If you are one of those people struggling from eczema you’re not alone! Eczema is very common but the good news is – in many cases it’s manageable.
Eczema is a medical conditions that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis.
CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE:
- Types of eczema
- Symptoms of eczema
- Causes of eczema
- My battle with eczema
- Side effects of steroid creams/ointments
- 4 Natural alternative treatment
2. WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF ECZEMA?
Rashes that commonly appear on scalp, cheeks, behind the creases of elbows and knees, neck, wrist, ankles & creases between buttocks and legs.
- This rashes usually bubble up before weeping fluid.
- It can cause extreme itchiness.
- It can lead to trouble sleeping.
- Continuous rubbing and scratching can result to skin infections.
- It can cause very dry and scaly skin.
3. CAUSES OF ECZEMA
- Irritants- like soaps, detergents, shampoos, disinfectants, juices from fresh fruits, meats, or vegetables
- Allergens- Dust mites, pets, pollens, mold, dandruff
- Microbes- Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, certain fungi
- Hot and cold temperatures – Hot weather, high and low humidity, perspiration from exercise
- Foods – Dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, wheat
- Stress – It is not a cause of eczema but can make symptoms worse
- Hormones – Women can experience worsening of eczema symptoms at times when their hormone levels are changing, for example during pregnancy and at certain points in their menstrual cycle.
4. MY BATTLE WITH ECZEMA
Now that you already know what eczema is, it’s causes and symptoms you will realized that we approached this condition the same way and that is using topical cortisone creams and oral steroids which is the common treatment plan by the doctor.
So this is how my eczema started..
It was 2009 when i first had it. I developed itchy spots on my belly and on my legs. After a couple of days it grows into small circle patches. At first i thought it was just an allergy from food or some insect bites but then it kept me awake at night scratching. I went to my dermatologist and she told me that it was eczema without explaining it. I didn’t bother to asked her to elaborate it too. All i want is to get rid of the itch and get a good snooze at night. She prescribed me an oral antihistamine, oral corticosteroid and a small jar of cream that i should use 2x a day.
I religiously took my medication even though going to work everyday was a burden, the antihistamine made me sleepy. After three days it started to get better so i finished the course of treatment thinking that it’s already healed completely. But i was wrong…
Nummular eczema on my right leg
It came back after five years (2014) and it’s worse than the first flare up. This time it’s not small patches on the belly anymore but a big itchy rash like a size of a twenty five cent at the back of my right leg just above the crease of my knee. I have no idea how the hell it became as big as like that. All i can remember is it will get dry and crusty and then it will ooze clear fluid again. I also started to have it on my arms. It would start like a size of a pimple that is very itchy that you cant help but scratch and would grow its size as the days passed by.
I went to the doctor and have it checked because i didn’t know that it was eczema again. She told me that it was “Nummular eczema“, and this time she explained to me a little bit about it. She said it can grow up to a size of a coin and that’s why it’s called nummular. Hmm… that sounds interesting! According to her it’s oozing water because it was infected from scratching.
She prescribed me oral anti-histamine, a small jar of cortisone cream & an oatmeal bath oil (which can only be bought from her clinic) I diligently finished the course of treatment again for 2 weeks and my symptoms improved. But after two days of stopping the medication i experienced another flare up on the same spots. I can’t wear shorts or sleeveless top anymore. It’s very frustrating! So this time i did my homework. I researched and turned to internet for answers and I’m glad i did that because also find out the risks and side effects of topical steroids when used for a long period of time.
I encountered a forum about eczema and learned about natural remedies from real people on different parts of the world suffering from the same condition. And 90% of their recommended alternative remedies were coconut oil, oatmeal soap and aveeno eczema therapy moisturizing cream.
I got a coconut oil and an oatmeal soap from the drugstore and kept track on all the possible causes of my flare-ups. I changed my diet by avoiding sweets and meaty products. I switched to veggies and fish which is rich in omega 3. As much as possible i avoid stress, wore cotton clothes and used coconut oil as my moisturizer. It worked for me! Never had any flare ups again until then.
If you are an eczema sufferer like me please don’t ever lose hope. There will always be a treatment to manage it’s symptoms that will suit for you. Please check below the natural remedies that worked for me.
Scar from nummular eczema
5. ADVERSE EFFECTS OF STEROID CREAMS/OINTMENTS
Some of common side effects:
- Thinning of the skin (atrophy)
- Skin thickening (lichenification)
- Stretch marks (striae)
- Darkening of the skin
However, frequent use of steroid medications on certain parts of the body like on the face and around the mouth, can cause other types of side effects (some of them more severe), especially when used for a long period of time.
Some other possible side effects:
- Glaucoma (damage to the eye’s optic nerve)
- Cataracts (clouding of the eye lens)
- Tiny pink bumps on the skin
- Red, pus-filled hair follicles (called folliculitis, which is rare)
- Adrenal suppression (when too much steroid application over a large portion of the body inhibits cortisol production)
6. 4 NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS FOR ECZEMA
Coconut Oil & Vitamin E
Yes this the number one on my list. It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial. It that can help soothe your skin when it’s itchy during a flare-up, and can also help reduce the inflammation. I’m using this as my moisturizer every night after shower with added 3 capsules of Vitamin E on a bottle of coconut oil to get rid of ugly scars. I also take 2 tablespoons daily to help my body fight infections and inflammation.
This is one of the reason why i love being home aside from seeing my parents. I love swimming! Sea water is very beneficial in improving our overall health and well being. It helps cleanse pores deeply. It has antiseptic properties that can reduce the possibility of infection, a common issue with eczema.
I used this on my second flare up and it really help calmed my skin. It Fights dryness by leaving a protective layer on the skin, cleanses and moisturizes, and helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier function.
Aveeno Eczema Therapy
This is steroid and fragrance free cream made for eczema. I used this cream in the morning after shower as an alternative for coconut oil. I commute everyday going to work and if you’ve been to the Philippines, you know exactly how difficult it is to take jeepneys & tricycles everyday. It has 98% recommendation from reviewers. This recommendation is based on my personal experience and from eczema sufferers.