Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. Eczema is considered to be an autoimmune condition because it occurs due to an overactive immune response to an environmental trigger. Inflammation results and causes the symptoms of eczema.
30 million Americans have some form of eczema but it’s not contagious. People who develop eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers. When an irritant or an allergen “turns on” the immune system, inflammation develops and causes skin cells to behave aberrantly causing an eczema flare-up. All symptoms of eczema are the result of excess inflammation.
ChillRx Cryotherapy uses cryotherapy (extremely cold, dry temperatures) to reduce eczema-related symptoms. Depending on the type and severity of symptoms, we use a combination of whole body and local cryotherapy to treat eczema. Because eczema is an autoimmune disorder, the underlying cause of the excessive, out of control inflammation is unknown; cryotherapy can effectively and safely suppress inflammation so that symptoms are significantly relieved.
Eczema is often treated pharmaceutically with steroids and other anti-inflammatories. Whole body and local cryotherapy are all natural alternatives to drug options. Whole body cryotherapy can suppress inflammation throughout the body, internally and externally. By suppressing inflammation globally in the body, the symptoms of eczema can diminish significantly. Local cryotherapy can be used in conjunction with whole body or on it’s own to relieve external eczema symptoms.
There are eight different types of eczema and it is possible to have more than one type at a time.:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Hand eczema
- Neurodermatitis/Lichen simplex chronicus
- Nummular eczema
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Stasis dermatitis
All types of eczema cause itching and redness, but some may also cause your skin to blister, “weep,” or peel. Eczema symptoms can be suppressed by reducing inflammation throughout the body and specifically in the skin.
- Atopic Dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema which can be severe and long-lasting. Atopic dermatitis is chronic and inflammatory. AD is an autoimmune condition because it is caused by an immune system overreaction and usually begins in childhood, often in the first six months of the life. AD might improve at times or it may get worse (called a “flare up”).
AD is part of what’s called the atopic triad, which includes two other allergic conditions (asthma and hay fever, which is also known as allergic rhinitis). Researchers believe that people who come from families with a history of AD, asthma and/ or hay fever are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis themselves.
Common symptoms of AD:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Redness (erythema)
- Cracks behind the ears
- A rash on the cheeks, arms and legs
- Open, crusted or “weepy” sores (usually during flare-ups)
- Contact dermatitis is another type of eczema; it happens when the skin touches irritating substances or allergens. The immune system over-responds with excessive inflammation, causing the skin to burn, itch and become red. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic. Contact dermatitis usually appears on the hands, or parts of the body that touched the irritant/allergen.
The most common irritants include:
- Industrial chemicals
- Tobacco smoke
- Acidic Foods
- Skin care products that content alcohol (but not cetyl alcohol)
- Allergens (usually animal dander or pollens)
Symptoms of contact dermatitis include:
- Redness and rash
- Burning or swelling
- Blisters that may weep or crust over
- Dyshidrotic eczema is a condition that produces small, itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet. Stress, allergies, moist hands and feet, or exposure to nickel (in metal-plated jewelry), cobalt or chromium salts may be “triggers” of dyshidrotic eczema. This type of eczema is twice as common in women as it is in men.
Symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema include:
- Small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) on the fingers, hands, and feet
- Scaly, cracked skin
- Hand eczema (also known as hand dermatitis) is very common — up to 10% of the population has this type of eczema. It is also an autoimmune response to an environmental trigger such as allergens or irritating substances. Suppressing the inflammation caused by an over active immune system will suppress dyshidrotic eczema symptoms.
Some symptoms of hand eczema:
- Dryness, to the point of peeling and flaking
- Cracks in the skin
- Lichen simplex chronicus is an itchy skin disease that is similar to atopic dermatitis. People with lichen simplex chronicus tend to get thick, scaly patches on their skin as a result of too much rubbing and scratching of the area.
Some symptoms of lichen simplex chronicus:
- Thick, scaly patches on the nape of the neck, scalp, shoulders, on the bottoms of feet, on ankles, wrists and the backs of the hands
- Discolored skin
- Nummular eczema, also known as discoid eczema and nummular dermatitis, is a common type of eczema that can occur at any age. It looks very different than the usual eczema and can be much more difficult to treat. People with nummular eczema develop coin-shaped spots on their skin, which may be very itchy. It is thought to be “triggered” by things like insect bites, reactions to skin inflammation, or dry skin in the winter.
Some symptoms of nummular eczema include:
- Round, coin-shaped spots
- Dry, scaly skin
- Wet, open sores
- Seborrheic dermatitis
Considered a chronic form of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis appears on the body where there are a lot of oil-producing (sebaceous) glands like the upper back, nose and scalp.
The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown, although genes and hormones play a role. Microorganisms such as yeast, that live on the skin naturally can also contribute to seborrheic dermatitis. Unlike many other forms of eczema, seborrheic dermatitis is not the result of an allergy.
People of any age can develop seborrheic dermatitis including infants (known as “cradle cap”). It is slightly more common in men than women.
People with certain diseases that affect the immune system, such as HIV or AIDS, and the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, are believed to be at an increased risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis often appears on the scalp, where symptoms may range from dry flakes (dandruff) to yellow, greasy scales with reddened skin. Patients can also develop seborrheic dermatitis on other oily areas of their body, such as the face, upper chest and back.
Common symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:
- Greasy, swollen skin
- White or yellowish crusty flakes
- Stasis Dermatitis is skin inflammation that develops in people with poor circulation. It most often occurs in the lower legs because that’s where blood typically collects. When blood collects or pools in the veins in the lower legs, the pressure on the veins increases. The increased pressure damages capillaries, allowing proteins to leak into tissues. This leakage leads to a buildup of blood cells, fluid, and proteins, which causes your legs to swell. This swelling is called peripheral edema.
Skin inflammation occurs as an autoimmune response to the build up of blood cells, fluid and proteins in tissues. Relieving this inflammation topically and internally, will relieve symptoms of stasis dermatitis.
Symptoms of stasis dermatitis include:
- Swelling around the ankles
- Open areas (cracking or larger ulcers)
ChillRx Cryotherapy treats eczema with a combination of whole body and local cryotherapy. Cold exposure globally and/or locally to areas of eczema reduces the inflammation that is causing eczema symptoms. We also use infrared sauna in combination with cryotherapy to accelerate eczema symptom reduction. Infrared sauna therapy improves blood circulation, detoxifies the skin and reduces skin inflammation. All of these benefits contribute to eczema relief!
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ChillRx Cryotherapy has a medical advisor on staff who oversees our treatment protocols for safety and effectiveness.