What is Erythrodermic Eczema?

What is it?

Erythroderma eczema is a potentially life threatening skin disease which is characterised by rash and scaling of over 90% of the body surface [source]. 

Otherwise known as exfoliative dermatitis, this form of eczema is deadly but rare. Most sufferers have a pre-existing skin disease but 30% of the cases are idiopathic – that is to say the cause is unknown [source].

Erythrodermic eczema can lead to complications and metabolic burdens which cause it to be potentially fatal. Potential complications can include infections of the skin where it is peeling, loss of nutrients and dehydration. 

What causes erythrodermic eczema?

Underlying skin conditions

Most people who suffer from erythrodermic eczema have pre-existing skin disease conditions which are known to be associated with erythroderma. These include: 

  • Psoriasis 
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema 

Drug reactions

Other reasons include reactions to drugs. 

Reactions to penicillin, topical medication and even blood pressure medications may produce or contribute to this condition. 

Other reasons

Erythroderma may also be a symptom of a more progressive disease affecting your overall well-being, including: 

  • Leukaemia
  • Prostate or colon cancer
  • HIV


Common symptoms will be similar to dermatitis and psoriasis of the skin, and include: 

  • Itchy, red and warm skin (inflammation)
  • Scaly, peeling skin
  • The scaling may develop on your scalp, leading to hair loss
  • Nails could change colour going darker and becoming thicker 

Other symptoms include flu-like conditions such as fever and chills; due to the heat loss occurring from the damaged skin. 

Your skin may also ooze which can affect your clothes and create an unpleasant smell. 

Complications can vary and will usually include skin shedding which leads to nutritional deficiencies and inability to absorb Vitamin D. As your skin continues to shed, the risk of infections becomes significantly greater as your skin acts as a barrier to your organs, muscles and bones. 


Exfoliative dermatitis (erythrodermic eczema) is a serious condition and one which will need specialist treatment. Your treatment provider will aim to correct dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, while reducing inflammation. 

Natural Remedies

As we’ve said above, this condition is a serious condition with potentially life threatening consequences. 

While there is no cure without understanding the underlying condition and taking treatment to ensure your body does not suffer from dehydration and mineral loss, there are a couple of lifestyle changes which can be done to help reduce the likeliness of developing this condition. 

The underlying conditions need to be addressed; whether a skin condition such as psoriasis or dermatitis (which could be triggered by lactose intolerance, irritants and stress). 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is usually promising for its resolve against eczema symptoms is it anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which could soothe flare ups.

However, whether it works on you as an individual could be another story entirely. Plus, you maybe allergic to coconut, so be aware before trying. 


Turmeric is another remedy but not proven to help relieve eczema conclusively, and people have had mixed results. However, like coconut oil, turmeric does contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidative compounds which could help relieve the inflammation. Once you relieve the inflammation and associated itch, the reduced scratch could help further relieve the flare ups and eventually manage the condition. 

Vitamins / Supplements

Most of our modern-day ailments can be prescribed to a diet low in vitamins and minerals. Eczema is an immune system response to an underlying condition, and it follows to strengthen the immune system to help relieve eczema. 

Common deficiencies include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium / Zinc
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Pre and Probiotics

By supplementing with these vitamins and supplements, you may find your immune system improving, lending itself to improved management of eczema. 

Acupressure Massage, Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong

Acupressure massage, meditation and a form of Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong have one theme in common. They are traditional remedies and are all designed to help reduce stress, while building up mental energy.

Stress releases cortisol and can contribute to an inflammation of your body in response to the “fight or flight” symptom associated with stress. And inflammation is the key symptom behind eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. 

They all work on the adage of releasing energy blockages and controlling our stress state. As our bodies have energy system, the proper flow of which helps our physical body function efficiently, by tackling any blockages which have developed over time could help release the issues and underlying conditions which are causing the immune response in the first place.