Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a skin disease that can affect anyone of any age. Although it can be unpleasant to deal with, as it can cause unsightly red splotches and itchy skin, eczema generally does not pose a health threat to those dealing with the condition. Eczema treatment is available, though, and can help relieve the unpleasant symptoms commonly associated with the disease.
What is Eczema?
A fairly common skin condition in children and adults, eczema is actually a general term for various similar conditions. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Other types of eczema include infant or baby eczema, adult seborrhoeic eczema, varicose eczema and discoid eczema.
Eczema is a non-contagious skin disease that occurs for a variety of reasons. People affected by eczema often have to combat itching skin that is dry, hot, raw, broken, and bleeding and that may have blisters, which ooze a clear fluid. Worldwide, between 12% to 25% of children and 10% to 15% of adults are thought to be affected by eczema. However, it is believed that 60% to 70% of children with eczema symptoms will outgrow the condition by their mid-teens.
Cause of Eczema
Because of the various forms of eczema, eczema causes can vary. Atopic eczema, is thought to be hereditary; a hypothesis substantiated by the fact that 80% of children born to parents affected with eczema will also develop the disorder. These individuals are also believed to be more sensitive to allergens, which can contribute to eczema flare-ups.
Other causes of eczema include chemical and detergent irritation; yeast growth; reaction to allergens (such as nickel); and blood circulation issues. The environment and stress are also believed to contribute to eczema although more research is necessary in order to determine their exact relation.
Eczema Skin Symptoms
Depending on the severity of your eczema, you may experience some or all of these eczema symptoms:
- Raw, red skin
- Thickening of skin
- Dry, rough and/or scaly skin
- Inflammation of skin
- Mild to severe itching of affected skin
- Blisters or bumps that appear crusted or may ooze clear fluid
These symptoms may appear occasionally or be present all the time.
Treatment for eczema can vary depending on the form of eczema one is bothered by. Possible forms of eczema treatment include:
- Moisturizers (creams are usually more helpful as lotions often have perfumes and additives that can further irritate skin)
- Steroids (such as corticosteroids in the form of a topical eczema cream or oral capsules)
- Topical immunomodulators
- Minimizing exposure to irritants and allergens
Some people also prefer to try alternative remedies for eczema, such as evening primrose oil; Chinese herbs and possibly dietary changes. These eczema treatments may be helpful for some but have not been thoroughly studied and their full affects are not entirely understood.
Always be sure to consult with a qualified professional before trying any form of eczemas treatment. Currently, there is no cure for eczema.