Eczema: causes, symptoms and treatment

Eczema: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Eczema is a fairly common skin disease. It can be an allergic contact eczema or atopic eczema, often hereditary.

Eczema definition

Eczema is a fairly common skin disease . It is characterized by red skin dotted with vesicles. The latter ooze, turn into crusts and gradually disappear, sometimes leaving scars.

The disease can start at any age. And when it occurs in children, the disorder usually disappears after the age of 4 years.

This condition often becomes chronic and manifests itself in relapses interspersed with periods of remission.

The different types of eczema

There are different forms of eczema:

  • contact , irritative or allergic eczema . It appears after direct contact with certain plants, medicines, etc.
  • atopic eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), most often occurring on allergic terrain. It is frequently hereditary.

Eczema can be associated with other pathologies such as allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, or asthma.

If the disease is relatively mild, it can however be responsible for the isolation of the affected person due to the often major social and professional repercussions.

Eczema causes

 The eczema can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • an intolerance to food, cosmetics …
  • annoyances, stress;
  • contact with certain clothing or chemical substances;
  • external changes in temperature and humidity (cold air in winter, too long baths or showers) …

Eczema symptoms

The eczema whether atopic eczema or allergic contact dermatitis, may appear on the face, folds (elbows and knees), hands, arms, scalp, or body areas larger (abdomen, legs …).

The main symptoms are:

  • red patches causing severe itching and causing people to scratch frequently (sometimes even to the blood);
  • thickening and drying of the skin;
  • or on the contrary oozing skin;
  • the appearance of scales;
  • lesions due to scratching (scratches, ulcers, etc.);
  • a secondary infection caused by the lesions, depending on the extent of the damage and its intensity…

In the case of contact eczema, the red plaques are located at the point of contact with the product to which one is allergic (perfume, cosmetics, etc.).

Appropriate medical care is necessary.

Eczema prevention council

In order to prevent the appearance of eczema , it is useful to:

  • daily moisturize the skin using an oily and moisturizing cream;
  • use a surgras soap for the toilet;
  • avoid baths that are too hot, too frequent and too long;
  • avoid favorable factors (stress, chemicals, certain foods, etc.).
To avoid scratching lesions when you have eczema
  • Apply several times a day an emollient (very oily cream).
  • Expose the itchy areas to cold (because contact with the cold anesthetizes the itch). For example: blow on the areas and apply cold and smooth pebbles, or use fresh products (to cover with a towel before putting them in contact with the skin) such as flexible refrigerant sachets or frozen products.
  • Rather than scratching with nails, rub the itchy area with the palm of your hand, or pat it, squeeze it…
  • Cut the nails flush.
  • Take care of your hands with manual work, anti-stress ball, stones or marbles, in order to divert your urge to scratch towards another activity.
  • Breathe with your stomach and listen to soft music.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as yoga and sophrology.
Against the discomfort of nocturnal itching
  • Apply a fatty cream before bedtime, and repeat the operation overnight, if necessary.
  • Do not cover yourself too much at night and make sure that there are no residues of detergent or pollen in the sheets.
  • Ventilate the room and maintain a temperature at 18 ° C maximum.

Eczema exams

A medical consultation is necessary in order to diagnose eczema , to observe its extent and severity and to set up an adapted treatment.

In the case of allergic contact eczema, skin tests are carried out to identify the responsible product (allergen).

Eczema treatment

take a bath in luke warm water and use a mild soap

The Eczema treatment can be based on:

  • the taking antihistamines to reduce itching ;
  • application of corticosteroid creams;
  • daily hydration of the skin and the application of fatty creams or moisturizing lotions to anticipate and calm itching;
  • taking other more aggressive drugs (tacrolimus, phototherapy, etc.);
  • taking antibiotics during secondary infection;
  • psychological care, sometimes …

Homeopathy, herbal medicine, aromatherapy and naturopathy can be effective in addition to appropriate treatment.


Pending medical consultation or in addition to appropriate management and if eczema causes itching , it is possible to take 3 granules 3 times a day from one of the following remedies:

  • Apis mellifica 9 CH;
  • Rhus toxicodendron 9 CH, in case of vesicles;
  • Mezereum 9 CH, in case of crusts;
  • 9 CH graphites, during seepage;
  • Anagallis 9 CH, when eczema is localized in the palms of the hands.

Rich in essential fatty acids, borage oil is sometimes used as a complementary treatment for eczema and atopy. Presented in a bottle, it is applied directly to the skin. It also exists in the form of capsules to be taken orally, at a rate of two (or 1 g) per day.

In case of dry or cracked eczema : drink one to two teaspoonfuls per day of a mixture of half wild pansy, half black radish of extract of fresh Phyto Prevent® plants. Make a cure of three months.


During eczema , it is possible to take, in addition to a suitable treatment:

  • orally: 4 drops of chamomile, once a day, for 15 days;
  • in baths and massages: 20 drops of juniper in the bathtub, diluted in a bath oil, stay 10 minutes, do not rinse, or 10 drops of chamomile or patchouli in 1 tablespoon of almond oil gentle to massage.

Please note: essential oils are not suitable for everyone! People with chronic illnesses, children and the elderly should seek medical advice before using essential oils.


Naturopathy can be useful to relieve the symptoms of eczema:

  • avoid too hot showers because the heat worsens the allergenic effects of the products and alters the skin barrier;
  • misting thermal waters (Avène, La Roche-Posay …) during the day for immediate relief;
  • apply compresses soaked in thermal water in the evening on the areas concerned.