(also called "atopic dermatitis") is a skin disease. Eczema causes dry
skin that can itch, get red and crack. Part of the skin
might break out in a rash, or the rash might be on the
adults, eczema usually develops on the insides of the
elbows, the backs of the knees, the hands and the backs
of the elbows. In young children, the rash is most often
on the face.
is most common in people whose relatives have allergic
conditions like asthma or hay fever. Up to 10 percent of
children get eczema.
The exact cause
of eczema isn't known. It may be caused or made worse by these
Soaps, laundry detergents and perfumes.
Scratchy clothes (like wool) can also irritate the skin.
Allergens like pollens, pet hair or dander
(dried bits of skin), food, feathers and dust mites. (Dust mites
are very tiny, spider-like creatures. They make their homes in
mattresses, pillows and rugs. They can only be seen under a
Low humidity. During cold weather, the heated
air inside homes and other buildings can make skin dry and
Heat, high humidity and sweating. These can
make the itching worse.
Some foods cause eczema. Emotional stress.
Feeling upset can cause the face and body to get itchy, red and
Shower in warm water instead of hot water
only once a day for less than 10 minutes. A baby or small child
may have a short bath.
Wash with a mild soap like. If you're not too
dirty or sweaty, use soap only on the genital area, the armpits,
hands and feet.
Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.
Use only NATURAL Moisturizers! These work well to treat dry skin.
Choose a moisturizer that is hypoallergenic (it should say so on
the label). The best moisturizers are also the thickest and have
a very rich emollient level such as shea butter. You may need to
use it several times a day.
Be sure to drink lots of water. Water helps
keep the skin moist.
Because laundry soaps can irritate your skin,
you might try running your clothes through two rinse cycles. You
may also want to try using a milder laundry soap.
Wear gloves when you work with cleaning
products that might irritate your skin.
Wash your sheets in hot water (and often) to
get rid of dust mites. Use dust-proof covers on pillows, box
springs and mattresses.
Wear loose clothes made of cotton and other
natural materials that "breathe." This includes underwear. Wash
new clothing before wearing it.
dropping a certain food from your diet for a while. This way you
can find out if this food makes your eczema worse. If no
difference is noticed, resume that food again and drop a
different food from your diet for a while. One to two weeks
should tell if you are allergic to that particular food. Be
sure to keep a daily journal of your skin's activity.
what causes you (or your child) to feel stressed. Then use
exercise, hobbies and meditation to control your stress