By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published April 3, 2014, Last updated October 21, 2016
What is Eczema or atopic dermatitis
Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease which is caused due to the inflammation of the skin. Eczema actually covers a wide presentation of skin symptoms. If we see the dictionary meaning of the word eczema, it is derived from the Greek language. In Greek, ‘ek’ means ‘out’ and ‘zein’ means ‘to boil’. This means that the skin seems to be boiling out. In medical terminology, this condition is known as ‘dermatitis’. ‘Derm’ refers to the skin and ‘itis’ refers to inflammation. It occurs as a reaction to a variety of stimuli and can have quite different presentations.
Symptoms of eczema or atopic dermatitis
Eczema symptoms can vary from person to person as all symptoms are not found in each and every patient. Having said that, the common symptoms that are seen in cases of eczema are redness of the skin, itching and dryness of the skin. In some cases, there is slight oozing of the skin or there is a discharge which is often known as ‘weeping eczema’, while in some cases the skin remains dry. The skin becomes thick and a scab like appearance may be seen. A common misperception about eczema is that it is contagious or that it can spread from one patient to another through contact. It needs to be mentioned here that eczema is not contagious which means it cannot spread from one infected person to another.
Types of Eczema or atopic dermatitis
Eczema, as mentioned earlier encompasses a variety of disease namely atopic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis is seen in patients who have a family history of allergy. The allergy may be in the form of asthma, hay fever or dermatitis. In this form of dermatitis, the skin symptoms come secondary to the itching. Therefore, the atopic dermatitis is known as the ‘itch that rashes’ whereas it is the opposite in most skin diseases. There may be a discharge from the skin. The discharge collects and may form a crust like area. Face, neck, elbows, armpits are usually involved and mostly children are subject to this type of eczema.
There is another variety known as allergic contact dermatitis. It is caused by chemicals or some other things that may tend to irritate the surface of the skin. Soaps, detergents and cosmetics are the usual culprits. In most of the cases, this occurs on areas of skin that are most exposed to such allergens. Housewives and workers in industries are the ones who are most affected. The symptoms are usually redness, dryness and thickness of the affected area of the skin.
There is another variant of eczema that presents as oily, greasy scales over red patches. This is known as seborrheic dermatitis. It usually affects the scalp, eyebrows, eyelids, armpits, ears and the chest. Burning and itching are usually present along with the above mentioned oily, greasy scales.
Preventing Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis
It may not be completely possible to prevent this problem but for those who are known to be allergic to some particular things, it is important that they avoid contact to such stuff. Often people are allergic to detergents and soaps. In such cases, hands can be protected by wearing gloves. Some people are allergic to cosmetics or to jewellery and they should either change over to things which don’t trigger a reaction or completely avoid contact with such things. Using coconut oil or vaseline liberally can keep the skin moist and helps preventing the dermatitis.
Does Homeopathy work for Eczema or atopic dermatitis
A question often asked by patients is whether Homeopathy works for eczema or not. The straight, clear and an emphatic answer is that yes, homeopathy works for eczema. In fact, it works wonders for eczema and is able to cure it completely. One just has to be a little patient while taking homeopathy for eczema. The reason for this is that homeopathy deals with eczema as a manifestation of some deep seated disease. It intends to cure the deep rooted cause of eczema. It does not intend to suppress the eruptions with a superficial cream or any local application. Naturally, it is going to take some time for the problem to get cured.
Advantage of Homeopathic treatment of eczema or atopic dermatitis over allopathic, complementary, herbal or natural remedies for eczema
When it comes to comparing various possible treatments for eczema or dermatitis, be it allopathic or complementary or herbal or natural, one needs to weigh all pros and cons. Some medicines like the allopathic medicines tend to give immediate but short lived relief as in most cases they are steroidal in nature. Such Allopathic medicines and creams have to be applied lifelong to get relief from the intense itching and the skin condition. Even then, in most cases these allopathic medicines are not able to cure the condition. In some cases, they even fail to relieve the condition. While taking these allopathic medicines, one has to take into account that they can have a lot of side effects as they are steroid based. In most cases, prolonged use of such creams and medicines cause adverse effects.
When it comes to so called natural or herbal remedies, one is never sure which medicine will work and which will not as there are so many natural and herbal remedies being touted as wonder cures for eczema. None of these have any significant evidence backing the claims. Most of them are based on hearsay. Often, they cause side effects and one ends up being in a worse position as compared to the time when one started the treatment. Also, one needs to mention here that such herbal or natural cures for eczema tend to burn a hole in your pocket as they are pretty expensive.
Homeopathic remedies for eczema have a distinct advantage when it comes to the treatment of eczema. The advantage lies in the fact that these medicines are able to cure eczema completely which is not the case with other systems of medicines. Also, these medicines have no side effects at all, which means one can take the treatment with a complete peace of mind. Although it take some time for the homeopathic medicines to cure the problem, but once cured the problem does not recur and one can lead a disease free and medicine free life.
Homeopathy for eczema or atopic dermatitis
There is no one single homeopathic medicine for eczema which can cure all cases. One has to go into the minute details of the disease, the case and the patient to decide the right medicine for each individual patient. A homeopathic medicine selected after such careful study of the patient is able to completely cure the patient in some time. As mentioned earlier also, Homeopathy has no side effects which is the biggest advantage of this system of medicine. Generally speaking, Homeopathic remedies like Sulphur, Graphites, Merc Sol, Mezereum, Psorinum, Arsenic and Hepar Sulph have shown very good results consistently. The exact selection of the medicine varies from patient to patient depending on the symptoms of each individual patient.