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Eczema. The Itch That Won’t Go Away

300-eczemaby Jennifer Gray, Pharmacist |

Eczema comes in many shapes and sizes; but one thing is constant, the ITCH. It is always there taunting its victims, urging them to abandon all control and scratch. “It feels so good to scratch that I keep on doing it even though I know it will hurt more when I stop,” says one teenage sufferer. What can be done about this increasingly common skin affliction?

First of all, education and understanding the reasons for the disease go a long way to treating it. Environment, diet and heredity all contribute to the development of eczema. It is estimated that 15 million people in the United States currently suffer from some form of this disease. The National Institutes of Health estimate that 10 to 20 percent of all infants will suffer from eczema at one time or another until age five. Between the ages of five and fifteen there is a significant improvement in skin health.

Eczema covers a wide range of symptoms and characteristics. In children, the most common form is atopic eczema. Like most eczema, the itch is the first symptom. Once the child begins to scratch, a rash develops and worsens as the scratching continues. Often an infection settles into the rash from the germs and irritants hiding under the fingernails. Common sites for childhood eczema are cheeks, forehead, scalp, inner arms, back of knees, and trunk. No skin area is immune to the rash, though. Treating eczema in children is often difficult and frustrating.

Steroidal creams, antihistamines, and petroleum products are frequently prescribed to stop the itch and trap in skin moisture. Natural skin care products, like Nature’s Baby Face and Body Moisturizer, contain emollients aloe and Shea butter which sooth and moisturize the skin. While it cannot cure eczema, a regimen of moisturizing with products such as these can lessen the itching by increasing the moisture and can make the skin look and feel better.

Adults may first notice skin, especially on exposed skin like the hands or feet, becoming dry and flaky with red patches. Eventually the patches begin to itch and burn. Sometimes the eczema is more of a red bump that may be filled with clear fluid.

Scratching releases the fluid making the rash appear wet. Scratching, as in the case of childhood atopic eczema, leads to more irritation and itching, and the cycle goes on and on. Malcolm’s Miracle Hand and Body Treatment uses the natural healing powers of hemp seed oil to increase skin’s moisture and repair the affected patch.

Rich in Omega-6 Gamma-Linolenic Acid, Malcolm’s Miracle absorbs easily and quickly into the skin. Essential oils, such as Lavender and Rosemary, soothe and cool the skin while encouraging dry skin to produce its own oil.

Once an eczema episode gets going, it is impossible to stop. Preventing one from beginning and regularly moisturizing the area are the best lines of defense. A healthy diet rich in Omega-3, limited stress, and avoidance of known allergens can help reduce the frequency and severity of eczema attacks.

References:

  1. Malcolm’s Miracles.com/allproducts
  2. www.aad.org, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
  3. www.nationaleczema.org, National Eczema Association (NEA)
  4. www.skincarephysicians.com
  5. www.isdionline.org, The Inflammatory Skin Disease Institute (ISDI) on patient education and public awareness
  6. www.protopic.com/Understanding-Eczema
  7. www.derma.org, Society of Dermatology Physicians Assistants
  8. www.nlmnih.gov, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
  9. www.fda.gov, Food and Drug Administration
  10. Andrew Weil, M.D. “Therapeutic Hemp Oil” www.csdf.org, Children’s Skin Disease Foundation

For more info, contact Jennifer Gray at (775) 232-5766.