Eczema is a form of dermatitis, and is a common skin condition that affects adults and children. Eczema is a systemic disorder, and can be associated with allergies and an overly sensitive immune system reacting to substances that come in contact with the skin. Eczema commonly occurs on the backside of knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, neck, and face. Symptoms of eczema include swelling, redness, itching, blistering, pustules, dryness, peeling, clear fluid, or allergic like reactions in a specific area.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema is triggered by the immune systems over reaction to certain substances that come in contact with the skin. The immune cells then release inflammatory cytokines to the contact area, causing inflammation and redness. Other allergic reactions may also occur such as hay-fever or sinusitis.
Factors to Consider
Certain foods, wool, skin dehydration, cold climates, and stress may trigger eczema symptoms. Contact with substances or chemicals contained in soaps, detergents, or cosmetics may also contribute to eczema symptoms.
Strengthen the Immune System
When treating autoimmune and systemic skin conditions, the immune system should be addressed. Strengthening immune function and avoiding stress, may help control inflammation and alleviate the symptoms associated with eczema.
The use of probiotics may be effective in treating eczema skin conditions. Probiotics can be used both topically and orally, have natural soothing benefits, will help balance the natural microflora, and will help strengthen the immune system.
Antioxidants, Vitamin D3
Antioxidants are important in strengthening the immune system, and will help prevent free radical formation in the body. Vitamins such as D3 strengthen the immune system, and a deficiency may have an influence in the development and progression of various autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D3 acts as an immune system modulator, preventing expression of inflammatory cytokines and increasing the efficacy of macrophages.
Niacinamide, Vitamin B3
Topical niacinamide is effective to strengthen the skin barrier, and is effective to treat inflammation. Niacinamide also boosts the immune system, improves skin integrity, and strengthens the skin barrier and epidermal function.
A rapid rise in blood sugar can cause inflammation in the body. Vitamin B6 plays a role in metabolizing proteins, sugars, and fatty acids, and can help control inflammation associated with increased blood sugar levels. In clinical studies, it was found that a deficiency of Vitamin B6 can contribute to inflamed skin conditions. Vitamin B6 will help control inflammation and maintain a healthy immune system.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Vitamin B5 is anti-inflammatory, retains moisture in the skin, and helps reduce stress. When treating eczema, pantothenic acid may be effective in reducing symptoms triggered by stress.
Selenium is an essential trace nutrient necessary for the normal function of the immune system. Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are essential for proper keratinocyte function and skin development. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps boost the immune system.
Treatment Options for Eczema
Emollients, Anti-fungal Creams, Steroids
The treatment for eczema varies depending on the type. Some treatments include the use of emollients, steroids, anti-fungal creams, and moisturizers. It is best to avoid harsh soaps and detergents on the skin, and any allergic irritants.
Topical application of natural anti-inflammatory botanical extracts in a moisturizing cream base, showed dramatic improvement in patients with eczema. After a six week study, six of the seven treated eczema patients demonstrated complete remission, while one patient showed an improvement of 75%.
Ceramides are a main component of the epidermis, and are bioactive lipids found in high concentrations within the cell membrane. Ceramides are involved in cellular signaling, and regulate differentiation, proliferation, and programmed cell death. Topical ceramides protect skin cells from excessive water loss due to evaporation, and encourage a healthy skin barrier.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids such as capric acid, caprylic acid, and lauric acid, and is high in Vitamin E, which is known for its skin healing properties. Coconut oil contains triglycerides which help prevent moisture loss, and retain moisture in the skin. With a relatively small molecule, coconut oil can penetrate into the skin, allowing optimal benefits. Synergistically, coconut oil can benefit the skin from the inside, as well as topical application.
The Excimer laser uses high doses of UVB light, specially designed to produce ultraviolet radiation at a very specific wavelength of 308nm. This wavelength of ultraviolet light is highly effective at treating eczematous patches. The Excimer laser gives the benefits of narrow band UVB for small treatment areas. Laser therapy demonstrated extremely effective results after a series of treatments, compared to conventional phototherapy.
Polyhydroxy acids are effective in cell keratinization and in normalizing the stratum corneum. Because of their molecular makeup, they can be used on sensitive skin types and are beneficial in treating psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis, seborrhea hyperkeratosis, ichthyosis, and rosacea.
Lactobionic acid is a polyhydroxy acid and is a hydroscopic humectant, an antioxidant, an exfoliant, and has soothing and healing benefits. Gluconic acid is a component of lactobionic acid, and may assist in the tissue repair process. Galactose is a sugar contained in lactobionic acid, and is used in glycosaminoglycans synthesis, cell migration, and is beneficial in wound healing and protein synthesis.
The polyhydroxy acid, gluconolactone acid, is a cell nutrient and a natural component of the skin. Gluconolactone acid also increases barrier function, has moisturizing and antioxidant benefits, and can be used as an exfoliant.
With eczema, strengthening the immune system should be considered. Strengthening the immune system and avoiding stress, may help control inflammation and alleviate the symptoms associated with eczemous conditions.
The Excimer laser uses high doses of UVB light, specially designed to produce ultraviolet radiation at a very specific wavelength of 308nm, which is highly effective at treating eczematous patches. In clinical studies, laser therapy using the excimer laser demonstrated extremely effective results after a series of treatments, compared to conventional phototherapy.
Linda Gulla is a Master Esthetician who is an adjunt instructor in cosmetic dermatology and anti-aging medicine. Her first book is now available on www.internationalaestheticconsultants.com and is greared to the licensed professional who wishes to practice in the medical field. This written resource can serve for career advancement in esthetics, or as a comprehensive study to physicians who wish to incorporate cosmetic medicine into private practice.
Coming in May, 2014
Her course study will be available online to licensed professionals with certification in medical aesthetics. You may contact her through her web site for further information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.