Varicose eczema is a condition localized on the legs and ankles. It is a type of stasis eczema associated with the presence of varicose veins. Without treatment, this form of eczema can progress to an ulcer that is difficult to heal. How can we prevent this from happening and alleviate varicose eczema?
Alleviating varicose eczema.
Varicose Eczema, what is it?
Varicose eczema is a form of eczema characterized by red and rough patches located on the lower leg, particularly above the ankle. This type of eczema is primarily associated with a disruption in venous return. Indeed, when the veins in the lower limbs lack the tonicity to pump blood back to the heart, the blood pools in the legs. This then exerts pressure on the vein walls, causing them to dilate. This is referred to as a varicose vein.
Excessive blood pressure on the walls of the veins causes skin distension and its inflammation. Itching then appears: this is the onset of varicose eczema. The swelling of the leg subsequently leads to the formation of an edema, which, under the effect of scratching, turns into a wound and blisters. At this stage, varicose eczema must be treated urgently to allow for subsequent healing.
The wearing of compression stockings.
Depending on the extent of varicose eczema, it is recommended to wear compression stockings for relief. This indeed helps to reduce venous hypertension associated with venous insufficiency. The principle of compression stockings is based on the external compression applied to the veins and muscles of the legs. This helps to reduce the diameter of the veins and thus promote venous return. Moreover, the pressure exerted by the compression stockings stimulates the leg muscles and causes them to contract. In doing so, they contribute to the compression of the deep veins and prevent the stagnation of blood in the superficial veins.
An elevation of the legs.
Another tip for alleviating varicose eczema is to place a pillow at the end of your bed and sleep with your legs slightly elevated. This takes advantage of gravity to reduce venous congestion and promote venous return. Moreover, this position helps to reduce swelling. By elevating the legs, the fluid accumulated in the tissues can more easily drain towards the lymphatic vessels, which reduces swelling and improves comfort.
Several studies have focused on alternative and complementary medicines (CAM) to alleviate the symptoms of eczema, including varicose eczema, and while more research is still needed, some have shown that the use of aromatherapy can help. This method relies on the use of essential oils extracted from aromatic plants that possess therapeutic properties and provide benefits to physical and emotional health. They can be used through inhalation, ingestion, or applied to the skin, either pure or diluted.
Regardingeczema, the most favored oils and hydrosols for topical application to soothe itching are tea tree essential oil (INCI: Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil), true lavender essential oil (INCI: Lavendula Angustifolia Oil), coconut vegetable oil (INCI: Cocos Nucifera Oil), and Roman chamomile hydrosol (INCI: Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water). These four ingredients are renowned for their soothing properties.
To alleviate the itching caused by varicose eczema, you can also utilize the soothing benefits of cold. To do this, apply cold compresses or ice cubes wrapped in a clean cloth to your legs for about fifteen minutes. This should reduce the sensations of itching. An important point to note: ice cubes should not be applied directly to your skin, as this could cause burns. Always ensure they are wrapped in cloth before application.
Prescribed by dermatologists, dermocorticoids are very rich and effective creams for reducing itching. They are used from the onset of an eczema flare-up and possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties, allowing them to reduce itching and redness.
Note : Dermocorticoids are used under the supervision of a dermatologist, typically in the form of a treatment course.
A varicose vein surgery.
If the itching does not subside or if you notice that the lesions are intensifying, it is very important to consult a doctor who may suggest a procedure to remove the varicose veins. Stripping, phlebectomy, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency... Depending on your age, the severity of your varicose eczema, and your tolerance, different surgical options will be considered. The doctor will then discuss the benefits, risks, and expected outcomes of each option, while taking into account your needs and preferences.
The sooner you consult a doctor, the less severe the operation and its repercussions will be. That's why we recommend you not to wait to make an appointment, but to do so if your feelings of heavy legs persist.
GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai journal of medicine (2011).
SAURAT J. H., LACHAPELLE J. M., LIPSKER D., THOMAS L. et BORRADORI L. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).