The exact terminology for the disease eczema in Ayurveda varies from text to text and author to author. However, the eczema is taken as skin disease having skin rashes. This could be considered an inflammatory condition of the skin. Eczema gives more trouble to neonates and infants children and adults also have this disease but not as frequent as the previous ones.
Ayurveda believes this condition to be quote under the ‘kushtha roga’ or ‘twak roga’. The skin is said to be the seat of mainly Pitta Dosha and rest being supporting it. This is the situation when one has itching rashes and redness all over the skin. They are less likely to be painful.
Eczema is an inflammatory reaction of the skin in which, there are formation of vesicles, minute blister appearing like a raised area. Later they become into Erythema i.e. redness along with swelling. The condition is then followed by papules and crusting of the skin. The entire situation ends with the thickening or also called as lichenification and scaling of the skin.
However, the eczema looks different from sufferer to sufferer. It is more commonly known as red, dry and extremely itchy patch over the skin. It is well known saying that the rashes that itch is nothing but eczema. This could be reverse as if one scratches the skin duet to the itch; it is surely going to be turned in rash.
Eczema can occur in any part of the body. In infants, it generally happens on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, scalp and neck. In children and adults, this may seat on face, inside the elbows, neck, ankles, knees etc. In some cases, eczema may ooze. Apart from all these, the symptoms may appear as more scaly, dry and red. Intense scratching the localized site, takes on the leathery texture. This could be due to the skin gets thickened as aforesaid.
Ayurveda considers that when the vitiated doshas spoil the skin, blood, muscles and lymph, the condition is occurred known as twak roga i.e. skin disease in general.
Neem is used as an antiseptic. It is helpful in rheumatism , hypoglycemic, as an analgesic, sedative, antiprotozoal, anthelmintic, antiviral, and in skin diseases. The tree root, stem, and bark possess astringent and antiperiodic properties.
This can be caused in many ways. The exact cause is unknown but it is believed that certain allergic reaction may cause this situation. Certain things like belts, buckles, fabrics, certain foods or beverages, clothes etc can irritate the skin and may cause the rash i.e. eczema. Reaction of several allopathic drugs may give rise to this condition. There are certain diseases like varicose veins can also bring the eczema to an individual.
The itching is first and foremost symptoms of eczema. It is considered that coarse or rough material that comes into the contact with the skin can bring the itching. In certain cases, soaps, detergents, juices from fresh fruits or meats, detergents, disinfectants, animal dander, dusts may trigger the itching. Upper respiratory infections caused by virus and stress may also shoot up the itching in an individual as reported by latest researches.
Ayurveda states that if one follows the diet and factors that increase the Pitta Dosha in the body invites the eczema. Certain diet that is stale, spicy, too oily, sour and decayed food may be also causative factors for eczema.
These are some types of eczema and in each type, there is different symptom. They are categorized as follow.
This is one of the commonest forms of eczema that can affect to all age groups. However, it is common among children and infants. This is featured by intense itching of patchy and skin which is dry. It appears like red rashes.
The eczema can be controlled with non-steroidal treatment, moisturizing and daily cleaning of the affected area. Once when the condition has turned bad, flaring a topical herbal cream helps overcoming the swelling and also brings the texture of the skin back. Like with all types of dermatitis and eczema daily usage of moisturizing helps in treating and preventing the atopic eczema.
Allergic contact dermatitis
This type of eczema looks like a rash and if often itchy. This appears very quickly as a result of the contact with specific substance. Some people react to some metals like nickel that is found in belt buckles or earrings and hence, to be avoided if you have such a sensitive skin. The reaction may occur to synthetic or rubber products such as dyes and perfumes. Emollient creams and moisturizers can help getting rid of this trouble but though it is best to avoid such irritants.
Infantile seborrhoeic eczema
This is also called as ‘cradle cap’. It is commonly seen among babies. This appears like dry flaking skin on the nappy area or on the head i.e. scalp. This can spread very quickly and generally it is not itchy. Infantile seborrhoeic eczema is cleared within few months if there is regular application of gentle cleansing moisturizers and different medicated bath oils.
This generally affects the lower legs of old aged persons. This can be due to the poor blood circulation in that area. Itchy, dry skin is around ankles or shins are hallmarks for this type of eczema. This should be taken constant care with emollients to avoid it from turning into ulcer formation.
Irritant contact dermatitis
Triggers like detergents or chemicals can be causative factor for the itching and redness of the skin. The commonest site for this is hands. Any suspected irritant is hence to be avoided or gloves can be worn while handling them. We can find this condition as common factor among the women who washes the dishes and clothes with bare hands using the irritant detergent powder or soap. The quality of the soap or detergent is therefore to be checked or tested by taking little part of it on hand.
Adult seborrhoeic eczema
As the name suggest, this affects the adults and appears as mild dandruff. This may start from the scalp of the adults and can then spread to the ears, chest or face. Generally this is treated with the antifungal herbal cream.
A typical condition that can be found in adults resembling like a small red patch on the lower legs or the trunk is known as the discoid eczema.
In Ayurveda, there are common symptoms like patches could be dry or could be wet secreting the purulent discharge of fluids. Redness and swelling with not clearly defined margin of the pustules or patches are commonly seen. There could be appearance of papules, vesicles and sometimes these may sometimes even appear like large blisters. Scaling, cracking and exudation of the skin is very commonly seen. There will be pigmentation and scratch marks at particular area where the disease has attack.
There are lots many ways to prevent this type of condition. Some of them are mentioned below.
Controlling those that produce irritation (allergens)
Allergens are main causative factor that can bring itching. One should avoid these allergens that trigger the eczema. The problem one faces is, it is quite difficult to identify the allergens. Allergens do not have perfect shape; it could be anything such as pet dander, pollen, soap, dust, rubbers, metal, perfumes etc. If one can identify this then it is better to prevent into coming contact with them. This is best and always works.
The best way to get rid is to use vacuum cleaner instead of dust-mop or broom. Mattress and pillow wraps may help you to reduce the contact with dust particles. There is another way to do that is replacing the carpet with linoleum, other flooring or wood.
Soak yourself in a steaming hot baths is one of the best ways to unwind and relax. But unfortunately this can be done of the reason of itching if you have eczema. Bathing in hot water does make your skin dehydrated. Body produces the natural oils and they are lost during this procedure. This further goes more down when one rubs towel vigorously to clean up the body.
One can take quick lukewarm shower than to long hot baths in tubs. It should be done for about 15 minutes. Chemical soaps and shampoos are to be avoided as much as possible. Pat yourself dry when the shower is finished. Don’t rub the body vigorously but it is gently to be wipe-out. Once this is done, one should apply the herbal moisturizer or gentle body cream or body lotion.
Excessive sweating and skin rashes
Excessive perspiration can also increase the eczema especially skin rashes under the breasts and near the joints. In short, it happens more where there are skin folds in the body. A person who is obese or fat is at high risk of having this. The weight loss in this way may help the eczema.
A survey states that 10-20% of early age children/kids suffer from the infant eczema. Infant eczema rashes go off and fade with age in many cases. Half of them continue with some type of eczema. Little children are likely to scratch itchy rashes and grown up child may have to face the teasing for their visible eczema patch.
Young children generally find difficult to resist the itching. The most important is making it sure, that child should never have big nails. This is because if they have it, and if the scratch the itchy portion, there are chances to spread infection. Nails carry dirt and dirt carries microorganisms. Having nails cut all the time is also best for general hygiene and so the health.
The low humidity may also cause the skin to become dry and hence to crack. This may result in the patch. One can avoid this by using herbal humidifiers in the room.
Laundry soap leaves residue on clothes. These residues aggravate the condition of eczema. One should look for the laundry soap designed for sensitive skin. Make sure that the clothes are rinsed properly before wearing those.
This can be prevented if you avoid the exposure to the extreme temperature and dry air. Certain make-up material including hard soap and chemical packs are to be avoided. Wear the clothes made up by cotton instead of synthetics like polyester.
One should be care of choosing the moisturizing cream after having a bath. Eczema is considered contagious disease so avoid the contact with a person who has this.
- Avoid irritating chemicals, plants, animal dander, jewelry etc that may trigger this disease. Proper washing and bathing is must.
- One should keep that area dry where he or she has eczema patch. Sweating and moisture may worsen the case. For this, one can go for herbal dusting powder, which can be moisture absorbent.
- Ayurveda believes that the factors aggravating Pitta Dosha should be avoided. This include sour tasted food items, stale items, fermented food items. Oily, spicy and canned food having preservatives are best to be avoided.
- Incompatible foods like radish with honey or milk, fish with milk, lemon with milk etc are dangerous as they may cause skin disease including eczema. So it is better to avoid them.
- Some people have allergy towards eggs, so for them, eggs are to be avoided.
- Leave alcohol, smoking and non-vegetarian diet for a while till you get fully corrected from the eczema.
Some foods work as triggering factors for eczema and allergic condition and hence, are to be avoided. These are listed below…
- Tree nuts
- Some of the gluten containing cereals i.e. wheat, rye, barley
- Some of the seeds like sesame seeds.
- Fish and shellfish
- Cow’s milk to some people
Ayurveda believes that Pitta aggravator factors such as various pulses, grams, curds, buttermilk etc are strictly avoided.