see also Seborrhoeic Eczema, Eczema in Children, Skin Problems in Elderly
Local inflammation of the skin, accompanied itching, redness, weeping, blistering, and bleeding if scratched.
Caused by allergies to plants, fabrics, and metals (poison ivy, tomato or primula leaves, chrysanthemums, wool, nickel, for example and is often associated with Asthma, Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis.
Seborrhoeic Eczema - (see Seborrhoeic Eczema)
Seems to be inherited, not linked to any allergy - it causes flaking and itching in smile lines between nose and mouth, in beard area, around hairline, on scalp (see Dandruff) on chest, and also in the groin or armpits, or between or under the breasts.
An occupational hazard of housewives, catering workers, hairdressers, nurses, mechanics... anyone in fact who comes into daily contact with household cleaners, washing-up liquid, shampoos, grease removers, all of which contain detergents; hands become rough, red, scurfy, sore and itchy, especially on knuckles.
Causes itchy, weeping blisters on palms of hands and soles of feet, and is thought to be due to Stress or poor diet; it is uncommon, and usually clears up of its own accord after 2 or 3 weeks.
Appears on arms or legs as itchy, round, red patches which proceed to flake, blister, weep, and form crusts; condition may last for several months, but it is rare and its cause is not known.
The orthodox approach to eczema is to prescribe steroid ointments to relieve inflammation, and if necessary antihistamines and antibiotics to control itching and infection; to discover the allergen(s) involved in contact eczema, a patch test may be necessary. However, steroid preparations should be avoided unless eczema is so bad that it is causing miserable, sleepless nights, which in turn are causing stress and aggravating the eczema.
Homeopathic treatment for eczema is constitutional, but the following remedies may be used while help is being sought or when itching is very bad.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 2 weeks
- Eczema mainly affects palms and area behind ears honey-like discharge from skin Graphites 6c
- Skin red, dry, rough, and itchy, aggravated by heat and washing, especially if person has diarrhoea which gets worse early in morning Sulphur 6c
- Affected skin cracks easily Petroleum 6c
- Blisters itch more at night or in damp weather, but improve with warmth Rhus tox. 6c
- Skin dry and itchy, person constipated Alumina 6c
- Skin very sensitive and easily infected, feeling generally chilly and worse in cold Hepar sulph. 6c
- Skin dry and burning, but aggravated by cold applications Arsenicum 6c
- Skin irritated, dirty-looking, and prone to infection, general chilliness Psorinum 6c
Self-help: Obviously, known irritants should be avoided. Wear rubber gloves for gardening, housework, washing-up, etc. If rubber gloves are the culprits, wear cotton gloves inside them. Always dry hands thoroughly after washing, and use Calendula cream as a moisturiser.
If culprit is stress, exercise, relaxation, or a simple form of meditation may help. Avoid anti-perspirants, fake nails and dehumidified air. Breathe in lukewarm water and try oatmeal baths. Try cold milk compresses (made from milk and ice cubes). Avoid rapid temperature changes. Wash clothes once and rinse twice. Use white toilet paper.
You could also try rubbing Evening Primrose oil on to unaffected areas of skin. Take extra Vitamins B and C, and also zinc. Add Safflower oil capsules to diet. Going on the Liver Diet for 1 month would do no harm either.