Eczema is an extremely common skin condition that causes dry skin, irritation, itching, and inflammation.
Eczema, very simply put, is an inflammation of the skin. Inflammation is a healthy and natural response by the immune system when exposed to injury or infection. It occurs when the body is working hard to expel a foreign substance or pathogen. It offers a certain level of protection throughout the healing process.
However, sometimes the immune system overreacts and creates inflammation when it is not necessary. This inflammation can happen in any part of the body, but eczema is a possible result when it affects the skin.
There are many different varieties of eczema, each of which has slightly different triggers and symptoms. However, in all cases, inflammation is their root cause. This inflammation causes the skin to become itchy, red, and sore.
There are seven main types of eczema:
1. Atopic dermatitis – is a condition that runs in families and often starts in childhood. It tends to be a chronic condition with periods of flare-ups followed by remission. Atopic eczema often occurs in combination with other inflammatory or allergic conditions such as asthma or rhinitis.The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary from mild to severe and include: dry skin, itching, red, inflamed skin, rashes, skin thickening, small bumps on the skin which leak fluid when scratched, scales on the skin
2. Contact dermatitis – is a skin reaction that occurs when you come into contact with an irritant (such as soap, detergent, or perfume) or an allergen (like nickel or latex). There are two types of contact dermatitis:
- Irritant contact dermatitis – This is the most common type and is caused by an irritant coming into contact with the skin. Common irritants include soaps, detergents, and cleaners.
- Allergic contact dermatitis – This is less common and occurs when you have an allergic reaction to something that comes into contact with your skin. Common allergens include nickel, latex, and certain adhesives. The symptoms of contact dermatitis can vary from mild to severe and include: Bumps or blisters, dry, cracked, or scaly skin, red, inflamed skin, hives, itching, burning or stinging sensation
3. Dyshidrotic eczema – also known as pompholyx, is a type of eczema that affects the hands and feet. It is characterized by small blisters that form on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema can include: Small blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, itching, burning or stinging sensation, dry, cracked skin
4. Nummular eczema – also known as discoid eczema, is a type of eczema that is characterised by round, almost disc-like patches of skin that are dry, red, and itchy. The symptoms of nummular eczema can include: round, disc-like patches of skin, itching, dry, cracked skin, red, inflamed skin
5. Seborrheic dermatitis – is a type of eczema that affects the scalp, face, and chest. It affects areas where oil-producing (sebaceous) glands are most active. The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis can include: greasy, scaly skin, red, inflamed skin, swelling, itching, dandruff
6. Stasis dermatitis – is a type of eczema that affects the lower legs. It happens when blood flow to the legs is reduced, causing fluid to leak from the blood vessels. The symptoms of stasis dermatitis can include: swollen, itchy ankles and legs, redness in the lower legs, yellow scaly skin, brownish-coloured patches of skin, pain or cramping in the legs
7. Neurodermatitis – is a type of eczema that is characterised by chronic itching and scratching. The constant scratching can lead to thick, scaly patches of skin. The symptoms of neurodermatitis can include: chronic itching and scratching, thick scaly patches of skin on your arms, legs, back of the neck, genitals, back of the hands, the bottom of the feet, or scalp. The patches bleed easily when scratched
What causes eczema?
It is unclear exactly what causes eczema, but it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Eczema triggers can vary from person to person and depend on the type of eczema. Here are some of the most common:
1. Stress – One of the biggest contributory factors is high stress. Stress is a trigger for 9 out of 10 people with eczema. In response to fear or stress, your body produces cortisol which is released from the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight response. It happens when you meet a stressful situation head-on. Your body kicks into action. It speeds up your heart rate, amps up your blood pressure, and releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. This dampens the immune system and can cause an inflammatory reaction in our skin.
2. Diet – Around a third of people with eczema say what they eat, and drink is a trigger. Some foods can cause allergic reactions in people with atopic eczema, such as cow’s milk. Other foods can cause contact dermatitis, for example, citrus fruits, raw onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and chillies.
3. Cleanser – Soaps, detergents and fragrances can cause additional skin irritation for the majority of those with eczema.
4. Allergens – cause a reaction in some people with eczema. This happens after you come into contact with a substance that has previously made you become sensitive to its effects. Common allergens include the house-dust mite, pollen, cosmetics, hair dyes, perfume, plants, medicines and metals such as the nickel and cobalt that you find in jewellery. Allergies often run in families.
5. Clothing – Almost half of people with eczema say clothing can irritate their eczema. This can include fabrics such as wool, silk and synthetic fibres.
6. Weather and temperature – Around 70% of people with eczema find the weather or temperature can trigger symptoms. You might find your symptoms are better in the summer than in the winter as central heating can dry out your skin. However, sweating in hot weather can also irritate your skin.
7. Hormones – About 47% of women who have eczema report their symptoms getting worse during the week before they have their periods, according to a London nutrition clinic. The sudden drop in estrogen you have before your time of the month can cause your eczema to flare. It shows how the changing level of the female hormone, not just the presence of it, matters most. We are highly recommend Your Super Moon Balance mix to help with hormones regardless if you have eczema or not.
If you have eczema, the most important thing you can do daily is keep your skin moisturised. This extra moisture will help to soothe symptoms such as itching and reduce the likelihood of flare-ups occurring. Choose a high-quality, unscented emollient and frequently apply it throughout the day. You could also consider adding moisturising oils to your bathwater.
Doctors most often treat eczema flare-ups with corticosteroid creams. Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone and betamethasone are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. However, they can also cause some serious side effects. The most common of these is thinning of the skin, which leaves it more vulnerable to injury and infection.
They can also cause the skin to change colour or cause other skin problems such as acne. Because of these side effects, patients should only use corticosteroids for short periods at a time.
Unfortunately, many people with eczema find that their symptoms quickly return as soon as they stop using their steroid cream.
Can you use CBD oil to manage eczema?
There are currently not many other options available to eczema sufferers, especially when it comes to long-term management of their disease. However, cannabidiol (CBD) has become well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Researchers discovered that The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) plays a role in maintaining certain body functions, such as stress, appetite, sleep, pain relief and more. Within the endocannabinoid system is a network of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The two primary receptors identified are CB1 and CB2.
Cannabinoids like CBD, CBC, CBG many more interacts with our ECS, and assist our bodies in maintaining homeostasis. Studies show it typically aids in pain, inflammation, anxiety reduction, and improvements in sleep.
The best approach to a CBD treatment for eczema is to combine oral and topical forms of application.
Full-spectrum CBD oil is thought to produce the best results. Using a whole-plant extract allows you to effectively restore the body’s homeostasis through the interaction with the endocannabinoid system and immune system. And since stress is a key player in many skin problems, taking care of yourself from within is one way to tackle the issue.
Rubbing a CBD balm to the irritated area causes the CBD to engage with the skin’s cannabinoid receptors to help lower inflammation, reduce itching, irritation, and pain.
Many people with eczema also suffer from sleep problems, as intense itching may keep them awake at night.
Research shows that CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system. CBD can also alter mood because it affects the serotonin system.
Everyone’s skin is different, and there is no way of knowing how yours will react to any CBD product.
Skin health & CBD
There is plenty of research that documents the beneficial effects of CBD on the skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and forms a protective barrier between your vital organs and the outside world. It is continuously exposed to environmental irritants and toxins, not to mention ever-changing weather conditions. This means it is potentially very prone to inflammation, especially in individuals with a genetic tendency towards eczema.