Eczema: An Overview

Eczema is characterised by inflamed, irritated, and frequently itchy skin. Multiple conditions can present with eczematous rashes including atopic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, or contact dermatitis.

Causes of Eczema

You get this skin condition when anything touching your skin either irritates it or sets off an allergic reaction. Skin itching is frequently the initial symptom, followed by a rash. Here are some common reasons that are conducive to eczema:

  • Dry skin (especially in a too-cold or dry environment).
  • Too much sweating in the skin folds.
  • Irritants – Body wash, shampoo, soap, laundry detergents, surface cleaners, polyester fabrics, fragrances, and disinfectants can cause hand eczema. Metals like nickel, cobalt also contribute to eczema.
  • Some allergens on coming in contact with the skin initiate a hypersensitivity response that can lead to eczema. Some common items that either contain or act like allergens are jewellery, ointments, latex, pet dander, dust particles, foods (such as eggs, peanuts, and milk), and pollen grains.
  • In some cases, genetic factors contribute to the development of eczema. People with asthma are more prone to get eczema.

Types of Eczema

Who Can Get Eczema?

Eczema can affect people of all ages, but it commonly begins in infancy or early childhood. It is estimated that up to 20% of children and 3% of adults worldwide are affected by eczema.

Those with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing eczema. Additionally, factors such as environmental triggers, dry skin, immune system dysfunction, and genetic predisposition contribute to the development of eczema.

Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema symptoms can appear anywhere on the body and vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms that can appear in any kind of eczema include:

  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Itchiness (pruritus)
  • Rash on swollen skin that varies in colour depending on your skin colour
  • Small, raised bumps, on brown or Black skin
  • Oozing and crusting
  • Thickened skin
  • Darkening of the skin around the eyes
  • Raw, sensitive skin from scratching

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) can present with any of the lesions described above. However, the rash follows a characteristic distribution that varies with age.

Infantile AD In babies, the rash can appear as dry, scaly or red, oozing patches especially over the cheeks and scalp.

Childhood AD It is characterised by itchy, scaly patches in the creases of the elbows and knees. It can also appear on the neck, wrists, ankles and legs. In some cases, thickening of skin may become noticeable due to chronic scratching

Adult AD When AD develops after 18 years of age, it presents as extremely dry, itchy skin that gets irritated easily. It can also present as hand eczema or eyelid eczema.

How Can You Mitigate Eczema

    Different types of eczema show varied symptoms, and the treatment differs. However, being mindful of certain precautions can help mitigate the symptoms or flare-ups.

    • Take short baths or showers of 5-10 minutes to hydrate your skin. Use lukewarm water.
    • Add bath oil to your daily bath to lock in moisture and hydrate your skin.
    • Apply an unscented moisturiser throughout the day, usually on the damp skin after bathing or showering.
    • It is recommended to use a humidifier in your bedroom as it helps keep the room cool and moist.
    • Avoid wearing nylon or polyester clothing and prefer loose-fitting cotton garments.

Eczema Treatments In South Delhi At DermaSure Clinic

Eczema can get the best of a patient, especially if they’re grappling with symptoms like burning sensation, redness, and excessive itching. These can cause problems in lifestyle, difficulty staying at ease in the work environment, hamper sleep and so on.

At DermaSure, we handle eczema cases with proper care. First, we focus on knowing the causes of eczema and possible triggers and then move to treatment options suited for the case:

  • Topical ointments or steroidal cream:

    An anti-inflammatory medicine, like CaN inhibitors, that works by reducing immunological response and so reducing inflammation is recommended.

  • Antihistamines:

    These medications aid in reducing scratching, which can aggravate eczema by bleeding. It soothes the patient while impeding future development.

  • Antibiotics, antifungal, or antiviral medications:

    These may be administered for infections depending on the situation.

  • Systemic corticosteroids:

    Oral medications (injections or tablets) that lower inflammation and improve immune system performance.

  • Other immunosuppressants:

    Steroid sparing agents may be used in cases where eczema worsens after stopping corticosteroids and long term treatment is required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, there is no known cure for eczema. However, it can be effectively managed and controlled with appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes. By identifying triggers, using proper skincare routines, and following a treatment plan, individuals with eczema can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life.

To manage and control eczema flare-ups, it is important to establish a comprehensive treatment plan in consultation with a healthcare professional. This may involve using moisturisers to keep the skin hydrated, avoiding triggers such as certain fabrics or irritants, taking prescribed medications or topical corticosteroids, and practising good skincare habits, including gentle cleansing and regular moisturization.

There is a genetic component to eczema, and individuals with a family history of eczema, allergies, or asthma may be more prone to developing the condition. However, eczema can also occur in individuals with no family history of the condition.

While food allergies or sensitivities can trigger eczema flare-ups in some individuals, it is not a common cause for everyone. Common food triggers include dairy products, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and seafood. Identifying and avoiding specific allergens may help reduce symptoms, but it is important to consult an allergist or healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

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