Eczema is a widespread and unpleasant condition caused by the skin’s overreaction to substances such as soap, food and dust. The skin reddens, itches, and becomes dry, scaly, or bubbly. These dry patches of skin may also ooze a watery or sticky fluid.
How far the rash spreads depends on the person. Some sufferers can be covered head to toe in a painful, weeping rash that requires hospitalisation and wet bandages while others will only have one or two dry spots. Even mild eczema can be highly undesirable.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema can be hereditary. If one or both parents had eczema, you are likely to as well. The other risk factor is vaccines: studies show that those who are vaccinated are more likely to have eczema or a range of other allergies than those who are not.
So, What Can You Do?
If scratching away at dry, red, and cracked skin is a part of your life, why not make the necessary changes that will either reduce or eliminate the problem completely? Removing the triggers will bring rapid relief to the soreness and itching while homoeopathy can help you get to the seat of the problem to deal with it once and for all. The remainder of this article will help you do just that. It will explore the common triggers for eczema, give some self-help tips, and then look at the homeopathic remedies commonly used by homeopaths to treat and clear eczema.
Identifying Common Triggers
Things You Eat: When your immune system sees common food as an invader, eczema will result. Dairy products, cow’s and soy milk baby formulas, seafood, peanuts, sesame seeds, eggs, nuts, acidic fruit, and gluten-containing products made from wheat, rye, barley, and oats are common triggers for an over-sensitive immune system.
Trickily, food may not be the problem at all, but the artificial additives in it. You may have no problem with a cut of steak but a fast food hamburger could be a whole different story.
Environmental Chemicals: Modern soaps, skin creams, perfumes, shampoos, conditioners, fabric softeners, paints, dyes, laundry and washing up detergents are anything but safe and gentle. Many chemicals they contain will all worsen eczema. Cigarettes and cigarette smoke is another culprit. To break the habit, Smoke Stop! can help.
Hot and Cold: Extremes of temperature irritate eczema, as can humid or very dry air – the much loved air-conditioner may not be man’s best friend after all! Hot showers or baths also act as triggers.
Natural Substances: Dust mites; moulds; feathers, pet hair, and dander; and grasses, plants, and pollens are well known allergens (things that produce a reaction). These allergens may be small but really pack a punch with eczema.
Emotional Stress: Our emotional health and stability is often reflected on our skin. Over-work, unhappiness, and stress can all worsen eczema.
- Avoid woollen and synthetic clothing as both can irritate eczema. Look for natural fibres such as cotton.
- Launder new clothes before wearing to remove free-floating dyes and chemicals.
- Double-rinse clothes after washing to remove all detergent.
- Diets low in essential fatty acids contribute to dry and inflamed skin. Oils such as flax seed and fish oils are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and improve allergies. Add them to your diet.
- Soothe your skin with an oatmeal bath. Place a cup of oatmeal into an old stocking and let the water run through it as you fill your bath.
- Milk or apple cider vinegar dabbed onto the eczema can soothe the rash and settle the inflammation. Be warned – the apple cider vinegar may sting a little at first.
- Honey also relieves the inflammation and any infection. Apply to the affected area and cover.
- Organic coconut oil is a gentle and safe alternative to sorbolene cream for dry and sore skin. Sorbolene contains preservatives, emulsifiers, and mineral oil – substances you don’t want to absorb through your skin and which can actually worsen eczema in some people.
Treat your Eczema with Homeopathy
Homeopathic remedies frequently relieve or eradicate eczema – not only for people but animals as well. They are safe to use with babies through to the elderly. Many different remedies can be used depending on the symptoms of the sufferer but some of the main ones are listed below.
It is important to note that while these remedies can be used by yourself at home to safely treat numerous acute problems, eczema is a chronic complaint that should have the careful management of a trained homeopath. If you are not sure of what you are doing, too strong a dose, or too many doses of even the best matching remedy can cause a temporary aggravation of your eczema. While this will not be harmful, it is best avoided.
For good results in the treatment of your eczema, please use the services of a fully qualified homeopath.
Many of the following remedies are found in home-use kits.
Arsenicum Album (Ars)
Key Symptoms: Eczema that itches and burns. Rough, scaly skin. Skin red, as if burnt. Must scratch until skin raw. Worse for: cold. Better for: warmth; warm or hot water.
Supporting Symptoms: Skin hard and parchment-like. Scratching the skin raw improves the itching. Itch worsens as skin heals. Worse for: undressing; cool air; right side.
Other Comments: Those who need Ars. can be anxious about many things, including health, and tend to be restless. Anxiety worsens from midnight to 2 AM. Pains are usually burning in nature while the person can feel chilly in general.
Calcarea Carbonica (Calc-c)
Key Symptoms: Rough, dry skin with a tendency to crack.
Supporting Symptoms: Itching blisters between fingers and in bends of elbows. Bran-like coating on skin. Worse for: water. Better for: scratching.
Other Comments: Those needing Calc-c are often overweight or flabby. They tend to be obstinate and worry about safety or security. They may be anxious about health, flying, insanity, mice, or heights. There can be a love of eggs, ice cream, and milk. Sweat will often occur on the back of the neck.
Key Symptoms: Eczema that oozes a thick yellow or honey-like discharge. Dry, rough skin or hard, thick skin with cracks. Eczema and cracks behind the ears. Worse for: night; warmth of bed.
Supporting Symptoms: Skin covered by crusts and scales. Eczema and cracks on skin heal slowly. Eczema that leads to asthma especially when suppressed by steroid creams. Eczema worse on the left side of the body.
Comments: Those who need Graphites are often indecisive, prone to depression, and easily affected by small things. They like to think things through slowly and can suffer from obesity. Complaints may be worse on the left side of the body. Chicken is oftena favourite food while salt, sweets, and fish may be disliked. There may be a tendency for keloid scarring.
Key Symptoms: Eczema from birth. Eczema and asthma combined. Itching to the point of bleeding.
Supporting Symptoms: History of bright red nappy rash with a sharply defined rather than speckled border. Better for: being by the sea.
Other Comments: Those who need Medorrhinum are often passionate and full of extremes. They can be either introverted or extroverted, or swing between the two. They come to life at night and frequently bite their nails. Medorrhinum types like to sleep on their stomach and will often get into the knee-chest position to relieve complaints.
Natrum Muriaticum (Nat-m)
Key Symptoms: Eczema with small blisters and intense itching. Blisters weep a watery fluid on scratching and turn to cracks as they dry. Eczema in hair margins or eyebrows.
Supporting Symptoms: Eczema with suppressed emotions or following grief. Eczema where thighs rub, in groin, or between fingers. The skin may be greasy.
Other Comments: Those needing Nat-m are sensitive and easily hurt but may not show it. They often have a strong history of grief or disappointment. Those who need Nat-m.can be serious, self-contained, and prefer to keep to themselves. Headaches and migraines can develop from the heat of the sun. There may be a dislike of slimy food and a liking for bread, pasta, and salty things.
Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus-t)
Key Symptoms: Intensely itchy eczema with frequent oozing. Small blisters that break on scratching and ooze a watery fluid. Rash often on arms, hands or genital region.
Supporting Symptoms: Restlessness with the eczema. Hard, thick skin. Blisters break, crust, and then crack. Rashes that burn and prickle. Worse for: cold air; cold damp weather; getting wet. Better for: running scalding hot water over the eruption.
Other Comments: Those who need Rhus-t will be restless and feel better for motion. Complaints are generally worse for cold and damp weather or environments and better for warmth and dryness. Often there is a love of cold milk. Rhus-t is one of the main remedies needed in the treatment of chickenpox.
Key Symptoms: Intense itching that must be scratched. Scratching to the point of bleeding. Pleasurable scratching. Itch that burns. Redness of rash. Worse for: warmth of the bed; becoming overheated; bathing.
Supporting Symptoms: Moist eczema. Skin has a dirty appearance. Discharge develops an offensive or eggy smell. Worse for: night; perspiration; wool. Better for: cold; cold applications.
Other Comments: One of the most common remedies for eczema. Can be easily confused with Psorinum. Those needing Sulphur can be opinionated and philosophical. They also have a reputation for being messy and lazy.
Key Symptoms: Intense itching that must be scratched, sometimes to the point of bleeding. Worse for: night; warmth of the bed.
Supporting Symptoms: Dirty appearance of skin. Eczema behind the ears. Despair and depression with the eczema. Infected eczema. Offensiveness of the eczema or discharge. Generally feel chilly. Better for: warmth.
Other Comments: One of the most common remedies for eczema. Can be easily confused with Sulphur. Those needing Psor. can be anxious and despair of the future. They may be chilly, have a fear of poverty and be anguished at night.
Many of the above remedies are found in home-use kits.