Venous eczema is one of the many kinds of eczema. It is also known as stasis dermatitis, gravitational dermatitis, varicose eczema, and venous stasis dermatitis.
This type of eczema usually occurs in people who have poor circulation, especially if they are overweight. Studies show that 20 percent of people over 70 years old suffer from this condition. It also tends to affect the legs.
In this post, we’ll explore the symptoms and cause of this condition, as well as some suggestions on how to treat venous eczema naturally.
Please keep in mind that although these tips and information have worked for several sufferers, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.
What is Venous Eczema?
As mentioned previously, venous eczema is a chronic condition, usually affecting the lower legs, that results from poor circulation. This poor circulation can cause a build-up of pressure as the blood attempts to flow upward through the body and heart. The pressure causes the fluid to leak out of the veins and into the skin, resulting in inflammation, ulcers, and itchy skin on the lower legs.
Other typical characteristics include swollen legs and feet, open sores, scaling, reddish skin, and calf tenderness. Stasis dermatitis more often occurs in women rather than men.
What Does Venous Eczema Look Like?
Normally venous eczema will affect the ankles first and may include:
- Varicose vein covered with dry or irritated skin
- Red or swollen skin which may be weeping or crusty
- Aching or heavy legs after standing or walking for a prolonged period
- Swelling that appears toward the end of the day and lessions after sleeping overnight
Overtime, problems may extend upward to the calf of the leg, and other symptoms may develop. Skin may become scaly with sores that weep and crust. If the skin cracks, it becomes more vulnerable to bacterial infection.
Causes and Risk Factors of Venous Eczema
Venous eczema is caused by poor circulation. This can be a result of lifestyle factors, such as standing or sitting for a long time or a lack of exercise. People who are overweight or women who have had several pregnancies are also at a higher risk. In addition, the following conditions could increase your risk:
- Venous Insufficiency
- Varicose Veins
- High blood Pressure
- A Previous Heart Condition
- Blood Clot
- Kidney Failure
Venous Eczema Treatment
While those with venous eczema will likely have it for the rest of their lives, there are some management techniques to help relieve symptoms, improve circulation, and prevent the condition from worsening.
Moisturize the Skin
Make sure to keep your skin hydrated by applying an emollient to your legs at least twice a day. The best creams and moisturizers are ones made with all-natural ingredients as they pose less of a risk of irritating your skin.
A great moisturizer is this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. Soft, creamy, and thick in texture, it’s perfect for hydrating even the driest of skin.
Protect the Skin
To spot treat problem areas on your legs, try dry or wet wrap therapy with these hypoallergenic eczema bandages. Made from eco-friendly TENCEL and embedded with anti-inflammatory zinc oxide, they help reduce scaliness and protect the skin from irritating fabrics and scratching.
For optimal effects, apply over a natural cream, then cover with a wet layer and a dry layer. This helps emollients safely penetrate the skin. Wear overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours.
Bathe with Lukewarm Water
As hot water can dry out the skin and cause more itchiness, it’s best to wash with lukewarm water instead. Be sure to avoid using bubble baths as well, as these also tend to dehydrate the skin. We recommend bathing with a natural soap such as this Grass Fed Tallow Soap. Made with just lye, water and grass fed tallow, it’s excellent for sensitive skin.
It’s important to keep your legs moving and your blood pumping by staying active. Even choosing to walk up the stairs as opposed to taking the elevator can make a huge difference.
Do your best to avoid standing still for a long time but if it’s unavoidable, flex your feet or bend down at the knee at regular intervals. Elevating your legs is also very helpful at helping push blood through the veins.
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.