What  is Eczema?

Eczema is a condition affecting the outer-most layer of the skin; the epidermis[1].  Our skin is one of the largest organs of the body; it covers us from head to toe and has a number of very important jobs to do, including providing a nice flexible protective layer that helps to prevent infections.  So its important to look after it and help it do its job.

Eczema is usually diagnosed when patches of skin get red and inflamed, and are super-itchy.  Of course, because it is itchy and irritating to us, our natural tendency is to scratch scratch and scratch it.  But that only makes it worse sadly, which just makes it more infuriating.  In that case, it can even bleed and then the skin loses its protective abilities and can get infected.

Sometimes, the itching can get so bad, it can keep us awake at night.  When our sleep patterns get disturbed, then we are really getting into one of those cycles we want to avoid; night time is when  our bodies should really be resting, repairing and building up energy reserves for next days activities. Getting sleep disturbed regularly can not only leave us feeling tired out, but it can contribute towards robbing us of our sense of humour too … and heaven knows, we all need one of those these days!

The thing about Eczema is that it can also affect different areas of skin; common places are hands,  arms and elbows, but really it can and does  appear on any part of the body, to varying degrees of severity. With babies and younger children, its very common for Eczema to appear on hands, heads and faces.

One  of the characteristics of Eczema is that it is a chronic condition; meaning it doesn’t always just appear once then go away forever.  It can have flare-ups that last days, weeks, or even months at a time.  Some people may even find that it flares up at certain times of year, every year.

Personally, speaking as a therapist, I find that totally fascinating!

So, you got to your GP or pharmacist and get the diagnosis of ECZEMA.

What happens next?

Well, some more traditional approaches to tackling Eczema might suggest that there is no cure for Eczema, but that you can manage it with creams and medications.  

These might provide a lot of relief to cool down that itchiness, but if you do have a chronic condition, then its clear, this approach doesn’t actually work.  It isn’t clearing up your Eczema and removing the misery once for all time.  It’s just suppressing the symptoms so you can get on with life and not be driven crazy with trying not to scratch, especially at night when your body is all snug and warm and your skin gets hot.   

You can also think about external factors that might affect your skin;  have you changed your brand of wash power or conditioner lately? Or have you changed a soap, shampoo, or skin car product?  Could that be causing a bit a bit of an allergic reaction? 

Sometimes dietary factors can also cause skin reactions; typically, the usual culprits such as dairy or gluten. 

With the recent Covid pandemic, many people have increased the amount of hand-washing they do, or been using hand sanitizing solutions more frequently.       Perhaps this is a factor you may have attributed your hand-specific Eczema  to.

Could the real cause be  more than Skin Deep?

Did you know that many skin conditions can also be stress-related.

Our bodies are extremely complex pieces of kit!   Researchers and Health Professionals can spend a lifetime just learning about a single body organ; and the whole mind-brain-body connection – that has long been endorsed by the more alternative and holistic approach to health – is now becoming more and  more widely accepted within the realms of mainstream and orthodox medicine (well, sticking its proverbial toe in the door anyways!) 

One of my specialisms as a Health Coach is helping people explore their stress-related  symptoms so they can get a fresh perspective on their health, and start to apply some new strategies to how they deal with their health issues.

One of the techniques I use for this is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which is a perfect tool for addressing very specific stress triggers that can cause Eczema and other skin related symptoms (Dermatitis, Shingles, Hives, and so on).

In EFT, we tap into the mind-brain-body connection which also includes the body’s meridian energy system, where stress and emotions can become “stuck” and then affect your physical body creating physical symptoms.   Stressful emotions that we suppress (or sometimes, not even consciously aware of) are a bit like corks bobbing about in a bucket of water.  We can hold them down for long period of time, not look at them, ignore them .. but sooner or later, they will pop back up to the top! 

Troublesome Chronic Recurring Eczema

If you have chronic recurring Eczema, you might start to notice more what times of day, month, or year it gets  most itchy and annoying.

You may notice that your skin in these areas actually doesn’t stay constant. 

Pay attention to it more closely, and do you notice that at times it is very rough, dry and flaky, but then there will also be periods when it gets hypersensitive and inflamed. 

Once you notice these patterns, keep a written or mental note!

From this point forward, I can help you explore your eczema on levels that are more than just skin deep!  And that will give you new perspectives for tackling your health issue so you truly can resolve them once for all time.