Herbal Remedies for Dermatitis

“Dermatitis” is a general term that refers to inflammation of the skin. There are several types of dermatitis, although the symptoms and treatments for all are similar. Dermatitis is characterized by red, itchy skin which sometimes in crusty scales or oozing blisters. Although dermatitis is not usually serious or life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable. It can also make the sufferer very self-conscious about his or her appearance.

Contact dermatitis, the kind brought on by contact with an irritant, typically begins as a pink or red rash, which usually itches. Common causes of contact dermatitis are poison ivy and poison oak, but there are a number of other irritants that can cause the skin to become inflamed, particularly in allergic individuals. Common chemical irritants include soaps, detergents and nail polish remover. Latex can also be a culprit. In some particularly sensitive individuals, even cosmetics and hair care products can cause contact dermatitis.

Nummular dermatitis is a type of inflammation found often in men between the ages of 55 and 65. Nummular dermatitis manifests as coin-shaped red plaques. These plaques most frequently occur on the legs, hands, arms, and torso. This type of dermatitis is common in very dry environments.

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, typically runs in families. Eczema is a chronic condition that most often affects children, but is also sometimes seen in adults. Eczema involves red to grayish patches of skin, itching (sometimes severe), small bumps that may ooze fluid when scratched, and thickened, cracked skin. Eczema is sometimes associated with stress, allergies and asthma.

Seborrheic dermatitis (called “cradle cap” when it occurs in infants) primarily affects the scalp and causes scaly, itchy skin and persistent dandruff. Although the cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not known, it is associated with stress, fatigue, certain neurological conditions and a type of yeast found on the skin. Anti-fungal treatments are sometimes effective at managing this type of dermatitis.

Stasis dermatitis, caused by poor circulation, occurs in people with varicose veins, congestive heart failure, or other conditions that cause the legs to swell. Stasis dermatitis usually involves irritation around the ankles.

Doctors usually recommend hydro-cortisone and other steroidal creams, along with lifestyle changes, to treat dermatitis. However, certain herbs can be very effective at soothing the itch associated with dermatitis and speeding healing. Here are some of the most common herbal remedies for dermatitis.

Calendula is herb used commonly in ointments, salves and creams. Calendula is thought to be beneficial for a number of skin conditions thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat sunburn, burns and other skin conditions. A potent anti-inflammatory, chamomile can also be beneficial for certain types of dermatitis. Use chamomile with caution, however, as it can sometimes make matters worse. In allergic individuals, chamomile may cause contact dermatitis. The same is true for tea tree oil, which can be very effective at managing the symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis.

Plantain offers multiple benefits for dermatitis sufferers. A soothing anti-inflammatory with anti-microbial properties, plantain can help to relieve irritation and itching as well as prevent infection.

Evening primrose oil has been used since the 1930s to treat eczema. Evening primrose is well-tolerated by most people, causes few side effects, and can be very effective at relieving the itching and redness associated with eczema.

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