Cause of Eczema
Eczema can cause a wide range of symptoms. The main symptoms include: redness, weeping skin, pain, heat, tenderness, scaling, crusting, dryness, cracked skin, and small blisters occur. Over time, damage to the epidermis (the upper layer of the skin) can cause it to thicken and become scaly.
The main causes of eczema are listed below along with descriptions of the form of eczema they are most commonly associated with:
- General allergic over-sensitivity, called atopy also known as atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is linked with asthma and hay fever, which are conditions of the immune system. These conditions are often passed down through the generations of a family.
- Contact with substances that irritate the skin chemically, called irritant contact eczema. This is caused by direct contact between the skin and the substance, which might be a detergent, soap, diesel gas or engine oil, strong chemicals in household cleaners, acids, alkaline mixtures, detergents, etc. and various other chemicals that can inflame the skin. The condition can become chronic with repeated exposure. This form of eczema is often encountered in the workplace. Direct irritant contact eczema can occur at the first exposure. For example, most people will develop this form of eczema on first exposure to strong chemicals that are acidic in nature.
- Contact with substances that irritate the skin, leading to acute inflammation when re-exposure occurs is called allergic contact eczema. This type commonly involves contact with nickel, poison ivy, cosmetics, and rubber products. Constant exposure to the irritant allergen is necessary for allergic contact eczema to occur.
- Exposure to sunlight as well as certain medications that cause photosensitivity can result in light sensitive eczema.
- Infants exposed to moisture from drool or those that have inflammation of the scalp (cradle cap) can develop infantile eczema.
- Varicose veins can lead to a form of eczema affecting the lower legs, called stasis eczema. This is also known as varicose or gravitational eczema.
- Other types of eczema which arise as a result of causes within the body include: seborrheic eczema, discoid or nummular eczema, pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema, juvenile plantar or foot eczema and lichen simplex.
Changing the Acidity of Your Body to Treat Your Eczema
Our team of Eczema Skin Care Researchers possess a total of 40 years of collective research led by a Johns Hopkins MD. They have confirmed that the main cause or etiology of eczema is an immune system disorder. Eczema generally results from an overly acidic body and skin which creates an over active immune system response. The pH scale (potential of hydrogen), ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. This acidic/alkaline scale is logarithmic meaning that each number is ten times stronger than the preceding number. For example, a pH of 2 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 3 and one hundred times more acidic than a pH of 4. So you will now be able to more easily understand why an eczema sufferer needs to minimize the acidic foods and drinks as it takes so many more alkaline foods and drinks to compensate. As you rethink your past eczema history, you will see that all the eczema triggers come from 'acidic items' regardless of whether they are foods, drinks, stress, being out of breath due to not enough oxygen or not being able to exhaust enough carbon dioxide. We all know that if we hold our breath for 60 seconds our face turns pink or red. We are aware, but hardly think that the actual cause is a combination of a build up of carbon dioxide, which is an acidic gas, and a shortage of oxygen, which is alkaline. Very similarly, when we exercise for a long period, we have a build up of lactic acid, which is an acidic body waste. Likewise, those with eczema need to be very concerned about the build up of acids in the blood stream due to the foods and beverages that we consume.
We all know of our triggers, but in case you don't. Here are some common one's like alcohol, coffee, pizza, candy/cookies, various medications, etc. which all have a pH below 7.0 and are termed acidic. Your goal is now to balance, buffer, or neutralize the acids with alkaline foods or with water. Water is alkaline with a pH of about 7.3, and likewise more alkaline foods (higher pH than 7.0) such as fresh vegetables and fruits are needed. Acidic foods and drinks are the problem with a pH of below 7.0 such as coffee at 5.0 pH and beer averaging 3.0 to 4.5 pH, wines at 3.5 pH, and whiskeys/gin/vodka at 4.0 pH. If you must drink alcohol, the best drink for your eczema is 2 ounces of gin, whiskey, or vodka mixed with 6 ounces of water which averages about 6.5 pH or so. The opposite is true when alcohol is mixed with soft drinks which have a pH of about 2 to 2.5 pH. So try hard to minimize the above drinks and delete them entirely if possible while increasing your alkaline foods.
You can make sure that your water and many foods are alkaline by purchasing pH paper at most drug stores to measure the pH of the water, drink, or foods. Your urine should be in the 6.6 to 7.0 pH range most often as the culmination of the body process.
Because of the immune system response, it's not uncommon to have more than one skin condition occurring at a time. The eczema sufferer often has seborrheic dermatitis, which makes for a most delicate skin condition. Seborrheic dermatitis involves over active sebaceous glands, which cause inflammation, flaking, and a red rash in the central portion of the face. If one looks closely, the flakes usually have a greasy look, smell, and feel. The dryness of seborrheic dermatitis is perceived because of the flaking, which consists of dried layers of accumulated oil.