Skin problems prove to be a great setback to your self-confidence. In addition to the physical disturbances, anything abnormal on the skin creates social trauma too. Therefore, it is necessary to address these issues as early as possible. If you do not “love the skin you're in”then you must do something about it.
Luckily there are plenty of natural herbs that can make your skin disease go away, for example, aloe vera for eczema is an excellent non-pharmacological treatment modality. But what exactly is eczema?
What Is Eczema?
The condition of red, itchy, and inflamed patches on the skin is termed atopic dermatitis or commonly eczema.Research suggests that eczema is increasing in children aged 6-7.
The disease is common in toddlers and babies but is also found in adults. The red patches can take different forms which are discussed below:
Types Of Eczema
Contact dermatitis is also known as allergic contact dermatitis. The condition arises after your skin is exposed to natural irritants, allergens, etc. In response to this exposure, your body undergoes a cell-mediated hypersensitivity reaction, the result of which is a localized immune response. The inflammation has the typical presentation of:
- Rubor (redness)
- Calor (heat)
- Dolor (pain)
- Tumor (swelling)
In addition to these symptoms, there is pruritus too. This type usually goes away after the removal of irritants.
This type of dermatitis is found on the hands (palms), feet (soles), and even fingers. Dyshidrotic eczema is characterized by pruritus and deep-seated vesicles that mostly occur on the lateral surface of fingers and palms of the hands. Scaly patches are often seen that can become cracked and very painful. The cause of dyshidrotic dermatitis is idiopathic.
The Nummular type affects children during the cold weather (winters). There is a formation of dry, round patches of skin. These patches are more prevalent in men and the main site is the legs.
Signs And Symptoms
The dry, rough red patches can come, go, and return. The itchy, irritated red skin presents in the form of the following symptoms:
- Raised reddish bumps/patches
- Excessive itching
- Fluid-filled vesicles may convert into crusty patches
- Scaly skin
- Scratching that further irritates the skin
Causes And Risk Factors Of Eczema
There are no known definitive causes for the hypersensitivity reaction of the skin. The underlying cause of eczema might be unknown but there are certain known triggers including:
- Food allergies
- Respiratory tract infections
- Use of synthetic fibers
Children suffering from asthma and hay fever are more likely to acquire eczema. A study found out that there is a link between eczema and asthma. Therefore, parents must take special care of asthmatic children.
Eczema Treatment: Herbs To The Rescue
Pharmacological interventions have a number of side effects. Therefore, a vast majority of eczema patients are now refuting to natural remedies. This is because herbs such as aloe vera are potent and have minimal side effects.
Ayurvedic medicine takes benefit of the healing quality of products from mother nature.
Ayurvedic Eczema Treatment
According to Ayurvedic medicine beliefs, the origin of eczema does not lie inside the skin, rather it is a disease linked to abnormalities in the digestive system. Traditional Chinese medicine also believes that eczema is the manifestation of blood or digestive system disorder.
It is believed that blood heat (from the liver) or damp congestion (in the digestive system) can irritate the gut and trigger eczema. Therefore, to cure eczema herbs like aloe vera are utilized.
Aloe Vera: The Ideal Herb For Eczema
The green herb has numerous health benefits. Aloe vera is known to be good for improving oral health. Studies have supported the use of aloe vera toothpaste for improving oral hygiene and health. In addition to this, this multi-beneficial herb can play an important role in treating chronic anal fissures, skin.
However, the greatest benefit of aloe vera is utilized efficiently by the ladies and that is skin health.
Aloe Vera And Skin Health
Aloe vera extracts are extremely beneficial for your skin. The radical scavenging properties of this herb are utilized by skincare creams. According to a study, aloe vera has strong antioxidant properties that help fight against free radicals. This allows for better rejuvenation of the skin.
Aloe Vera And Eczema
The green herb has multidimensional therapeutic impacts. It is capable of soothing inflamed skin, reducing patches of eczema, and psoriasis.
As eczema is characterized by dry patches that are itchy and painful, one way to manage eczema is to reduce the dryness of the skin. Research suggests that aloe vera is one of the best natural skin hydration items. It can be safely used in people with dry skin and thereby, can prevent the occurrence of eczema.
As per a review, herbal medicines are very commonly used in Asian households for the management of skin problems. Aloe vera is considered a heavyweight in the fight against eczema, especially in areas where dermatological issues are common.
Aloe vera is counted as an effective topical application cream in the management of atopic dermatitis. Studies have praised the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of the herb.
How Aloe Vera Works For Eczema?
In a study on herbs effective for skin health, it was found that aloe vera extracts are rich in aloesin, aloe-emodin, aloeride, flavonoids, saponins, and amino acids, etc. These ingredients are very effective in managing eczema symptoms.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory impact, aloe vera extracts are quick to modify immune responses responsible for the development of red, itchy patches. In a study, it was seen that aloe vera gel (when applied for 6 weeks) significantly reduced interleukin levels (IL-5 and IL-10), thus, improving symptoms of eczema.
Another study carried out on rats revealed that aloe vera supplement is a safe treatment modality for eczema. An evident reduction in inflammatory cells and improvements in condition were seen. Aloe vera and Aloe ferox have similar results and can be used as an alternative to antihistamines and corticosteroids in the treatment of chronic atopic dermatitis (eczema).
The aloe vera gel, when applied directly to eczematous skin, imparts a moisturizing effect. This moisturization leads to softening of the skin. The ultimate result of skin-softening is rapid healing of the eczema wounds. A study found out that application of aloe vera gel (AV gel) to contact dermatitis skin leads to the following changes:
- Improved skin integrity
- Reduction in erythema (redness) and swelling
- Decreased wrinkling of the skin
Therefore, aloe vera gel can be recommended for the management of contact dermatitis type eczema.
Inflammation is a major finding of the eczema skin. It is the immune and inflammatory response of the body that makes eczema unbearable. According to a detailed study, aloe vera is a robust anti-inflammatory too. The C-glucosyl chromone in it is capable of inhibiting inflammatory markers (prostaglandin E2), thus, alleviating symptoms of eczema.
Another study found that inflammatory papules and pustules significantly reduce after application of aloe vera gel/cream.
Inhibits The Hyper Immune Response
As already explained, eczema is the result of a hypersensitivity response from the body. Aloe vera supplementation can successfully inhibit the antibody-mediated response of the body, a study suggests.
Helps In Wound Healing
How to get rid of the acne scars? If this is the question circling in your mind, then hurry up and get yourself an aloe vera gel because the herb also possesses excellent wound healing traits. A 2013 study found aloe vera to have promising results in wound healing. Therefore, complete wound healing means no scar formation.
Another study promotes the use of aloe vera for skin wounds (such as those in eczema) due to the accelerated healing achieved with it. The amino acids, hyaluronic acid, and other components of aloe vera extract rejuvenate and rehydrate the skin, thereby, removing scarred skin. Thus, aloe vera can also help in clearing eczema scars.
Dyshidrotic eczema is managed by topical application of corticosteroids. Aloe vera extracts are rich in steroids. This explains why AV gel is potent in subsiding patches and vesicles of eczema. The steroid content helps patches heal quickly and without scar formation.
Reduces Risk Of Infection
Having your eczema infected would be the least desired. Aloe vera has a strong game against bacterial and fungal infection too. Infection of the eczema vesicles/pustules further aggravates the condition leading to more exacerbated symptoms.
According to studies aloe vera has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. Another study states that the multi-potent herb is effective against a vast variety of bacteria and fungi. Therefore, it proves to be a hard wall against infection of eczema patches.
Aloe Vera And Acne
Acne vulgaris or more commonly known as acne is a great blow to the beauty of youth. Just like eczema acne is also a skin condition characterized by vesicles or pustules on the skin that look pretty ugly. Thankfully, the magic of aloe vera is not limited to eczema only.
A 2013 study suggests that aloe vera is potent in treating mild to moderate acne vulgaris. As per a study, aloe vera usage is efficacious in the management of seborrheic dermatitis too. This herb can judiciously be used to cure diaper dermatitis in infants, a study suggests.
Other Herbs Effective For Eczema
Traditional Chinese medicine herbs have shown promising results in the management of atopic dermatitis. In a controlledtrial children with chronic eczema were given traditional Chinese herbs. At the end of the study (after 1 year) it was concluded that Chinese medicinal herbs are effective and prove to be a therapeutic option for children with extensive atopic eczema.
Curcuma longa (turmeric) is widely known for numerous health benefits. In Indian households, turmeric has the status of a miraculous herb that can cure nearly everything. The range of action turmeric is wide. From healing wounds to detoxifying the body, and imparting anti-microbial properties, turmeric is considered an ultimate gift from mother nature.
The commonly used herb is considered good for the skin too. There is strong evidence that turmeric is exceptional in curing different skin maladies including eczema (atopic dermatitis), pruritus, psoriasis, lichen planus, etc. Therefore, turmeric supplements can be a great addition to your skin health.
Silybum marianum (Milk thistle) is another herb that can flush out the itchiness from your body. Aloe vera for eczema is a great idea but milk thistle can also prove to be a good one. According to a study, milk thistle is replete in a compound called silymarin. This compound can be effective in the herbal treatment of eczema.
The beautiful green plant is a natural gift for those suffering from eczema. According to Indian research, Samambaia and other Polypodium species are potent in treating skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Therefore, this herb can also be used in eczema cases.
Home Remedies To Ease Eczema
The persistent itching and pain are troublesome for infants. In addition to the herbal supplementations, you can also try these simple steps to alleviate symptoms:
- Avoid too warm dressing as sweating can aggravate eczema
- Apply moisturizers to the skin
- Try some colloidal oatmeal or apple cider vinegar bath (after asking your doctor)
- Use mittens to prevent repeated scratching
- Do not cover baby’s face (with scarf) and ensure proper ventilation to facial skin
- Avoid frequent bathing
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a skin malady of children. The disease manifests itself as raised, red, itchy patches on the skin arms, hands, legs, and feet. There are three different types of atopic dermatitis namely contact, dyshidrotic, and nummular dermatitis.
You can also see vesicles or pustule formation that convert into dry incrustations behon the skin.
The exact cause is unknown but dry skin is more likely to develop eczema which is the result of a hypersensitivity reaction.
Aloe vera works miraculously in alleviating eczema symptoms and removing eczema scars. The herb modulates immune function, reduces inflammation, and prevents infection. All of these steps speed up the healing process, making aloe vera for eczema an efficient treatment modality.