Does Sunlight Exposure Help Eczema?
Eczema is a common, chronic, inflammatory skin condition that makes your skin very sensitive, inflamed, and more susceptible to the UV (ultraviolet radiation) damage. But, since eczema may make your skin more susceptible to the UV damage doesn’t mean that you should avoid going out in the sunlight. On the contrary, the exposure of your skin to the sunlight is beneficial for your skin when you happen to suffer from eczema. And, if you are wondering how sunlight exposure can be helpful to obtain relief from eczema, think no further. Read on to learn all about it.
Causes Of Eczema:
Even though the causes of eczema are quite complex, the following two factors are generally responsible for it.
- Altered or disturbed immunity
- Deficiencies in an individual’s skin barrier
Itching, skin inflammation, and redness on the skin are some of the common symptoms of eczema. Most of the time symptoms of psoriasis are same as eczema. But in case of eczema, in addition to the itchy, red, and inflamed skin, people with eczema are also more likely to develop skin infections, particularly with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. And, the colonization of these bacteria on the skin of the individuals with eczema (particularly, when the bacteria tend to thrive on the skin but fail to invade it), makes the condition worse by giving rise to a vicious cycle of inflamed, itchy skin which turns infected and turns more inflamed. This is why doctors focus not only on treating a person’s inflamed, irritated skin in atopic dermatitis, but also on preventing and treating the skin infection.
Fortunately, one type of treatment which may help combat both the skin inflammation as well as the infection is judicious exposure to the sunlight.
Benefits Of Sunlight:
Even though it is not completely clear why the exposure to the sun help you obtain relief from eczema, but certain medical studies suggest that vitamin D may play a vital role as the sun exposures increase the production of vitamin D in the skin. More specifically, the supplementation with oral vitamin D appears to increase the production of cathelicidin in the skin of people with eczema.
Cathelicidin is a protein which safeguards you against the skin infections, which tend to occur due to viruses, fungi, and bacteria affecting a healthy skin. And, individuals with eczema tend to have low amounts of cathelicidin present in their skin. Cathelicidin plays a critical role in mammalian innate immune defence against invasive bacterial infection. Lower levels of cathelicidin may result in colonization and infection of the skin with bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which is known to worsen eczema.
The increased production of cathelicidin may explain why people with eczema often get better with moderate amounts of sun exposure. Vitamin D supplementation to eczema affected individuals may further help enhance the effect, particularly if you are nutritionally deficient.
Cautious amount of exposure to the natural sunlight can be quite healthy, but too much sun exposure must be avoided, as people with eczema may be more prone to sunburn, particularly when they are using topical steroids.
Diagnosing Vitamin D Deficiency
The most accurate way to measure vitamin D is with the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.
Natural Treatment For Eczema:
Here are some tips which can help you treat eczema naturally.
- Have sufficient exposure to the sunlight. Going for a brisk walk in the morning can help you receive good exposure to the sunlight. The first sunrays in the morning are not quite intense so there is no risk of sunburn due to it. So, exposure to the sun in the initial phase of the morning is quite healthy.
- Bathe less frequently with lukewarm water i.e. two or three times a week.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or swimming.
- Choose to use non-irritating soaps and shampoos
- Soaking the lesion in sodium bicarbonate or colloidal oatmeal to the bath helps in reducing itching.
- By wearing gloves in the winter, the patient can prevent skin from being exposed to the cold air with a little humidity which can dry the skin.
- Regularly clip nails to prevent abrasion of skin while scratching. This reduces the chances of developing a secondary infection.
- Avoid contact with allergens or irritants to the skin.
- Kids should be encouraged to drink a lot of water daily. A good intake of fluids helps moisturize the skin naturally.
- Food substances that provoke allergies (allergens) should be avoided.
- Wear non-irritating cloths
- Avoid strenuous exercises during a flare-up, as sweating can irritate the rash.
- Minimize stress.
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5 Effective Homeopathic treatment For Eczema:
Homeopathy too can treat eczema effectively. Here are some effective homeopathic remedies for eczema which you can help you obtain relief from the discomforting symptoms of this skin condition.
- Graphites: One of the best Homeopathic remedies for Eczema, when you experience oozing of thick and sticky discharge from the eruptions, is graphites. Usually, it is recommended to the patient, who is obese and suffers from constipation, as such patients are more likely to be sensitive to the cold weather. It is indicated when the skin is rough and hard. In the unaffected areas, the skin tends to be dry. It is often indicated in females with menstrual difficulties, particularly when the menses are late and scanty.
- Mezereum: One of the best Homeopathic treatment for Eczema when you experience the formation of a crust, particularly on the head, is Mezereum. It is recommended when the head is found to be covered with a thick, leather-like crust and there occurs accumulation of pus just below the crust. This remedy is indicated when the itching is intolerable and turns worse in the bed and at night. The patient may feel better in the open air.
- Hepar Sulphur: One of the best Homeopathic medicines for Eczema when you experience suppuration or pus formation markedly is Hepar Sulphur. There is intense itching in the area affected by eczema. This homeopathic treatment for eczema is recommended when you have eczema with deep cracks on the skin and you happen to become sensitive to the touch and cold air. This remedy helps when the eruptions aggravate in the winters and you happen to turn so sensitive to the cold weather that you cannot uncover yourself even for a moment. The sensitivity to the cold may increase so much so that, even if a door is opened in the other room, you may feel cold and start reacting or sneezing because of the change in temperature. You may feel better in the damp weather.
- Dulcamara: One of the best Homeopathic medicines for Eczema when you have eruptions which aggravate in the cold damp weather is Dulcamara. This homeopathic remedy for eczema is suggested when you experience worse itching in the cold damp weather and the formation of thick brown yellow crusts which may even bleed when you scratch them.
- Sulfur: One of the best Homeopathic medicines for Eczema when you experience an intense burning along with itching is Sulphur. This homeopathic remedy for eczema is recommended when your eczema complaints turn worse in the heat and summers and you happen to develop dry and unhealthy skin. This remedy is helpful when you suffer itching, which turns worse due to the warmth and in the evening. Also, this remedy is suggested when you experience other skin problems too. Usually, this remedy is helpful to the individuals who have a family history of skin ailments or when they feel hungry in the morning around 11 am.
Also Read: 4 Eczema Triggers You Must Avoid
Now that you know how sunlight is beneficial for treating eczema, make sure you get enough exposure to the sun and keep the hazards of eczema at bay.
– Written by Dr. Benao, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah
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