Eczema: Old Facts and New Facts
In recent years there have been many new studies on the physiology of the skin. These new studies can help us improve an Eczema skin. They do not give us an explanation as to why certain types of skins get Eczema but they can point us in a positive direction when it comes to easing the symptoms and controlling a flare-up and its re-occurrence.
Under the heading of Eczema we can cover skin conditions such as dermatitis, contact dermatitis, ichthyosis dry skin, etc. These new studies come from the theory of Corneotherapy. These studies began in the ’90s and were then reviewed in March 2011.
The Stratum Corneum (SC) (the top layer of the skin) for many years has been believed to be dead and unresponsive. However, this is not the case and this layer plays a vital role in skin health. If the SC is not functioning at 100% it will cause the skin to become:
- Susceptible to infections
If the SC is not fully functional it will also lose too much water within the layers of the skin and can suffer from the lack of essential fatty acids (the oils within the skin ).
For years the topical therapy and help for Eczema has been:
- Steroids; to remove inflammation.
- Emollients for the dryness.
- Petrochemicals to help keep the water in.
These new studies have made us review the topical application of products prescribed. They have highlighted that some of the ingredients and their long-term use can be harmful to the skin. As a treatment the new concept of Corneotherapy does not use petrochemicals, and avoids emulsifiers, will not have perfumes or additives. Creams are based on vegetable oils and have ingredients that are similar to the skin’s structure.
Dermaviduals for Eczema
- Will heal the SC so that the lower layers can then heal themselves, this is known as “The outside in theory.” This can help inflammation and may even prevent the use of strong drugs.
- Creams that keep the water in the skin without harsh chemicals
- Creams that are made of the same oils with the same structure of your skin.
- Skin washes that do not remove any oils but retain the small amount of oil you have in your skin.
Dermaviduals is a range of creams that has corrected criteria for Eczema skin.
You still have to be aware of things that touch, sit, and lie on the skin because an eczema skin has a damaged/impaired SC; it is unable to perform its main purpose as the first layer of protection to the skin. This will cause the skin to react and become irritated by anything that comes in contact with it. This may not happen instantly, and it may take a day or two for the skin to show signs of reaction.
Topical Triggers and Irritations
- Washing power
- Clothing that irritate, mainly synthetic fibers
- Animal hairs
- Dust and dust mites
- Individual topical triggers (You will need to learn your own)
- Internal Triggers
- Food intolerances
- Overheating, this can come in many forms e.g. getting frustrated, angry, hot foods, hot drinks, spicy foods and hot weather.
Internal Triggers are not so easy to control, but learning what yours are can help you control your flare-ups or help you understand why you have them.
Help for Topical Triggers
- Act fast when the skin starts to go red or look dry.
- Apply your creams regularly; it is not the amount but how often you apply them. Have a tub of cream in your bag or on you at all times to help in preventing your skin from drying out.
Help for Internal Triggers
- Omega oils 3/6. Two good reasons to take omegas 3/6 are 1) they are anti-inflammatory, and 2) they are the essential fatty acids found in the skin.
- Antihistamines to stop the itch and to take away the heat
- Diet to look into any food intolerance.
- Alternative medicines have been known to help internal triggers.
As eczema is such a widely diverse skin disorder, it will be impossible to have one rule for all; the secret is to find the things that work for you.