Butterfly Melita Yvonne Dyason


Licence No.KZN00041D    Practice No. 0805033   Reg No: A01252

From illness to wellness


The term eczema, or eczematous dermatitis, is used to describe several varieties of skin condition which have, however, a number of common features. The exact cause or uses of eczema are imperfectly understood. In many cases eczema can be attributed to external irritants, e.g. soaps, dyes, polishes, chemicals, plants, foodstuffs, etc. Why eczema should develop in some people - from contact with such substances is unknown, and it appears that there must be some other internal factor present which renders eczematous patients very sensitive to mild irritants. In support of this theory is the fact that various forms of eczema are associated with the allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever.

Features of the eruption

The many and various types of eczema have different individual features, but in most cases the skin lesions have the following general characteristics:

Types of Eczema

It is impossible in the space available to give more than a few of the commoner types of eczema.

  1. Infantile eczema. This form is very common in infants, particularly males under the age of 2. The face is especially affected, the eczema being weeping and crusted. Itching is usually severe.
  2. Flexural eczema. Besnier's pruigo usually follows infantile eczema and is associated with asthma. The flexures of the elbows and knees are particularly prone to be affected, hence the term Flexural eczema. The face and neck may also be affected. The lesions are usually of the chronic, thickened, lichenified type. Most but by no means all cases tend to improve after puberty.
  3. Varicose eczema. This form is extremely common, occurring in elderly people with varicose veins and ulcers.
  4. Eczema of the hands and feet. Eczema of the hands and feet produces a vesicular eruption which is commonly likened to sago grains in the skin. Chronic forms are very frequent in which the skin, owing to its inelasticity, become cracked and deep fissure form. Eczema is one cause of a vesicular dermatitis of the hands, which often goes under the name of cheiropompholys. Cheiropompholyx may also be caused by external irritants [soaps, detergents used in cleaning, polishes, dyes, chemicals, etc.] and be fungus infections [ringworm.]

Treatment of eczema

The first essential is to remove any irritant which may possibly be causing the eczema. In prevention the use of barrier creams of glycerine preparations by people who continually use strong soaps or cleansing powders is very valuable. The patient's resistance must be built up and any septic focus or disease must be treated.

Local treatment is most important and the particular application depends on the stage of the eczema. In the acute weeping stage a lotion is used such as Allopathically calamine or lead lotion. These should be applied on gauze or lint and as little covering as possible used. Sedatives can be used mixed with lotion to allay the itching. In the less acute stage an oily liniment is preferred. In the chronic stage pastes are the most useful applications.

In infantile eczema soap and water usually aggravate the skin so that their use must be forbidden as far as possible.

Homoeopathic treatment

Medicine to treat the eczema and assist with the discomfort of the skin, together with creams made, to apply to infected areas. Isotherapy medication is also a consideration.