Hi everyone! As this amazing Flawless community starts to grow, I’ve noticed that there have been a lot more questions about eczema diet, dealing with eczema naturally, etc. It’s a wonderful thing to hear more from you, because it means that we are growing, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of a community of people, starting to clear their skin naturally!
As you know, I always try to talk about the big eczema issues that come up, so today I want to address a BIG problem that has recently been seen in more and more in eczema sufferers: the dreaded weeping eczema. Weeping eczema is eczema that is wet, weeping or that looks like fluid-filled blisters.
It’s also something that many of you have been emailing me about, so I thought that a great post about it was long overdue. 🙂
There is a lot to cover on this topic, but if you take the time to read this, you may find that it is one of the most helpful and useful guides on weeping eczema there is!
Today we talk about:
– The different types of weeping eczema
– The ONE major factor for weeping eczema
– Weeping eczema after stopping steroid creams?
– How to get rid of weeping eczema!
If you had any question about weeping eczema, and are stuck not knowing what to do about it, this article is for you!
The different types of weeping eczema
I always had a history of dry eczema, so the first time I got the weeping kind, I was so puzzled about what to do about it! At first, my breakouts started off how they normally did – small red bumps, sometimes just one, but sometimes in groups of two or three. However, instead of going away, within days these small red bumps, quickly turned into itchy, weeping lesions all over my knees and ankles! Later, as an adult, I would experience more weepy eczema breakouts, this time on my legs and arms.
I didn’t know this at the time, but it turns out there are actually two types of weeping eczema: primary and secondary.
Primary types refer to the blistering types of eczema, such as dysrodhitc eczema, nummular eczema or discoid eczema. These can vary from just one or two blisters, or small crops of more than three. These look like blisters and contain a clear fluid. This fluid can leak through the skin’s epidermis if scratched, bumped, or picked at (very common to happen), which is where the primary term “weeping eczema” comes from.
Secondary types refer to the weeping caused by a secondary problem, and is often confused with primary types. The biggest difference between the two is that secondary weeping eczema happens after your initial breakout, in response to outside bacteria or foreign items. Secondary types can occur over large areas of the body, or over areas of previously dry eczema. Secondary types contain milky or yellow fluid.
If you’re not sure you have weeping eczema, check out my friend Nav’s post here for weeping eczema pictures. It can help you know what to look for.
Getting to the root of ALL weeping
I’m going to mainly focus on secondary weeping in this article, as this is the one that affects a lot of eczema sufferers. Now you might have heard things about weeping eczema before like: “it’s just your body pushing out toxins”, “you need to detoxify your blood”, or “the weeping is normal”. I used to think some of these things myself, however as it turns out, many of these statements aren’t all that accurate.
Let me explain.
On your skin there lives a thriving community of bacteria, called Staphylococcus Aureus (or Staph A.) These are located in heavy concentrations around your nose, mouth, ears, privates, as well as just on your skin itself.
According to research, the BIGGEST factor (if not the only factor) that causes weeping on your skin, is due to these bacteria.
Now don’t worry, just because you have this bacteria, doesn’t mean you have MRSA (a really bad Staph infection). Actually Staphylococcus Aureus (or Staph A.) is (usually) a harmless bacteria that lives on the surface of everyone’s skin.
Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, helps us manage these bacteria, by blessing our skin with natural antibiotics and antimicrobial peptides, that help to keep these staph A bacteria under control. Research shows that these natural antimicrobial peptides, help prevent against the colonisation of staph on the skin.
However, (and this is where it gets weepy), NOT EVERYONE has the same amount of this natural protection. We all know the friend who always has amazing skin, no matter who many times she bruises or scratches it, right? Well if you have eczema, your cut or scratch, might turn into a bigger one!
Studies show that many eczema sufferers tend to have impaired skin barriers, which means that along with your skin being more prone to dryness, you are also lacking natural antibiotics to keep these skin bacteria at bay.
Here are some facts:
– It is estimated that more than 90% of patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis have been shown to be colonized with Staph Aureus bacteria.
– Staph A. drives inflammation of the skin
– Staph A. drives histamine release and itchiness
– Bacteria colonization on the skin activates an immune response in the body (so if you have auto-immune eczema, this bacteria can make things worse or make you break out more. )
– Staph A increases IgE’s in your blood, which can make you more sensitive to other allergens, leading to more breakouts
– Staph A. appears to occur at relatively high abundances in the areas of skin that are affected (so if you have areas of eczema that are bigger, you have a higher concentration of Staph bacteria)
– Finally, in a study done on mice, when Staph. Aureus was inoculated onto the skin of the mice, they developed eczema rapidly! Yikes!
As you can see, one of the biggest factors in weeping eczema is this Staph A. Bacteria. If it gets out of control, it can make you more itchy, your areas more weepy, and overall affect your skin – making it hard for even your primary eczema to heal.
Weeping eczema after stopping steroid creams?
While primary and secondary weeping eczema are well-known in the medical world, some people can still experience weeping eczema when they first stop using steroid creams. Why is this?
One doctor found that the steroids in the cream itself, indirectly kills Staph A, making it near to impossible for Staph A to colonize the area where you put your steroid cream.
In other words, when you use a steroid cream, the bacteria doesn’t like it and leaves the area alone. So when you stop using it — the bacteria comes back, sets up camp, and you experience weeping! This is especially the case if you have open eczema areas, where a higher concentration of Staph is likely to be found.
When to see a doctor
Before moving further, bear in mind that simple staph colonization is not the same as a staph infection.
Small areas of weeping eczema from colonization can usually be treated at home, and will probably benefit from the tips in this article, however if you have large eczema areas that are severely covered with Staph A, then it’s important to check with your doctor to rule out any complications such as a Staph infection.
Some signs you have staph infection:
– You have on and off fevers (the first sign of infection)
– You have large eczema lesions with blood and/or yellow pus
– It is painful to stand or walk
– Chills and shivers
– The weeping goes away for a while, but then comes back, over and over (a sign that your body is fighting the bacteria, but not necessarily winning)
If the infection is serious, your doctor may suggest taking an oral antibiotic. If it’s not so serious, an antibiotic cream might be recommended to kill the Staph bacteria.
Of course, if you have weeping eczema, PLEASE consult your doctor immediately! Especially if you have signs of an infection like a high fever or chills.
What to do when you have weeping eczema
Weeping eczema is primarily caused and/or worsened by colonization of Staph A. If you experiencing weeping after steroid creams or you find your eczema is just weeping in general, here are some things that can help you!
Deeply moisturize dry cracked skin.
– Cracks and open areas are one of the biggest problems when you have weeping eczema. Staph A bacteria cause the most damage when they get underneath the skin’s tissues. When your skin cracks, it will draw in more bacteria, and it can also set-off alarm bells with your immune system!
It goes without saying that when you have weeping skin, it is NOT the time to do a “moisturizer withdrawal” (a process where you wean off moisturizers to let your skin produce its own moisture.)
A moisturizer withdrawal won’t be effective if you have a bacterial problem. It can just make things worse! Save that for later, when your skin is no longer cracked and under attack by bacteria.
For now, your skin needs all the moisture it can get!
Put water back in
You might find it funny that when you have weeping eczema, you need MORE water. So let me explain.
When your skin is under attack by bacteria, it tends to lose a lot of its natural water. While drinking 8 glasses of water daily can help, it might be better to be proactive and PHYSICALLY put water back into your skin.
I wouldn’t recommend soaking your entire body in a bath or going into a swimming pool (as it could make other parts of your body exposed to the bacteria), instead you can just put water back into the weeping areas itself, to keep the bacteria contained.
For example, soaking gauze or cotton in water, and then putting that on your weeping areas. You could also use Epsom salts instead of just regular water.
Use a water-based moisturizer
Did you notice that your weeping eczema never gets better with oils? This is because oils are made of fat, and when your skin is weeping and dehydrated it needs… water! Not fat.
Using a lotion which is primarily made up of water, might be better to keep your skin hydrated when you have weeping eczema.
Remove the bacteria crusts
Many people tend to mix up normal crusts with bacteria crusts. So let me tell you the biggest difference.
A normal crust is called an eschar, and it is hardened, flat and doesn’t have much weeping. Much like the ones you got when you were young and accidentally scraped your knee.
A bacteria crust, however, is weeping to the touch, is full of yellow or milky substance, puffy, and sometimes red. These are the signs of bacteria colonization!
Bacterial crusts are like the bacteria’s houses, and should always be removed with a gentle soap or cleanser like saline solution.
Use natural light therapy
Who’s afraid of the sun? Staph A bacteria! It reduces their numbers, and is very helpful to lessen their impact.
If you can, try to get adequate sunlight to kill off the bacteria. 5-10 minutes a day, is usually enough!
Keep a low-inflammatory diet
Finally, keeping a low inflammatory diet (like on the program) can help to reduce Staph A bacteria. A low inflammatory diet helps immune system health, which will help you fight these bacteria, and also help your eczema improve in the long-run.
Conlcusion: follow the steps above to get rid of weeping eczema!
Well there you have it, I really hope that you liked this article and that it helped you understand more about the causes of weeping eczema, and most importantly, what to do about it.
I had couple of situations where my primary eczema turned into a bacteria colonization, so along with my program, I tried to incorporate all of the above into my skin routine.
Here is how I got rid of my weeping eczema:
– First, I would clean the areas with cotton and saline solution, gently removing any yellow crusts where those bacteria lived.
– Then, I took more cotton and dipped them in a solution of Epsom salts + water. I placed this on my weeping areas, and let them soak in all the water!
– After pat drying the area, I applied a lotion moisturizer around the weeping areas where my skin was badly cracked. I also put a layer directly on the areas itself, to thoroughly hydrate the area. (My skin felt so good already!)
– Finally, I got my 10 minutes of sunlight and then followed up again with more moisturizer as my skin was very cracked at the time.
Doing the steps above, helped the weeping stop within DAYS. Which is why I wanted to share this with you! As someone who struggled with this for years, it makes me want to help others who might have it too.
Hopefully, this article helps you finally know what causes it and what to do about it. 🙂
How do you deal with weeping eczema? Did these tips help you? Leave me a comment below!
PS: Don't know where to start? Sign up to my free series The Clear Skin Plan !