Eczema is a problem in which a person’s skin faces issues like itchiness, roughness, redness, and makes skin inflamed. There are different types of eczema, some of them make skin blisters and some of them are eczema on the face. In India, 1 out of 5 children suffers from this which undoubtedly makes it big. Usually known by the name of atopic dermatitis (the most famous one), this word atopic means a group of situations/ issues that includes the immune system and the term dermatitis means skin inflammation.
Types of Eczema
There are different types of eczema (not only the common atopic dermatitis). Other types are as follows:
- Allergic Dermatitis: It is a type of eczema/ skin reaction that occurs due to contact with some substance. The immune system considers it as an allergen or a foreign substance, hence reacts to it.
- Nummular Eczema: This is also called discoid eczema and this is usually visible in circular patches which are itchy. It can also be crusted or scaly.
- Neuro Dermatitis: This type results in scaly patches on the lower legs, forearms, and head. It looks like an insect bite and usually started with a localized itching.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema: This type usually has skin blisters. It occurs on the palms and soles and is in the form of irritation on the skin
- Stasis Dermatitis: This type has skin irritation usually on the lower leg and is a kind of circulatory problem.
Causes of Eczema
Eczema usually starts in the first year of childhood but can happen at any point in life. Most of the children recover from this by the time they reach their teen, but in some of them, it stays into adulthood as well. Eczema is not communicable, i.e. cannot be transferred from one person to another but eczema affected skin can have other infections like cold sores or warts. Causes of eczema include:
- Allergens like foods, pollen, and mites
- Genetic (eczema can be from families)
- Dysfunction in the immune system results in skin inflammation
- Usual irritants like infections, humidity, stress, or sweating
- Dry skin or related factors that cause dry skin (could be an infection)
Eczema normally begins on the face and then spreads to the hands and feet. Adults have affected areas at wrists, elbows, neck, feet, and ankles. Out of these, feet and hands are the most common areas where eczema has its maximum effect. The most common symptoms include:
- Itching: It could be one of the worst things for children as it makes them scratch repetitively which further results in redness, rashes, and possible infections in some children.
- Redness: This is usually the most common symptom which is due to extra blood flow at affected areas. As stated above, this is also caused by itching
- Grainy skin: This is caused by blisters which are fluid-filled under vesicles (a skin)
- Rough scratchy areas: Due to scratching at affected areas, skin looks rough and thicker with a leathery look
- Pale Patches: In patches, skin looks pale as eczema reduces the pigment production (pigment production is for skin color), hence skin becomes fade & looks disappeared in that area.
- When fluid dries, it results in the formation of crusts
- Dry & scaly skin: Children sometimes have dry skin due to eczema or it could also be due to family skin type, but dry skin could be an eczema factor
- Weeping: This could be due to a burst of blisters. This burst usually occurs due to scratching or could be by itself, and that fluid is emitted on the skin surface resulting in weeping.
First, try to find out what increases or reduces your eczema, and then take necessary precautions. The main goal is to lower the effects of itching and prevent further related infections. These tips can be considered for eczema treatment:
- Use a cream or ointment to keep your skin moisturized. For this, lotions usually don’t perform. Use cream/ ointments many times a day including post-shower, and instead of a hot shower, take warm water.
- If you experience emotional issues or high-stress levels, visit a therapist or psychiatrist and take necessary medications
- If dry air is making your skin look dry, take a humidifier and use it regularly
- Don’t use soaps & other products which have perfumes or alcohol. Always use products that have no fragrance or are for sensitive skin
- Use ceramide-made skin products. They have the ability to replace glue from the skin (considered as a barrier for skin)
- Cortisone is an OTC drug and if applied as a cream or ointment, it can ease itching and reduce redness
- In case of severe itching, take antihistamines (an OTC drug)
- Your doctor may prescribe creams, pills with steroids), take those medicines. These usually have long term side effects like skin thinning, increased weight, or high BP
- Phototherapy: Sunlight is a solution to many problems, and so for eczema. UV light waves in sunlight have been effective in treating eczema in many.
Treatment of eczema could be tough if the cause is genetics (as it’s not under someone’s control), but luckily, you can treat it if it’s due to environmental or stress.