Overview – What is it?
Eczema is a term used to refer to a group of skin conditions that cause inflammation to the skin. It is linked to the overreaction to certain substances by the body’s immune system. Eczema can cause redness, itching, rashes and dryness to the affected area.
Diagnosis of eczema involves carrying out a physical exam of the affected area. The treatment for this condition involves using medication to relieve its symptoms, such as itching. The flare-up of eczema can be prevented by moisturizing frequently, avoiding overheating and reducing stress, among other things.
Causes – What causes it?
Eczema is caused by gene variation which affects the skin’s ability to produce protection against bacteria, irritants and allergens. This makes the skin vulnerable to environmental factors, allergens and irritants that increase the risk for eczema.
Symptoms – What do you feel?
The symptoms for eczema depend on the type of eczema a person has. Some of the types of eczema include:
- Atopic dermatitis: Common in people with predisposition to inhalant allergies. It is characterised by rashes on the elbow, neck, cheeks and knee creases and ankles.
- Allergic contact dermatitis: Caused by repeated exposure to some substances making the body’s immune system activated when it is exposed to certain substances.
- Xerotic (dry skin) eczema: Characterised by cracked skin and oozing if the dryness becomes excessive.
Stasis dermatitis: Commonly occurs on the swollen lower legs of people who have poor circulation in the veins of the legs.
Some of the common eczema symptoms are:
- Bumpy skin
- Rashes on the skin
- Dryness on the affected area
- Redness on the affected area which then turns brown
- Change in pigmentation in people who have dark skin
Diagnosis – How do you diagnose it?
Eczema is diagnosed through a physical exam by a doctor, a dermatologist or a paediatrician who finds out your symptoms. Even though there is no specific test for eczema, allergy tests can be done to determine what your trigger may be.
Treatment – How do you treat it?
The treatment for eczema focuses on relieving the symptoms such as itching which can lead to infection. The treatment options are:
- Avoiding extreme temperatures,
- Moisturizing your skin at least twice a day
- Identifying and avoiding skin irritants
- Applying anti-itch cream on the affected area
- Not scratching the affected area
- Applying bandages to cover the affected area
- Taking a warm bath using mild soaps
- Wearing clothes with smooth texture
- Treating stress and anxiety