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Eczema is a skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body, leading to itchy, red patches of skin that may become cracked or have blisters. The condition is frustrating wherever it occurs, whether on the arms, back, or hands. But eczema can be especially painful and debilitating when it appears on the face. Eczema tends to show up in childhood, usually on the cheeks, chin, elbows, or knees, and symptoms usually lessen over time. Still, some people will have eczema as they grow older, and adults can develop it as well. It is tricky to narrow down exactly what causes eczema, since there are so many different forms of the condition, and different triggers can exacerbate each type.

As a matter of fact, there is a wide range of causes and risk factors associated with eczema. And, eczema symptoms can manifest widely differently between those affected. While a singular cause of eczema has not been established, there are certain common causes leading to the onset and flares.

Risk Factors for Eczema
* Genetic predisposition or family history of eczema, hay fever or asthma
* Young age
* Healthcare worker
* Children that attend daycare
* Living in a dry climate
* Nutritional deficiency
* Adolescent obesity, for later onset of eczema cases
* Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may increase the risk of developing eczema in the first year of life.

Causes of eczema include nutritional deficiency, allergen, dry and sensitive skin that cracks, immune system dysfunction, environmental conditions, gene variation that affects skin, chronic stress and temperature changes. The following home remedies have been proven to reduce the occurrence of eczema.

1. Phototherapy
According to the National Eczema Association, phototherapy helps to calm inflammation, reduces itching, increases vitamin D production and helps fight bacteria on the skin. Adding 10–15 minutes a day of sun exposure, particularly during an eczema flare, can provide relief and potentially speed healing.

2. Vitamin D
Supplementing with vitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, eggs and raw milk may help prevent eczema in children and adolescents. Ideally, during a flare you will get 2,000-5,000 IU daily; if your sun exposure is low, consider boosting your intake with a high-quality supplement.  Preliminary research shows that low vitamin D levels during pregnancy and during childhood may increase the risk for developing eczema.

3. Moisturize
It is important to moisturize affected areas at least twice a day as dry skin can be a cause of eczema. Coconut oil is the perfect moisturizer for eczema sufferers. This eczema treatment is antibacterial and anti-fungal, with antimicrobial properties that provide soothing relief, and may speed healing.

4. Treat the Mind and Body
Researchers have found that hypnosis, mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relation, focused breathing, cognitive behavior therapy and talk therapy may provide not only relief during a flare, but expedite healing and prevent future flares.

5. Dead Sea Salt Baths
The Dead Sea is known for its healing powers, and researchers have found that taking a bath with salt from the Dead Sea water improves skin hydration, improved skin barrier function, reduced inflammation, and relieved redness and roughness. As eczema flares can worsen when exposed to high and low temperatures, bath water should be just warm enough to prevent a chill. Do not rub the skin dry; pat gently with a soft towel.

6. Cool, Wet Compresses
Applying a cool, wet compress lessens the itching for some individuals with eczema. For young children, dampening snug night clothes may provide overnight relief from itching; however, if the eczema has evolved to oozing blisters, a wet compress may increase the risk of infection, and shouldn’t be used.

7. Aloe Vera
Pure aloe gel is rich in anti-inflammatory and healing compounds, and provides a nice cooling sensation for itchy skin. Consider growing your own aloe plant so you can take the gel straight from its natural source. Pure aloe vera gel can also be found at most drug stores and health food stores.

9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Researchers from Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found that when fish is introduced into the diet of young children by the age of 9 months, and fish is eaten weekly, the risk for developing eczema reduces dramatically. Foods rich in Omega-3s should be considered to prevent eczema. During a flare, these foods are a great eczema treatment that will boost immune system function and speed healing.

10. Probiotics
Probiotics may help prevent eczema in infants and decrease the severity of flares. In fact, mothers who take probiotics during pregnancy and while breastfeeding may prevent eczema from developing in their children. During an eczema outbreak and to prevent future flares, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement of 24–100 billion organisms daily should be considered.

11. Lavender Essential Oil
In addition to the intense itching, eczema commonly causes anxiety, depression, frustration and poor sleep. Lavender essential oil is an eczema treatment proven to help reduce these common symptoms that can help heal dry skin. Add 10 drops to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or almond oil, and gently rub into the skin. The aroma can help facilitate sleep, when itching is often at its worst.

12. Vitamin E
Taking 400IU of vitamin E daily can help to speed healing by reducing inflammation. In addition, topical application of vitamin E may help to relieve the itch and prevent against scarring.

Share ways to deal with eczema in the comment box if you know any. It might help someone!

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