Eczema affects many people, and the symptoms may continue throughout life. The most common type is an 'atopic dermatitis,' or 'atopic eczema.' Treatment by a dermatologist is usually necessary to control eczema.
Affecting about 10%-20% of infants and about 3% of adults and children in the U.S., eczema symptoms include itching and rash. Sometimes the itching will start before the rash appears, but when it does, the rash most commonly appears on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. Other areas can also be affected.
Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker. In infants, the itchy rash can produce an oozing, crusting condition that happens mainly on the face and scalp, but patches may appear anywhere.
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Although there is no cure for eczema, there are effective treatments. Dr. Mash will begin by relieving and preventing 'itching,' since the itching can lead to infection. She will recommend lotions and/or creams to keep the skin moist, since eczema makes skin dry, leading to the itch. In addtion, she will often recommend creams that will contain hydrocortisone 1% cream, or prescription creams and ointments containing corticosteroids. If an area is infected, she will introduce antibiotics to kill the infection-causing bacteria.
Other treatments may include antihistamines to lessen severe itching, tar treatments (chemicals designed to reduce itching), phototherapy (therapy using ultraviolet light applied to the skin), and the drug cyclosporine for people whose condition doesn't respond to other treatments.
If more potent drugs are necessary, Dr. Mash will discuss the options with you.
Natural Eczema Treatments
(Dr. Mash will be happy to discuss the potential benefits that a vegan diet may bring to the adults affected by Eczema.)
Many experts studying the vegan diet recommend the following to reduce inflamation and bring balance back to your system:
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
2. Avoid all Dairy Products
3. Add Omega-3 Fats to your diet
4. Get enough Vitamin D every day
5. Avoid refined sugar and processed foods
Read more at the Vegan Forum, "Bulletin."