What is Eczema?

March 22, 2016

Many of our customers write in to tell us that our products have helped to alleviate the symptoms of their Eczema. This common condition can affect people of all ages -- from young babies to the elderly and everyone in between.

My son, Nick, had severe Eczema as a baby. We did not know it at the time, but Nick was allergic to cow's milk and egg whites. As a baby, when he was fed, he consumed ingredients containing cow's milk. His skin was red, dry, and flaky. Early on, I attributed it to being wintertime with dry air inside and cold temps outside. I used my skin care background and wanted to moisturize his skin with beneficial ingredients including lactic acid from milk proteins.


I deliberately chose a baby body lotion with buttermilk. Nick is 12 now and I still feel guilty that I slathered his skin with a buttermilk lotion. Not knowing he was allergic to milk, the proteins in the lotion made his Eczema even worse. It was so hard watching him try to scratch his skin. Once we had his food allergies diagnosed, I immediately stopped using lotion with milk protein. His skin cleared eventually.

Eczema is not pleasant. Often, we just don't know where to turn. I recently experienced Eczema in the form of contact dermatitis. I tried out a new shampoo. Once I was out of the shower, I had red itchy marks all along my hairline and forehead. The skin between my fingers was also affected. It was so hard for me to control that itching!

These are just a couple examples of Eczema. We know so many of you may be suffering, too, and wanted to share more on the condition.


Just what it Eczema, though? 

Eczema is a common skin condition. Also known as dermatitis or skin inflammation, it is not a one size fits all condition. There are many different types of Eczema and it is actually a word used to describe a large group of medical conditions that can cause the skin to experience irritation and inflammation. Many of the conditions that fall under the umbrella of Eczema may be familiar to you. In fact, you may not have been aware that they are actually considered to be Eczema.

Let's talk about the symptoms first.

Eczema Symptoms

  • Skin itching - The itching is often very intense. The skin will often become damaged due to frequent scratching.
  • Redness - Skin often appears blotchy and may even bleed.
  • Skin cracking - Painful fissures or deep cracks may develop in more severe cases.
  • Flaking and scaling - Skin may exhibit a rough and scaly appearance when the skin flakes off.
  • Blisters - Blisters may fill will fluid, resulting in crusting and oozing.

The 2 Most Common Types of Eczema

Atopic Dermatitis

  • This is by far the most common type of Eczema.It is the most severe, as it is chronic.
  • It often strikes people with asthma or hay fever. It also can be caused if there are issues affecting the skin barrier which can allow germs in and pull moisture out.
  • This form of Eczema is most likely to affect infants and children.
  • You will see this on the hands and feet, inside the elbows, back of the knees and on the face.
  • Heredity may play a role.
  • Atopic dermatitis is worsened by bath and body products containing artificial fragrance and harsh lathering agents.
  • Rough fabrics and fabric other than cotton can worsen it, too. 
  • Ingredients in household cleaning products, as well as food allergies and dust mites are also linked to worsening of symptoms.
  • Creams and ointments are often advised to treat the symptoms. If you notice a trigger like a body wash or soap, avoiding the trigger is imperative. Doctors sometimes recommend steroids as a form of treatment.

Contact Dermatitis

  • This is a very common form and affects more than 3 million Americans per year. Unlike Atopic Dermatitis, it is a temporary condition.
  • Contact with personal care products, nickel in jewelry, fragrances, makeup, and plants such as poison ivy are common causes.
  • A red rash at the point of contact is the most common symptom.
  • Avoiding contact with the allergen or irritant is the main treatment. The rash will generally clear up on its own. Doctors will often recommend medication or cream to help diminish the itch.

What Eczema is not

  • Eczema is not contagious.
  • As we discussed above, not all Eczema is the same.
  • Eczema is not caused by stress - although it may worsen it.
  • Medication is not required for everyone with Eczema. Sometimes just eliminating certain ingredients is sufficient at easing the itch.
  • Eczema is not curable. There is no known cure for Eczema. Can you eliminate many of the symptoms? Yes. Will it always bother you? No. Still, there is no cure, according to the National Eczema Society and AAD, among many other organizations.


If I have Eczema, what should I use on my skin?

  • Look for natural body care products containing coconut oilDr. Benjamin Snider, ND, is a naturopath and the co-founder of the Serona Centre for Integrative Medicine in Ontario, Canada. He says that coconut oil is an ingredient to look for to help care for Eczema. "Coconut oil contains an antimicrobial compound called lauric acid, which will help the skin lesions by clearing the bacterial component," says Dr. Snider.


  • Doctors often recommend using steroids to stop the itching associated with Eczema, but aloe vera may be a better alternative. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, applying aloe vera from a fresh plant or body lotions and creams made with aloe is part of his approach. He shies away from steroids, saying, "I believe these drugs only suppress the problem and may worsen it over time." 


  • Dr. Weil also emphasizes the importance of choosing fragrance free body care products. His other advice: "Be sure to bathe or shower as quickly as possible, and use a non-perfumed soap. Apply a thick moisturizing cream immediately after patting yourself dry -- don't rub your skin when you towel dry your body."


Seed Body Care Products to try if you have Eczema

  • For babies and children, Seed Good to Grow Fragrance Free Body Wash is an extra gentle way to cleanse baby's delicate skin. It features coconut-derived, sulfate free cleansers, soothing aloe vera & no artificial fragrances or dyes.
  • Our Fragrance Free Gentle Body Wash is gentle enough for those with Eczema. Our gentle wash cleanses with coconut-derived surfactants, contains soothing aloe vera and is non-irritating.
  • We have a full range of Fragrance Free products with the doctor-recommended aloe vera, coconut oil and free of irritating fragrance. These include our Fragrance Free Body Lotion, Body Cream, and Hand Cream

While experts agree that there is no cure for Eczema, you do not have to suffer. Symptoms can often be kept at bay and those suffering from the itching and redness can often find great relief.



National Eczema Association

National Institutes of Health

Mayo Clinic

American Academy of Dermatology

Dr. Weil Blog





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