Did you know venous eczema affects around 20% of people over 70 years of age?
What is venous eczema?
Venous eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes skin changes in your lower legs when you have varicose veins. This condition is also known as: varicose eczema, venous stasis, gravitational dermatitis or stasis dermatitis.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when the veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. This typically results in swollen, raised and bluish-purple or red veins that are often painful. This condition is very common, especially in women. There are many potential causes of varicose veins, including: pregnancy, menopause, standing for long periods of time, and obesity. Varicose veins are often visible on the legs, especially the lower legs.
There are many people with hidden varicose veins (venous reflux without visible visible varicose veins), the number of people at risk from venous eczema is even higher.
Like all types of eczema, the affected areas become:
- Red and swollen
- Dry and flaky
- Scaly or crusty
There may be periods when these symptoms are more or less severe. Your legs may become swollen, especially at the end of the day or after long periods of standing.
Some people experience other symptoms, including:
- Dark, thickened skin
- Ankle swelling
- Red, tender and tight skin
- Eczema affecting other parts of the body
- Small, white scars
If left untreated, ulcers may also develop.
Causes and risk factors
Venous eczema is caused by increased pressure in the leg veins. The veins in our body drain the blood back to the heart. When this normal drainage is impaired, pressure builds up in the blood vessels. This causes swelling of the legs and damage to the skin.
These circulatory problems can lead to blood leakage and cell death, and it can develop into stasis dermatitis.
Treatment & Prevention
Here’s some general tips for the prevention of venous eczema flare ups:
- Try to put your legs up as high as possible when sitting. It’s best to have your feet as high as your hips, or even a bit higher! This will help the blood flow back up the legs. Also, try and elevate the legs above the heart every two hours to reduce swelling
- Try to avoid injuring the skin.
- Keep active! When the muscles in your legs are active, they help push the blood in the veins back up the legs.
- Avoid standing up for long periods of time.
- Wear compression stockings - the stockings work by applying pressure from outside the veins. This helps squeeze the blood in the veins back up the legs. In turn this prevents leakage of blood into the surrounding tissues. Compression stockings come in different materials (class 1, 2 & 3). Most people can tolerate class 2, but it’s recommended to choose materials that are comfortable to wear. This will really help your circulation and can prevent serious problems such as ulcers.
- Avoid eating foods that are high in salt.
- Consume vitamin C and rutin to help keep blood vessels flexible and healthy.
Managing Venous Eczema Naturally
To maintain skin health, patients with venous eczema need emollient therapy combined with gentle skin cleansing. Emollients are essential in managing venous eczema as it hydrates the skin, reduces scaling and reduces the risk of flare-ups and infection. They should be used at least once a day, and more often if needed.
Grahams Natural C+ Eczema Cream contains clinically tested ingredients which aim to reduce redness and inflammation of the skin. Our eczema cream works to calm the skin, control the spread of bacteria and hydrate the skin. We have created an ‘oil-in-water’ formula, which means it provides a cool, soothing feel to relieve itching and pain. Suitable for all ages, our Natural C+ Eczema Cream is a must-have for all eczema sufferers.
For best results, we recommend using the cream with ourBody & Bath Oil. This product is 100% oil based, which is exactly what you need when the top layers of your skin are being compromised by irritation. It hydrates the skin, reduces redness and inflammation, and is super gentle on the skin.
There are a couple of ways you can use the Grahams Natural Body & Bath Oil. You can try adding it to the bath, or topical application.
For best results, after using the body & bath oil we recommend applying ourC+ Eczema & Dermatitis cream to the red inflamed areas of the skin.
To cleanse the area, we recommend the Intensive Therapy Body Wash.Grahams Natural Intensive Therapy Wash is a light fragrance free wash which will keep even the most sensitive skin happy and healthy. With natural ingredients including soothing extracts of Calendula and Chamomile to calm and nourish sensitive and eczema-prone skin.