Eczema: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Eczema is a life-torturing skin disorder. Currently, over 3.5% of the world population are suffering from this abnormal autoimmune disease, in other words over 230 million people.

The term eczema is derived from Greek meaning “to boil over” and it has another name called atopic dermatitis, along with various other subcategories of eczema. Dermatitis means skin in Greek. However, both terms are often interchangeably used.

In the following context, the types, symptoms, causes and treatment for eczema will be described.

Types of Eczema

There are various types of eczema, here are the common four.

  1. Atopic dermatitis – believed to be an allergic disease caused by the congenital (passed on from last generation) factor.
  2. Contact dermatitis – it has two types: one is a delayed allergic response that can take up to several days before effects show up from a substance; the other type involves an instant allergic response to irritants such as chemicals, pet dander and so on.
  3. Xerotic eczema – is eczema caused by plain dry skin, this happens occasionally to people with dry skin during seasonal changes especially in winter.
  4. Seborrhoeic dermatitis – also called cradle cap for babies (affects approximately 50% of infants); it is a somewhat a similar condition with dandruff but show eczema symptoms.

Eczema types

Symptoms of Eczema

Depending on severity, all of these are possible effects caused by the skin disorder.

  • Dry and flaky skin (here’s more information)
  • Cracked skin
  • Bloody oozing sores
  • Rashes (here’s more information)
  • Skin reddening
  • Swelling (here’s more information)
  • Hardened skin (crusty)
  • Skin discoloration (here’s more information)
  • Itchiness (the main problem)

These symptoms are recursive, which means the effects show up and can be very unstable; one day you could itch a lot, the next day you don’t. But, eventually you will again, causing a never ending loop of itching cycles.

Causes of Eczema

In Western medicine, scientists have yet to find a 100% solid answer to the reason behind eczema. However, they have summed two main explanations.

1. Genetic factors

Sufferers of eczema are common to have one or more genes defected, the functions of those genes are all directly linked to skin mechanism for example: a weakened skin protective barrier or inability in certain skin-linked essential fatty acids metabolism.

Scientists have found an interesting link that people with celiac disease also tend to suffer from eczema up to 3 times more. Also, relatives of people with celiac disease also tend to get eczema up to 2 times than normal people. Here are the two research papers for you to find more information on the connections (1, 2).

There is an obvious hereditary relation from people with family history who also had eczema, if one parent has it the chances of the child developing gets to around 30% but if both of the parents have it then the chances rise up to more than half.

2. Environmental factors

The environment is highly believed to be a big contributor to the flare-ups of eczema. Here are common triggers caused by the environment:

  • Extremely high humidity
  • Too dry
  • Too hot or too cold
  • Dust mites (here’s more information)
  • Animal dander
  • Pet hair
  • Pollen
  • Plant parts
  • Dust
  • The air is too polluted (in modernized cities)
  • Existence of chemicals in the air

Another fact is that an autoimmune disorder such as asthma is closely linked to eczema and the causes of them both are along similar lines.

This is what the modern scientific world believes in. So, does that mean there are no better explanations of this skin disease? Fortunately, there are various other reasons, here are three major ones.

1. Leaky Gut Syndrome

The leaky gut syndrome, or medically called increased intestinal permeability, refers to exactly what the name is sought after.

It is believed that people with autoimmune disorders such as eczema happen to have a damaged gut – a gut that has been fed with too much unhealthy foods for so long that the gut walls have decreased in thickness, allowing toxic substances to penetrates the walls and enter the bloodstream, messing up the entire body.

2. Food Sensitivity

You can think of food sensitivity as allergic responses. Allergies are abnormal responses from the immune system towards contact with a normally safe substance. But the body somehow treats them as an enemy, causing “a war” with itself, leading to symptoms such as rashes and itchy skin.

3. Acid-Alkaline Imbalance

The body is said to function on a balance of acidifying foods and alkalizing foods.

For a healthy normal person, the balance insists of the individual eating 60% alkalizing foods and 40% acidifying foods. However, the diets in the modern fast-food society rarely fulfil this requirement.

This balance of food items is measured by the final pH effect of the substance at digestion, not when it’s before ingested or while being ingested. Here’s a common example, a lemon will taste acidic at first, but when digested it has a strongly alkalizing effect on the body.

These measures have weird exceptions, here are acid-alkaline food charts for reference.

alkaline food chart

Treatment For Eczema

Genetic factor:

Diseases that are passed on normally have no cure. The only way to modify how bad the gene defect will affect your health is through eating habits. The healthier you eat, the better you’ll get.

Environmental factor:

While it may not be entirely possible for you to live in a place with natural air, it is possible to reduce and limit the allergens. Install an air cleaner, air purifier, air humidifier, and vacuum your house at least once per week.

Leaky Gut Syndrome:

To “fill” a leaky gut requires strict dietary changes. First, you’d need to stop consumption of artificial foods and all unhealthy eating habits. Second, you need to raise intake of natural, organic and fresh vegetables. Healing a leaky gut normally takes more than a year. It’s slow and gradual but permanent.

Food Sensitivity:

Before your leaky gut is fully healed, abnormal food sensitivities will continue to exist. The only method to avoid symptoms caused by this factor is through abstinence.

Acid-Alkaline Balance:

It is recommended to eat a balance of 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acidifying foods for a person aiming to recover optimal health if he/she is suffering from an underlying illness, including eczema.

The Bottom Line

Eczema is a life-torturing disease that is often labelled incurable in the Western medical history. However, practitioners of natural medicine strongly believe this condition can be cured.

Modern drugs will work magical but they temporarily mask the symptoms, while natural medicine work slow but they will cure the problem via its root cause permanently.

This post was guest-authored by Harrison Li who cured his eczema after 10 years of pain. Read his story on Cure Eczema SlowlyIf you would like to write for HealthResource4u, check our guest submission guidelines.

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