Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that causes red, itchy, and scaly skin. It is part of the group of conditions called atopic diseases, which also includes asthma and hay fever. Scroll till the end to find out the causes, symptoms, types, prevention, and treatment of eczema.
What Is Eczema
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that causes red, itchy, and scaly skin. It is a type of inflammatory skin condition that commonly affects children, but can also affect adults. It is part of the group of conditions called atopic diseases, which also includes asthma and hay fever.
The exact cause of eczema is not known, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with this skin condition often have a family history of the condition or other atopic diseases. Certain triggers can also cause eczema to flare up, such as stress, changes in temperature or humidity, exposure to certain chemicals, and infections.
Types Of Eczema
There are several different types of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, each with its own set of symptoms and characteristics. Some of the most common types include:
This is the most common type of eczema, characterized by dry, itchy skin and a red, scaly rash. It typically begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood.
This typically occurs when the skin comes into contact with a specific substance, such as an allergen or an irritant. It can cause a red, itchy, and swollen rash at the site of contact.
This type causes small, itchy blisters on the hands and feet. It is more common in women and is often triggered by stress or exposure to certain metals.
This type causes coin-shaped, itchy, and scaly patches on the skin. It is more common in older adults and is often triggered by dry skin or changes in temperature.
This type causes red, scaly patches on the scalp, face, and other areas of the body where there is a high concentration of oil glands. It is more common in adults and is often mistaken for dandruff.
This type is caused by poor blood circulation in the legs and is characterized by redness, itching, and scaling in the lower legs.
Lichen Simplex Chronicus:
This type is caused by chronic rubbing or scratching of the skin, which leads to thickened, itchy, and scaly patches.
It’s important to note that some people may have symptoms of more than one type of eczema. It’s important to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs and symptoms.
Causes Of Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
The exact cause is not fully understood. It is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or other atopic diseases.
Some of the possible causes include:
People with eczema often have a family history of the condition, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the disease.
Immune system dysfunction:
It is an inflammatory condition, and research suggests that people with eczema may have an overactive immune response to certain triggers.
Certain environmental factors can trigger eczema flare-ups, such as dry skin, changes in temperature or humidity, exposure to certain chemicals, and infections.
Skin barrier dysfunction:
People with this condition have a deficiency in a protein called filaggrin, which helps to form the skin barrier. This deficiency can lead to dry, easily irritated skin.
Recent research suggests that this skin condition may be associated with an imbalance in the skin microbiome.
Some studies suggest that this skin condition may be linked to food allergies, particularly in infants and young children.
It’s important to note that the causes of eczema can vary from person to person and some people may have more than one cause. A medical professional can give you a proper diagnosis and help you determine what may be triggering this skin condition.
What Are Symptoms
Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
Dry, scaly skin:
The skin may feel rough, tight, and itchy.
Red, itchy patches of skin:
These patches may be swollen and may crust or bleed if scratched.
Crusting or scaling of the skin: The skin may develop a thick, scaly appearance.
Blisters or bumps that ooze fluid:
These may appear on the skin and may be accompanied by itching.
Thickening of the skin:
This condition can cause thickening of the skin, especially in areas that are frequently scratched.
Symptoms can appear on different parts of the body but often appear on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. They can also come and go and can be mild or severe. Some people may have symptoms that are mainly confined to a few small areas of the body, while others may have widespread eczema. Symptoms can also change over time and may be more severe at some times than others. It’s important to consult a medical professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and to manage the symptoms.
How To Treat Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
There are several treatment options, including:
Keeping the skin moisturized is an important part of managing this condition. Using a moisturizer immediately after bathing can help trap water in the skin and prevent dryness.
These are creams or ointments that can reduce inflammation and itching. They are available in various strengths and can be prescribed by a dermatologist.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors:
These are prescription creams that can help reduce inflammation and itching.
These can help relieve itching, especially at night.
UV light therapy can help reduce inflammation and improve the overall appearance of the skin.
These are prescription creams that can help reduce inflammation and improve the overall appearance of the skin, they are usually prescribed for moderate to severe eczema.
Oral or injectable medications:
In severe cases, oral or injectable medications may be prescribed to help control eczema.
It’s important to note that treatment plans are tailored to each individual, and it’s best to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you.
How To Prevent Eczema
There are several ways to prevent eczema flare-ups, including:
Keeping the skin moisturized can help prevent dryness and itching.
Certain soaps, detergents, and other products can irritate the skin and trigger eczema flare-ups.
Certain environmental factors, such as dry air or certain foods, can trigger eczema. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help prevent flare-ups.
Stress can make eczema worse, so finding ways to manage and reduce stress can help prevent flare-ups.
Scratching can further irritate the skin and make eczema worse, so it is important to find other ways to soothe the itch such as using a moisturizer or taking a warm bath.
Use of medicated creams or ointments: if the eczema is severe or not controlled by the above measures, consulting a dermatologist and using medicated creams or ointments as prescribed may help in preventing eczema.
Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. The exact cause of eczema is not known, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Prevention of eczema flare-ups includes regular moisturizing, avoiding irritants and triggers, managing stress, avoiding scratching, and using medicated creams or ointments as prescribed.
Treatment options include moisturizing, topical corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, oral antihistamines, light therapy, immunomodulators, and oral or injectable medications. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for the individual.