In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of eczema, exploring its symptoms, triggers, and various treatment approaches. We will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you better understand eczema and empower you to take control of your skin health. Whether you are a sufferer seeking relief or simply seeking knowledge about this common dermatological condition, this guide will serve as a valuable resource.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes itching, redness, and dryness of the skin. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages, but it is most commonly found in infants and young children. Eczema is characterised by recurring flare-ups and remissions, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Types of Eczema
The most common type of eczema, often appears in childhood and continues into adulthood. It is associated with a family history of allergies and asthma.
Caused by direct contact with irritants or allergens, such as certain metals, soaps, cosmetics, or plants like poison ivy. It results in localised inflammation and itching.
Characterised by coin-shaped patches of irritated skin that can be itchy, red, and scaly. It often occurs on the arms, legs, or torso and can be triggered by dry skin or certain chemicals.
Typically affects the hands and feet, causing small, itchy blisters. tension, allergies, or exposure to certain metals can trigger flare-ups.
Commonly affects the scalp, causing dandruff-like flakes and redness. It can also occur on the face, ears, and other oily areas of the body.
Occurs when there is poor blood circulation in the legs, leading to swelling, redness, and itchy skin. It primarily affects older adults with circulatory issues.
A type of atopic dermatitis that affects infants, causing itchy patches on the face, scalp, and extremities. It often improves with age.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema often runs in families, suggesting a genetic component to its development.
Immune system dysfunction:
Abnormal immune responses and inflammation play a role in eczema, leading to skin irritation and itching.
Exposure to irritants like harsh soaps, detergents, certain fabrics, and allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms.
People with eczema often have a defective skin barrier, resulting in increased moisture loss and susceptibility to irritants.
Emotional tension can trigger or exacerbate eczema symptoms in some individuals
How Common is Eczema?
Eczema is a common skin condition that affects a significant number of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that around 15-20% of children and 1-3% of adults globally have eczema. The prevalence of eczema varies among different populations and regions. Developed countries, particularly those with higher levels of industrialization and urbanisation, tend to have higher rates of eczema. Additionally, the condition is more prevalent in individuals with a family history of allergies or asthma.
One of the hallmark symptoms of eczema is intense itching, which can be persistent and worsen during flare-ups.
Dryness and redness:
Eczema-prone skin is often dry, rough, and may appear red or inflamed.
Rash or patches:
Raised or scaly patches of skin may develop, often in the folds of the elbows, behind the knees, or on the face, neck, and hands.
Swelling and inflammation:
Eczema can cause swelling and increased sensitivity in the affected areas.
Cracking or weeping:
In severe cases, the skin may crack, ooze fluid, or develop crusts.
Regularly applying moisturiser helps keep the skin hydrated and reduces dryness, a common trigger for eczema flare-ups.
These prescription medications help reduce inflammation and relieve itching during eczema flare-ups.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors:
Non-steroidal creams or ointments can be used as an alternative to corticosteroids, especially for sensitive areas like the face or groyne.
Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines can help alleviate itching and promote better sleep.
Identifying and avoiding triggers such as certain fabrics, harsh soaps, allergens, or irritants can help prevent or minimise eczema flare-ups.
Wet wrap therapy:
Wrapping the affected areas with damp dressings or clothing after applying moisturisers or medication can enhance their effectiveness and provide relief.
Controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light under medical supervision can help reduce inflammation and improve eczema symptoms.
How to Cure Eczema Permanently?
Currently, there is no known cure for eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition, meaning that it can persist over time. However, with proper management and care, it is possible to effectively control symptoms and achieve long-term remission. Treatment strategies focus on minimising flare-ups, relieving symptoms, and improving the overall quality of life. This includes identifying and avoiding triggers, implementing a consistent skincare routine with moisturisers, using prescribed medications such as corticosteroids or topical calcineurin inhibitors during flare-ups, and practising good skin hygiene.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition causing dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Although there is no cure, understanding symptoms and treatments empowers individuals to manage it effectively. By utilising moisturisers, medications, and making lifestyle adjustments, eczema can be controlled to improve quality of life.
Q: Is eczema a fungal infection?
A: No, eczema is not a fungal infection. It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition.
Q: What foods trigger eczema outbursts?
A: Food triggers can vary from person to person, but common culprits include dairy products, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and seafood. It is important to identify personal triggers through an elimination diet or allergy testing.
Q: Is Vaseline good for eczema?
A: Vaseline or petroleum jelly can be beneficial for eczema as it helps to lock in moisture and create a protective barrier on the skin.
Everything You Need to Know About Eczema, By S. Srakocic, on November 24, 2021