The term eczema describes incurable skin conditions that cause redness and dryness and are itchy. While anyone can get some form of eczema, one and perhaps all of the follicular types are thought to be inherited. Eczema is not dangerous, but it is uncomfortable. Its appearance is unattractive and can be embarrassing. Fortunately, there are some home remedies that are very helpful in easing the symptoms of follicular eczema.
Follicular Eczema Causes and Symptoms
Follicular eczema affects the hair follicles. It is most likely to appear on the back and upper arms and thighs, although it can appear anywhere on the body. Keratosis pilaris follicular eczema tends to run in families.
Stress, poor diet, menstruation, artificial heating, certain foods, illness and weather changes are commonly believed to cause bouts of follicular eczema.
Follicular eczema is characterized by the appearance of small, rough, red bumps on the skin wherever hair follicles are found, which is just about everywhere. These patches may be dry and itchy, or they can be bleeding or weepy inflammations, which easily can become infected.
Once the outbreak is brought under control and disappears, be on the lookout for recurrences in the same areas for the rest of your life.
Controlling Follicular Eczema
While you'll never cure this nasty irritant, there are some things that you can do to keep it in check. Start with habitually treating for dryness of your skin, because follicular eczema can pop up anywhere. Moisturize your skin three to four times daily, paying special attention to areas where outbreaks have occurred in the past.
Use any moisturizing product that you've used in the past that doesn't irritate broken skin. If a cream or lotion is so gentle that it doesn't cause a burning sensation to a spot of broken skin, it's probably gentle enough to use multiple times daily on follicular eczema patches. St. Ives brand lotion is one of the rare commercial preparations with this quality. Aloe vera is an excellent natural moisturizer and possesses antiseptic and healing properties, as well. It can be used on severe outbreaks where weeping or bleeding are present.
Applications of 0.5 percent hydrocortisone, a mild over-the-counter topical steroid cream, produce amazing results when applied to dry, itchy patches of follicular eczema. This preparation relieves itchiness immediately, and soon the redness will disappear, too. However, it should be used sparingly, because a tiny bit goes a very long way. Hydrocortisone can be highly effective for keeping an eczema rash at bay when applied at the first signs of itchiness. While it can be used if one or two small breaks on the skin are present, don't apply hydrocortisone to weeping or bleeding patches.
Fending Off Flare-Ups
Don't scratch. That will only make matters worse, irritating and inflaming eczema flares. Scratching can produce little breaks in the skin which allow bacteria to enter, causing elevated levels of irritation. Natural-fiber clothing such as cotton garments seem to cause less itching than synthetics.
Avoid anything that you know or suspect might trigger an outbreak. Keep your skin moisturized even if you are not experiencing an outbreak or suspect that you might be getting one.