Some of the symptoms of eczema include inflammation, reddening, itchiness and formation of blisters on the affected areas of the skin. An eczema treatment is designed not to cure eczema itself – because there is actually no cure – but to spare the person afflicted with the disease form such symptoms. Body parts where lesions are likely to occur include the face, elbows, at the back of the knees and the wrists.
The eczematous skin tends to be really dry, which contributes to the itching of the area. Although scratching might give the person afflicted with eczema a certain degree of relief, however, this is not really advisable. Scratching will only exacerbate the condition. When an eczematous skin is scratched, it thickens.
The symptoms are at their worst during flare ups. It may cause the person discomforts and many sleepless nights because of the severe itching. Because of this, it is wise for anyone afflicted with the skin disease to find out the triggering factors of flare ups. They include dust, yeast, cosmetics, detergents, solvents and many others. Stress is also a triggering factor. When a person is stressed, the immune system of the body is decreased, which leads to the susceptibility of the person with eczema to have flare ups.
One can opt for a conventional or natural mode of treatment for eczema. So is one better than the other for you? Read on as we compare known conventional and natural treatments for the skin disease.
Conventional – corticosteroids
Creams containing corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation, redness and itching of the eczematous skin. They basically contain the same bodily hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex. This hormone is secreted to control the inflammation process. Topically applied, corticosteroids do the same thing on the affected skin: inflammation, redness and itching are relieved. However, some people afflicted with eczema are fearful of using steroids as part of their treatment. It is because of the many side effects on the skin, such as:
* Thinning of the skin* Dilation of blood vessels* Formation of stretch marks* Rashes* Skin infections
When used for long periods, corticosteroids may also get accumulated in the body and cause some metabolic imbalances. One reason for this is the competition of the topically applied steroid and the one secreted by the body for the same receptors that make them do their job. Another reason is giving the kidney a hard time to get rid of it through urination. You see, even when a medication is applied topically, it is absorbed by the skin, and may get into the blood stream. That is why the use of topical corticosteroid creams have to be maintained at low doses, and for a short period of time.
Natural – herbal and antioxidants
The herbal approach to treating the symptoms of eczema are generally milder and gives little or no side effects. There are many herbs known to be beneficial to anyone suffering from the skin disease. Such herbs may be used as teas, tinctures and topical treatments. They can either be used alone or in combination, to boost the potency. Some of the herbs used for treating eczema include:
* St. John’s Wort* Chamomile* Chickweed* Yarrow* Nettle* Licorice
Antioxidants are also great natural eczema treatment, as they are for many other skin diseases. For instance, Sea Buckthorn and Grape seed oils contain loads of antioxidants such as selenium, beta carotene and vitamins A, C and E.