What is Eczema?

Eczema is a general term encompassing various inflamed skin conditions. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Eczema is a group of skin conditions which can affect all age groups. The severity of the disease can vary. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, while in more severe forms the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding. Although it can sometimes look unpleasant, eczema is not contagious. The skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.

It typically affects the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, and the face, but can cover most of the body.

Often the problem fades during childhood, though people with AD have a lifelong tendency to have:

Dry skin-easily irritated.
Occupational skin disease-hand dermatitis.
Skin infections-Stamp and herpes (“cold sores”).
Eye problems-eyelid dermatitis, cataracts.
Family and social relationships disrupted.
Work loss.

What are the causes of Eczema?

No one really knows what causes eczema (atopic dermatitis). It’s causes are many and varied and depend on the particular type of eczema that a person has. however, we do know of certain things that can cause eczema.

Some of the more common causes of eczema flare-ups include:

  • Changes in temperature or humidity.
  • Chemical irritants, such as pesticides, paint strippers, alcohol, astringents, perfumes, harsh soaps, detergents, and household cleaners.
  • Physical irritants, such as clothes made of rough or scratchy fabrics, like wool.
  • Allergies (to dust, pollen, mold, animal dander, etc.).
  • Intense emotion or stress.
  • Infections of any kind.

What are the symptoms of Eczema?

Symptoms of eczema include-

  • Itchy skin.
  • Inflamed skin.
  • Skin redness.
  • Skin swelling.
  • Skin cracking.
  • Weeping.
  • Crusting.
  • Scaling.
  • Blisters.
  • Red cheek rash.
  • Crusty rash on cheek.
  • Arm rash.
  • Crusty arm blisters.
  • Leg rash.
  • Crusty leg blisters.
  • Rash inside the elbow.
  • Rash behind the knees.
  • Difficulty sleeping – because of the itch.

What is the treatment done for Eczema?

The main goal of treatment is to minimize and treat symptoms. Treatment may include the following recommendations:

  • Avoid irritants that tend to worsen symptoms.
  • Avoid scratching the lesions.
  • Keep the skin moist with lotions and ointments to reduce symptoms.
  • Avoid excessive bathing and lengthy exposure to baths to reduce flare-ups.
  • Don’t bathe babies with soap too frequently. Mild neutral soaps are recommended as needed, and bubble baths should be avoided.
  • Keep infants’ and children’s fingernails cut short to avoid irritating lesions from scratching.
  • Avoid heavy ointments such as petroleum jelly or vegetable shortening. These can make symptoms worse because these products block the sweat glands.