Q: My 22-year-old brother is complaining that he has hand eczema. He says that his hand itches (mostly on fingers) and when he scratches it becomes “raw”: It looks very dry and red with scabbing eventually. He says it has happened before and that it may be related to stress. What do you think he should do?
A: There can certainly be a connection between stress and outbreaks of eczema, but there are other causes as well. If your brother can reduce his stress levels, then that would be good place to start.
Here are some other suggestions as well:
Eczema can be caused by an external irritant to the skin such as soaps, body lotions and creams, laundry detergents, perfumes and dyes contained in laundry detergents, cleaning chemicals used in the home or workplace, chemicals used in gardening, chemicals from construction or home repair, metals from jewelry, metals from dental work, and so on. The next step would be to rule out any of these possibilities and then remove or replace the offending substance. For example, changing to a natural laundry detergent that contains no perfumes or dyes, using natural soaps with no perfumes, using natural body products with no synthetic additives, and so on.
Eczema can be caused by the diet. Spicy foods, alcohol, processed foods, junk foods, fast foods, snack foods, and eating foods to which you are allergic can all contribute to eczema.
Of course, removing the possible offending foods and food allergies from the diet would be an excellent treatment for eczema. The most common food allergies include dairy, wheat, eggs, corn, soy, and fruit. Adding certain foods to the diet can also be helpful. Certain fatty foods such as coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, butter, chicken skin, fish, and beef fat can be beneficial for reducing symptoms of eczema and should be included in the diet. Eczema can sometimes be reduced by taking certain dietary supplements. Cod liver oil or fish oil — one or two tablespoons per day — can be helpful. Read more here.
Vitamin A and vitamin E can help, or try a little apple cider vinegar to help with proper digestion.
— Answer from Dr. David, a family physician on JustAnswer.
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