Eczema is such a common condition that it affects every one of five children during their school-going age. It is also a very common disease found in infants. Eczema in adults could be a recurring chronic condition, which the person may have to live with throughout life. Hence, it can be said that eczema is one of the most prevalent skin problems in the world today.
Eczema is dermatitis, i.e. an inflammation of the upper layers of the skin known as the epidermis. Eczema is an itchy condition, which leads to red rashes when scratched.
In modern medical science eczema is described of different types according to their causes and the symptoms.
- Atopic Eczema : commonest type of eczema. This eczema is caused due to allergic reactions. Allergic Contact Dermatitis : due to constant physical contact of allergen.
- Infantile & Adult Seborrhoetic Eczema
- Xerotic Eczema :due to constant dryness of the skin.
- Gravitational Eczema: due to circulation problems such as varicose veins.
In Ayurvedaeczema is termed as ' Vicharchika'.It is caused due to the vitiation of all the three doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. The pitta vitiated vicharchika is the most common. Vitiation of the skin occurs through imbalance between the pitta and the blood to produce eczema.
Types and Symptoms of Eczema (Vicharchika)
There are several types of eczemas. In Ayurveda , all the three doshas can lead to eczema. The symptoms of the different eczemas are:-
Vata dosha type: When the vitiation of the vata dosha produces the eczema, it is felt in the dryness of the skin. There is pain and severe itching of the affected region.
Pitta dosha type: Pitta dosha vitiation can cause oozing from the affected part. There are other symptoms shown such as burning and fever.
Kapha dosha type: When there is an imbalance of the kapha, it is more observable on the skin. The skin becomes thick and is accompanied by oozing and itching.
Prevention and Basic Care during Eczema (Vicharchika)
There are several basic guidelines to be followed when a person has eczema. The following are some of them:-
- Identify the allergic factor that is causing the eczema and remove it completely from the environment.
- If the eczema is due to an ingredient in the diet, then abstain from that particular food completely.
- Soaps and detergents must not be used on inflamed skin. Special non-fragrant soaps are available in the market made from herbal ingredients. These must be used.
- After bath, the skin must not be allowed to remain wet. It is water drying up from the skin that aggravates the eczema.
- During bathing, olive oil added to the water helps. Similarly, an oil or a ghee massage can be had about an hour after the bath.
- Baths should not be too prolonged or too frequent. Use warm water for the bath, but not hot or cold water.
- Towels used for drying the skin must not be rough. Use a soft fiber towel and only pat dry. Rubbing on the skin will aggravate the inflammation drastically.
- Woolens must be strictly avoided. The same applies to blankets.
- Avoid sweating as much as you can.
- Be wary of using objects on the skin such as spectacles, artificial jewelry, footwear, furs and synthetic fibers. Identify and isolate the allergenic materials.
- People with eczema problems must not visit places where there is cold and dry climate.
- Stress is also related with eczema flare-ups. Extreme emotions like anger and shock must be avoided.