is a skin condition caused by increased pressure in the veins of the legs. It is a chronic inflammation of the outer layers of the skin - but it is not contagious.
This condition usually affects older women and can take some time to heal.
It is the skin on or near the varicose veins in the legs, and on the ankles, that is most affected. Being overweight puts you more at risk.
While moisturisers, steroid ointments and compression stockings are the common treatments, we will look at other more natural ways to help this condition.
What are the SYMPTOMS of Varicose eczema?
The most common symptoms of eczema itself is itching as well as dry skin and a rash usually consisting of red or scaly areas of skin. As the condition worsens, the rash may develop oozing or crusting of the skin.
The increased pressure on the veins
will cause discomfort and when the skin is so affected in varicose eczema, it can lead to the entry of bacterial infection perhaps spreading cellulitis infection in the leg or, at worst, a venous ulcer (also known as statis ulcer) may form. Urgent medical attention should of course be sought.
What are the CAUSES of varicose eczema?
Poor circulation in the lower legs when less than satisfactory blood flow causes fluids to build up and the legs to swell. Such a build up of fluids goes on to affect the skin itself. Inflammation is high on the list of causes too.
If you add in the possible causes for the eczema itself, these can include a family history of the condition, the environment and the connection with allergies,
suffering from stress, too much washing of the affected area, being allergic to latex and using gloves made of this material, other allergies or an obsession for scratching.
Natural ways for helping with varicose eczema
It would seem that there two problems here to be dealt with: (a) the poor circulation and blood flow in the legs and (b) the eczema itself that accompanies the condition.
Improving poor circulation and blood flow in the legs while combating inflammation...
Water can be beneficial. Try applying a cold compress to the affected area two to three times a day.
Include turmeric in your daily routine. This ancient spice contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds. Many research studies confirm that turmeric is as effective as fourteen different pharmaceutical drugs (including combating inflammation) but of course with none of the side effects or high costs. You can find a lot more information on turmeric in our earlier post.
- While standing is considered healthier than sitting, the key thing is the length of time in either position. Whether you spend a lot of time standing up or sitting down, you should change your position, stretch your legs regularly and take a short walk. In fact, you should try and go for at least a ten minute walk (or preferably longer) each day to increase oxygen being inhaled and to pump the blood faster into the extremities. The human body doesn't cope well with being in the same position hour after hour. At the very minimum, shake your hands and arms and circle your feet. When resting or relaxing, raise the legs. Use the stairs as often as possible because they really work the legs and help the blood flow.
Avoid restrictive clothing such as socks or belts that may be too tight as well as underwear that could restrict blood flow. At the same time, wear comfortable shoes.
- Drink plenty of fresh water daily to to hydrate cells including the skin as well as aiding digestion and giving you a regular supply of minerals. Drinking plenty of water also helps the body to get rid of waste products.
Combating the eczema symptoms...
Keep your feet and hands warm to help maintain your body's temperature.
- Too much heat and sweat can make the skin even more irritated and itchy so keeping the skin moisturized is key. A daily warm (but not too hot) bath helps to moisturize the skin, using aqueous cream rather than ordinary soaps for cleaning. A good soak for 15 to 20 minutes will ensure that the skin’s outer layer can absorb moisture. Gently pat dry with a towel to remove excess water while still leaving the skin damp. Our own H-Eczema Formula will work with your body to heal your symptoms as opposed to harsh over-the-counter and prescription eczema creams which can have adverse side effects.
Dry skin brushing combined with use of a natural scrub to exfoliate, followed by a natural moisturizer, can help to get rid of dry skin topically.
- Many have found that a raw food diet has helped to reduce or even get rid of their eczema symptoms. Suggestions include: A bowl of raw cereal – oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit with almond milk or raw dairy milk; lots of green juices or smoothies made with fresh fruit and vegetables; raw free range eggs that can be whipped up into smoothies, homemade salad cream or even desserts; rich raw salads full of different types of lettuce and other raw veggies; coleslaw salad; a wrap "sandwich" with lettuce around avocado, raw hummus and other raw veggies; a daily handful of nuts; all kinds of seeds - both sprouted and unsprouted; raw fruit as well as ice cream made with just pure fruit; raw honey, coconut oil and raw dairy butter; and raw dark chocolate.
- Dry flaky skin and eczema are often signs of a deficiency in omega-3 fat so if you can increase healthy fats in your diet (and via supplementation), these may well boost the skin’s appearance.
It may well take a variety of lifestyle changes, natural remedies and some patience to improve and to treat varicose eczema but it could be so worthwhile.
Limiting sugar and grains, and supplementing with fermented foods or beneficial probiotic bacteria, may help to reduce eczema too.