E-Newsletter July 2008
Eczema & its Homoeopathic Approach
Dr. Pawan S. Chandak
Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the upper layers of the skin.
The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes which are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding.
Areas of temporary skin discoloration may appear and are sometimes due to healed lesions, although scarring is rare.
The term eczema refers to a set of clinical characteristics. Classification of the underlying diseases has been haphazard and unsystematic, with many synonyms used to describe the same condition. A type of eczema may be described by location (e.g. hand eczema), by specific appearance (eczema craquele or discoid), or by possible cause (varicose eczema).
Types of common eczemas
Atopic eczema (aka infantile e., flexural e., atopic dermatitis) is believed to have a hereditary component, and often runs in families whose members also have hay fever and asthma. Itchy rash is particularly noticeable on face and scalp, neck, inside of elbows, behind knees, and buttocks.
Contact dermatitis is of two types:
allergic (resulting from a delayed reaction to some allergen, such as poison ivy or nickel), and
irritant (resulting from direct reaction to a solvent, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, for example).
Some substances act both as allergen and irritant (wet cement, for example).
About three quarters of cases of contact eczema are of the irritant type, which is the most common occupational skin disease.
Xerotic eczema is dry skin that becomes so serious it turns into eczema. It worsens in dry winter weather, and limbs and trunk are most often affected. The itchy, tender skin resembles a dry, cracked, river bed. This disorder is very common among the older population. Ichthyosis is a related disorder.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis causes dry or greasy scaling of the scalp and eyebrows. Scaly pimples and red patches sometimes appear in various adjacent places. In newborns it causes a thick, yellow crusty scalp rash called cradle cap which seems related to lack of biotin, and is often curable.
 Less common eczemas
Dyshidrosis only occurs on palms, soles, and sides of fingers and toes. Tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, thickening, and cracks are accompanied by itching which gets worse at night. A common type of hand eczema, it worsens in warm weather.
Discoid eczema is characterized by round spots of oozing or dry rash, with clear boundaries, often on lower legs. It is usually worse in winter. Cause is unknown, and the condition tends to come and go.
Venous eczema occurs in people with impaired circulation, varicose veins and edema, and is particularly common in the ankle area of people over 50. There is redness, scaling, darkening of the skin and itching. The disorder predisposes to leg ulcers.
Dermatitis herpetiformis (aka Duhring’s Disease) causes intensely itchy and typically symmetrical rash on arms, thighs, knees, and back. It is directly related to celiac disease and can often be put into remission with appropriate diet.
Neurodermatitis is an itchy area of thickened, pigmented eczema patch that results from habitual rubbing and scratching. Usually there is only one spot. Often curable through behavior modification and anti-inflammatory medication. Prurigo nodularis is a related disorder showing multiple lumps.
Autoeczematization is an eczematous reaction to an infection with parasites, fungi, bacteria or viruses. It is completely curable with the clearance of the original infection that caused it. The appearance varies depending on the cause. It always occurs some distance away from the original infection.
There are also eczemas overlaid by viral infections (e. herpeticum, e. vaccinatum), and eczemas resulting from underlying disease (e.g. lymphoma). Eczemas originating from ingestion of medications, foods, and chemicals, have not yet been clearly systematized. Other rare eczematous disorders exist in addition to those listed here.
A patch of eczema that has been scratched
Eczema diagnosis is generally based on the appearance of inflamed, itchy skin in eczema sensitive areas such as face, chest and other skin crease areas.
Given the many possible reasons for eczema flare-ups, a doctor is likely to ascertain a number of other things before making a judgment:
An insight to family history
Any prescribed drug intake
Any chemical or material exposure at home or workplace
To determine whether an eczema flare is the result of an allergen, a doctor may test the blood for the levels of antibodies and the numbers of certain types of cells. In eczema, the blood may show a raised IgE or an eosinophilia.
The blood can also be sent for a specific test called Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST) or a Paper Radioimmunosorbent Test (PRIST).
Another test for eczema is skin patch testing.
Occasionally, the diagnosis may also involve a skin biopsy which is a procedure that removes a small piece of the affected skin that is sent for microscopic examination in a pathology laboratory.
Blood tests and biopsies are not always necessary for eczema diagnosis.
Avoiding dry skin
Eczema can be exacerbated by dryness of the skin. Moisturizing is one of the most important self-care treatments for sufferers of eczema. Keeping the affected area moistened can promote skin healing and relief of symptoms.
While it has been suggested that eczema may sometimes be an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites, with up to 5% of people showing antibodies to the mites, the overall role this plays awaits further corroboration.
Various measures may reduce the amount of mite antigens, in particular swapping carpets for hard surfaces.
Diet and nutrition
Dietary elements that have been reported to trigger eczema include dairy products and coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated), soybean products, eggs, nuts, wheat and maize (sweet corn), though food allergies may vary from person to person.
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema - alternating with
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema - dishydrotic
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema - itching; not
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema - menses agg.
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - eczema - seaside; at the
SKIN - ERUPTIONS - vesicular - sudamina
HEAD - ERUPTIONS - eczema
EAR - DISCHARGES - purulent - eczema; with
EAR - ERUPTIONS - eczema
EAR - ERUPTIONS - Behind the ears - eczema
EAR - ERUPTIONS - Meatus, in - eczema
HEARING - IMPAIRED - eczema; after a suppressed
FACE - ERUPTIONS - eczema
ABDOMEN - ERUPTIONS - eczema round navel
RECTUM - ERUPTIONS - about anus - eczema
MALE GENITALIA/SEX - ERUPTIONS - eczema
MALE GENITALIA/SEX - ERUPTIONS - Scrotum - eczema
FEMALE GENITALIA/SEX - ERUPTIONS - eczema
CHEST - ERUPTIONS - eczema
CHEST - ERUPTIONS - Axilla - eczema
CHEST - ERUPTIONS - Mammae - eczema
CHEST - ERUPTIONS - Mammae - nipples - eczema
BACK - ERUPTIONS - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Joints - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Joints - bends of - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Upper limbs - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Shoulder - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Elbow - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Elbow - bend of - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Forearm - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Wrist - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Hand - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Hand - back of - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Fingers - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Lower limbs - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Thigh - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Knee - eczema rubrum
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Knee - hollow of - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Leg - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Leg - calf - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Ankle - eczema
EXTREMITIES - ERUPTIONS - Foot - back of - eczema
EXTREMITIES - PAIN - burning - Hand - eczema, in
EXTREMITIES - SWELLING - Hand - eczema, with
Arsenic Album: All forms accompanied by intense burning of the skin; foetid or purulent discharge or dry, scaly eruption; falling out of the hair in patches and there, leaving the skin dry and dirty looking; dry, parchment like skin; thirsty, drinking little and often; aggravated after midnight, from cold, in open air and from scratching with bleeding afterward, ameliorated from heat.
Antim Crud: It acts upon skin producing thick, horny callosities in this tissue. It is often indicated in eczematous eruptions, eruptions consisting of crusts which are of horny yellow color. Skin cracks readily. Indicated medicine for Eczema about the nostrils and corners of the mouth.
Borax: Indicated medicine for Eczema in which skin is unhealthy, every little cut or scratch suppurates easily. There is itching of the skin particularly on the back of the fingers. It is indicated for Eczema of the Fingers.
Calcarea Carb: Calcarea Carb is useful medicine for Eczema of the scalp with a tendency to spread downwards and over the face. It appears in patches on the face or scalp forming thick crust which are often white like chalk deposit. Child scratches his head on awaking from sleep. The change from sleep to activity seems to excite the itching of the existing eruption.
Graphites: It produces a scaly, dirty looking eruption with itching < from warmth of bed. It has a more rough skin and oozing a glutinous fluid. Graphites particularly indicated for intertrigo behind ear.
Hepar Sulph: It is useful medicine for eczematous eruption which have a purulent discharge, the eruption is worse in the morning accompanied by itching. Ulcers bleed easily, are extremely sensitive and emit an odour like old cheese.
Every little injury suppurates. Moist eruption in the folds of the skin. There is itching in the bends of the joints.
Hydrocotyle: It has eczema with thick and scaly eruption but less burning than Arsenic.
Kali brom: It is useful for eczema which evidently arises from the action of Kali bromatum on the sebaceous or sudoriferous glands, causing an abscess in each of these and developing a scaly eruption.
Kreosote: It is useful for Eczema in which scales pile up into large masses, eruption on the extensor surfaces of the limbs.
Mezereum: It is useful for Eczema in scrophulous cases when hard, thick, chalky crusts form which cracks and ooze copious of pus. Itching in more intense at night when the patches warmly wrapped up.
Natrum carb: It has particularly affinity for Eczema of dorsa of the hands. The skin there becomes rough, dry and chapped. It is indicated for eruption with little ulcer around the joints of the hands. Herpetic eruption with yellow rings.
Natrum Mur: It is indicated for Eczematous eruption which appears in thick scabs, oozing pus and matting the hair together i.e. crusta lactea. It produces scaly eruption on flexor surfaces, bends of joints. Dandruff alternates with it.
Petroleum: It is a medicine suited for a perfect picture of eczema forming thick scabs and oozing pus. The skin soon grows more harsh and dry and there form deep cracks and fissures which bleed and suppurate.
Psorinum: It is useful for Eczema in which scaly, dirty looking eruption with itching worse from the warmth of the bed.
Ranunculus Bulb: It is useful for eczema attended with thickening of the skin and the formation of hard, horny scabs.
Rhus Tox: It is indicated in eczema. If face is attacked it causes oedema of the loose cellular tissue about the eyelids, with pain which we may denominate burning, itching and tingling. The eruption is moist, offensive and suppurating, impetigious. A red like marks the spread of the disease.
Sulphur: It is suited to persons who are subject to skin affections, particularly to those who have harsh, rough skin, readily break out with eruptions of various description varying from a simple erythema to a positive eczema. There is peculiar disagreeable odor from the body. < night. It has itching in the bends of the joints and between the fingers as soon as the patient gets warm in bed. As the disease progresses you may find occasional pustules appearing here and there over the eruption.
Article Presented by
Dr. Pawan S. Chandak
‘Shradha’ Vishnu nagar,
Basmat Road, Parbhani 431401