, boost our immune functions, as well as strengthen the protective barrier of our digestive tract.
According to various studies that have been conducted on the subject, it has found that the babies who are considered to be at a higher risk of allergic disorders like eczema have a much higher number of bacteria present in their digestive system in comparison to other babies. Therefore, intake of probiotics supplements by pregnant women during the course of the pregnancy is highly recommended. Besides this, children should also be given regular probiotic supplements in order to decrease the occurrence of eczema in kids.
Another study was conducted to find out whether using a probiotic supplement can influence the occurrence of eczema amongst infants. Research was conducted on a sample group of over 1000 women carrying babies with high-risk of getting eczema, in which they were asked to take probiotics supplements or placebo for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks before the time of their delivery.
Beginning from the time of the birth, infants were given the same probiotics that their mothers had taken, along with galacto-oligosaccharides, which is a ‘prebiotic’ as it helps in flourishing of various beneficial bacteria, for a minimum of six months. After researching for two years, it was discovered that probiotics were a lot more effective in preventing eczema, in comparison to Placebo.
Besides using probiotics for the prevention of eczema, they have also been used to treat children as well as infants who are already suffering from eczema. A number of studies have also discovered that probiotics can alleviate the symptoms of eczema in children and infants who are sensitive to food allergens.
Various researches have also been conducted to test different bacteria strains to observe if any particular strain is more effective than others, when it comes to eczema. The most commonly used strain of probiotic for treating eczema is Lactobacillus GG. Few other strains that are also used include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus fermentum VRI – 033 PCC, Bifidobacteria lactis, and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Make sure to talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking any probiotics. This is especially true in case of children with immune system deficiencies.
Topical Herbal Gels And Creams
Creams and gels made using herbal extracts such as licorice, witch hazel, and chamomile have been found to be extremely helpful in reducing the symptoms of eczema. Below mentioned are some of the results of different preliminary studies.
In one particular study, 1% as well as 2% licorice gels were compared against placebo gel for treating eczema. After a period of two years, it was found that both these kinds of licorice gels were a lot more effective in comparison to placebo gel. In fact, the 2% gel could even effectively reduce swelling, itching, as well as redness caused due to eczema.
Another study compared the benefits of chamomile cream over placebo or hydrocortisone cream. After a period of two weeks, the chamomile cream was found to be much more effective than the hydrocortisone, but a little less effective than placebo cream.
Therefore, it is extremely important to consult a qualified healthcare professional before making use of any herbal topical applications for treating the problem of eczema. Few herbs like chamomile can also cause allergic dermatitis in some people.
Gamma-linolenic acids or GLA, which are available in the forms of borage oil and evening Primrose oil, are essentially kinds of fatty acids that work to correct deficiencies in the skin lipids that often trigger inflammation. Due to this property, they are considered to be suitable for treating eczema as well.
Emollients are essentially moisturizers that hydrate and soothe the skin. They are extremely effective in reducing dryness as well as diminishing the frequency of flare ups. In fact, many dermatologists recommend you to use emollients regularly, even if you do not suffer from the symptoms of eczema. Some of the common examples of emollients include emulsifying ointment and aqueous cream. Emollients can be applied to the skin directly in the form of washes, lotions, and oils.
Other General Guidelines For Preventing And Treating Eczema
Eliminating the trigger causing the eczema and allergic reaction is the most effective way of treating the problem. This can sometimes be as easy as changing the laundry detergents, or as hard as changing your job or your place of residence.
Prevent dryness of skin by using warm water to take a shower, instead of hot water. Always use a mild body cleanser or soap to take a bath. Before drying yourself off, apply a good emollients on the entire body directly to the wet skin. They inhibit evaporation of water and thus, help in keeping the skin hydrated. They do not leave a shine or flow off the skin and do not feel greasy. Most of the emollients comprise of petroleum jelly or solid vegetable shortenings.
Avoid wearing rough, scratchy or tight-fitting clothes too often. Make sure never to scratch your rash. If you find it difficult to avoid scratching, cover up the rash with a dressing. You can also wear gloves while sleeping to minimize damage due to scratching.