This post is a lengthy one highlighting the clinical definition, clinical terms, features etc etc about this condition many people have, to help you differentiate which type you or someone you may know might have. Although self diagnosing is tempting do seek advice from your doctor or a dermatologist. Further is a brief synopsis of a test bae did in regards to the effects of stress && eczema and what product of mine was used to resolve the problem.
Eczema is a condition in which areas of the skin become dry and scaly, inflamed and even blistering accompanied with an insatiable urge to itch. Many people have this condition which in some cases can interfere with their everyday life. There are a few people whom feel embarassed because of it while others are more confident in themselves to not let it hinder them.
However some cases of eczema are sooo terrible that unfortunately some sufferers have taken their lives, a doctor may not tell you that if you ask because it is a horrible loss to come to terms with. A quote from an article I came across on the journal of Chinese medicine by Mazin Al-Khafaji, wrote how the small effects of treatment for a patients eczema sparked a glimmer of hope and and a change in the patients behaviour
This lack of a sparkle, which I have ever since associates with motivation, fulfilment, and the will to live was utterly absent. Having taken a full case history and written the prescription, I ushered her to the door, my heart heavy, determined I would do all in my power to get her better. I don’t recall her exact words, but as she walked out of the door she mumbled something about nothing being worth it. A week later her inconsolable mother called to tell me that she had taken her own life.
I suggest to read the article as it is an in depth synopsis as to how the practitioner treated this patients case of eczema using herbs etc. The worse case of eczema is where it affects the whole area of the body crusting and weeping in various areas of the skin when itched and even bleeding. Mild cases are particular areas such as the elbows legs, neck, hands or feet and even the face that appear with little to sizeable red dry patches.
There are several types of eczema that fall into two categories along with being allocated to 3 stages. That is, endogenous and exogenous.
Below is a lengthy but informative explanation of the two categories and its sub-cat that I think best explains each type of eczema/dermatitis and is uncomplicated in it’s explanation. I took this from a paper by Author: Dr Tony Woolfson in 2008 that I came across whilst doing my own research for my assignment, as I am yet to hand it in I will have a few links from sources so as not to plagiarise myself.
I will copy the two pages here as it is written because some links aren’t just annoying when clicking whilst using a phone (and also it is a pain when a tab opens && takes you away).
Features of eczema/dermatitis in the two categories as follows:
Endogenous eczema is not primarily due to external factors and is mediated by inflammatory processes originating in the body. Principal forms include:
- Atopic eczema is particularly common in children, but occurs at all ages. It may occur all over the body but especially affects the flexures, appearing as areas of red and scaly skin which may become lichenified. It tends to be associated with intense itching and, consequently, the prevention of scratching is a major problem. Atopic hand eczema is a common manifestation of adult atopic dermatitis.
- Asteatotic eczema (eczema craquele) appears when there is excessive drying of the skin. It is most commonly seen on the front and side of the legs, which become dry and scaly. If there is further drying accompanied by scratching, red plaques appear with long horizontal fissures. If the condition worsens, the horizontal fissures are joined together by shorter vertical fissures and the whole area resembles cracked porcelain.
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis most commonly occurs on the scalp, face (especially the nasolabial folds and eyebrows) and presternal area of skin. Dandruff may be considered a banal and minor form of the condition. In more severe forms it is characterised by dull or yellowish greasy scales.
- Nummular (or discoid) eczema most commonly occurs in middle age. The itchy coin-like lesions are red and are usually 1-5 cm across. Lesions characteristically occur on the limbs, but may be widespread.
- Stasis (gravitational) dermatitis is characterised by eczematous changes in the skin of the lower legs which occurs in some patients with venous insufficiency; it may be accompanied by ulceration. Oedema is commonly present. Fat necrosis and subcutaneous fibrosis may follow thrombosis of small veins. A variety of changes may occur as a result of thrombosis of larger veins. These are known as post-phlebitic syndromes.
- Endogenous vesicular hand (and foot) eczema (Pompholyx and dyshidrotic eczema are archaic terms) is a dermatitis occurring primarily on the palmar surfaces of the hands, sides of the fingers and feet consisting mainly of intensely itchy vesicles. These normally improve over a 3-4 week period with some scaling. It may evolve into a chronic eczematous process.
Exogenous eczema has well-defined external triggers, and an inherited tendency plays only a small part.
- Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common type of eczema seen affecting the hand. It is typically seen in those engaged in ‘wet work’ and people whose occupations involve them in repeated wetting of the hands or exposure to irritant chemicals. The initial changes are dryness, chapping and redness. Cracking and fissuring may then occur. The changes at this stage are subacute. If there is further irritation, the itching intensifies and excoriation occurs. Superadded infection may be present.
- Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a specific allergy develops to some substance with which the skin is in contact. As with any type of eczema, the condition can be exacerbated by exposure to washing, scratching, further irritants, and infection, or even by medication.
- Photo contact dermatitis occurs when exposure to ultra violet light results in the transformation of a substance on the skin into an allergen (photoallergic dermatitis) or an irritant (phototoxic dermatitis).
- Id reaction (dermatophytide) is the name given to an intensely itchy vesicular eruption occurring most commonly on the sides of the fingers but also on the palmar aspects of the hands and feet as a result of a fungus infection.
So there are two categories and 3 stages
Acute eczema- is characterised by erythema and a moderate to intense degree of inflammation. There is intense itching accompanied by an extreme desire to scratch. In all but very mild cases, some vesicle formation and blistering occurs. If no further exposure occurs, acute eczema improves spontaneously, passing through the subacute stage as it resolves.
Subacute eczema- erythema and scaling, usually with indistinct borders. The intensity of itching varies greatly. Subacute inflammation may be the first manifestation of eczema, or it may follow acute eczema. Subacute eczema will resolve completely without scarring if the causes are removed. If external irritation or excoriation continues, this stage may evolve into chronic eczema. Subacute eczema is seen in conditions such as allergic contact dermatitis, asteatotic eczema, atopic dermatitis, nappy rash, exposure to chemicals, irritant contact dermatitis, nummular eczema and stasis dermatitis.Equally, acute eczema may follow the subacute form if it becomes infected or irritated.
Chronic eczema results from uncontrolled scratching and/or continuing irritation. There is thickening known as lichenification and fissuring of the inflamed area. for this type od eczema, itching is always at least moderate in intensity. Scratching, which often occurs during 5 sleep as well as during waking hours, causes excoriation.
Information source Author: Dr Tony Woolfson, Medical Author.
Stress is also a psychological factor that plays a part with the inflammation of eczema. Someone already with a case of dermatitis and working within a stressful environment is not a great recipe. As a result inflammation and urge to itch worsens as opposed to when one has taken time out to relax. Atopic eczema is genetically determined but may be aggravated by exposure to irritant chemicals and by scratching.
My partner had what would be said as mild and clinically referred to as ‘atopic’ as in his case seems to be genetic and triggered by diet && food allergies i.e. dairy, greasy and acidic food. How he remedied his flares ups was by changing to an alkaline diet, cutting out grease, acid and diary…yes in the end he became dare I utter it?… VEGAN (more on that in a later post), has it made a difference? SEVERELY ! it was his decision to make which I supported as I was the one making notes of how his body reacted in the first place and advised him.
Many conversations down the line and his own research he decided to change his lifestyle and his body is responding much better. I treat him with acupuncture and sometimes herbs, the herbs he doesn’t like so much (don’t blame him) BUT it was necessary whenever he had flare ups during stressful times. They worked… on top of that he uses the charcoal&&shea soap I made and the first body butter I was making at the time. later we moved to the 4Herb butter and saw significant results within him and others which lead me to start making that my main treatment butter.
We also did an experiment, we saw how his eczema would change over 2 months without the use of my 4 herb butter… funny enough this happened to coincide with what became a stressful period during his work life. As I wasn’t around much due to studying so as I was unable to see him regularly to check on the eczema that’s how this experiment happened. Whenever I saw him he was incessantly scratching which drove me NUTS! he would just be talking to me itching ! the sound was annoying and every time I saw his hand reaching to scratch his arm I would snap “STOP ITCHING” even before he got an itch in, “go put ur cream on!” at this point he just was using Shea butter. When stressed the eczema became reaaally dry and inflamed and would bleed because of his constant itching ESPECIALLY at night.
During this period I measured how much the eczema had travelled along his arm. In the beginning it was only a patch on the fold of both elbows, he scratched the left more than the right so only the left became lichenified when it was no longer inflamed it looked horrid. So I slathered the 4Herb butter over his arms and wrapped them up in bandages gave him a
potion tea yes that’s what I’m calling them now. during that week he would moisturise with the 4Herb and wrap his arms before going to sleep which calmed the itching and inflammation. The end result inflammation ceased, it was visible the skin was repairing itself and the lichenfiication started to cease… this is after a week of use….
Image on the L is without use, image on R is after a weeks use.
In the right you can see the inflammation has calmed and the skin isn’t as dry and scaly.
Asteatotic eczema mostly occurs on the shins of the elderly where the protective functions are compromised as such excess drying occurs.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is caused by infection of the skin with the yeast Malassezia furfur.
*warning you may not like the images… if true heres a Channel 4 link for you.
Stasis dermatitis seem to have a number of different contributing causes. The basic cause is always related to excess hydrostatic pressure in the venous system. The variants depend on local anatomical and physiological factors.
Thank you for lasting this long, if you haven’t seen already or want to know what is in the 4Herb butter click here (opens in new window). There will soon be a post in about to treating eczema with Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal and acupuncture and the most commonly known in acupuncture worldo the 5 phases.
As I am writing assignments && treating patients at the clinic it won’t be up this week sorry I can’t promise that. However my partners progress report will soon be available. Yaaay
Nourish your skin && L o v e yourself.