The term eczema is usually ascribed to a whole range of recurrent skin conditions. Among these are dryness and persistent skin rashes that are marked by one or more of the following symptoms: redness, skin oedema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding. Areas of temporary skin discolouration may appear and are sometimes due to healed wounds. Scratching may open a healing lesion which in turn may result in scarring and could also enlarge the eczema rash.
By far the best way to handle the itchy patches of eczema is to keep the skin properly moisturised at all times. This means staying away from water as far as possible – do not do the dish-washing, avoid frequent hand washing or spending too much time bathing in the shower. On top of it you need to apply a lot of oily creams or even Vaseline to protest yourself from eczema. And, of course, don’t scratch!
Relief from eczema rashes
- To relieve itchiness, dip a cloth or some cotton in ice-cold milk and spread it over the itchy area. Repeat throughout the day.
- Mix finely ground colloidal oatmeal to your bath water. This is very soothing for the itchiness of eczema, and is available over the counter.
- Use lukewarm water for bathing, don’t spend too much time on it, even avoid bathing everyday if you can. Dry skin aggravates eczema, and excessive bathing washes away the oils that keep your skin moist.
- After you bath, apply a heavy-duty cream-based moisturiser, maybe even Vaseline, which will protect your skin from irritants.
Foods and supplements that help
- Consume foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts, avocados, salmon, trout and tuna. They help reduce inflammation and allergic reactions.
- Linseed oil is another good source of omega-3. Add a tablespoon everyday to your salads or curds. Its beneficial properties are lost in cooking, so it is best to blend it with other foods.
- Rubbing star-flower oil into the affected areas twice daily for a period of a month can show remarkable results.
- Consume 250mg vitamin-E daily, it gives relief from the itchiness of eczema. Recommended natural sources of vitamin-E are wheat-germ, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
- You need to get sufficient vitamin-A too. Taken in high doses, it can be toxic, so it is better to obtain it from foods rather than from supplements. The common food sources are liver, fish oil, carrots, green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, milk products and yellow fruits.
Scratching aggravates eczema
- If the itchy area on the skin is too accessible, like the wrist or the back of the hand, it would be better to wrap it with some dressing to restrain the temptation to scratch.
- For people who scratch in their sleep, it would make sense to wear thin cotton gloves or socks during nights.
- You need to keep finger-nails properly trimmed to minimise damage from scratching.