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Overview

Eczema - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a medical condition which is characterized by rough, cracked, red, itchy and inflamed patches of skin. Sometimes blisters can also occur. Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis.

Eczema facts:

  • Eczema affects the skin functions due to genetic factors, irritated skin, bacterial infection and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Foods such as like dairy products and nuts can also trigger eczema symptoms.
  • It can sometimes also be triggered by environment factors like pollen ad smoke.
  • The treatments usually focuses on treating damaged skin and reducing the symptoms of eczema
  • For many people eczema usually disappears but for others it can last lifelong.

What causes eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is still not known but studies suggest that it occurs due to the combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors. Children are prone in developing eczema if both or one of the parent has atopic disease. Other causes of eczema include:

  • Irritants- Juices, disinfectants, shampoos, detergents, soaps and juices from vegetables, meats and fresh fruits.
  • Allergens- Dandruff, mold, pollens, pets and dust mites.
  • Microbes- Some bacteria like ‘Staphylococcus aureus’ or certain fungi and virus.
  • Cold and hot temperatures- Perspiration from exercise, high low humidity and hot weather can also irritate the skin and trigger eczema.
  • Foods- Certain foods like wheat, soy products, seeds, nuts, eggs and dairy products can also trigger eczema.
  • Stress- Usually stress can worsen the symptoms of eczema.
  • Hormones- Women who have eczema usually experience worsening of the symptoms during menstruation and pregnancy. This usually happens when the hormones level start fluctuating.

Types of eczema:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis (eczema)- A skin reaction which occurs with contact to a foreign substance.
  • Contact eczema- This occurs when the skin comes into contact with a certain allergen.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema- Irritation of the skin on the soles of the feet and palms and is characterized by tiny blisters.
  • Neurodermatitis- Scaly and itchy patches on the lower legs, wrists, forearms and hands.
  • Nummular eczema- Circular patches which are itchy, scaly and crusty.
  • Seborrheic eczema- yellowish, scaly and oily ptches of skin occur on the face and scalp.
  • Stasis dermatitis- This disorder is usually related to circulatory problems and is characterized by skin irritation on the lower legs.

Diagnoses:

Eczema is usually diagnosed by a dermatologist. He/she can recommend patch testing, skin prick testing and supervised food challenges.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Spread by sexual or direct blood contact
Symptoms
Itching. Elevated plaques of red, bumpy skin.

Popular Health Tips

Eczema - How You Can Prevent Its Flare-ups?

MBBS, MD
Dermatologist, Noida
Eczema - How You Can Prevent Its Flare-ups?

Are you experiencing skin itchiness and development of dry, scaly rashes on your skin? This indicates you have eczema, which is a group of skin diseases occurring due to the inflammation and irritation of skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. The disease can be controlled if proper treatment is undertaken.

Symptoms
Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema. In some cases, the itching starts before the development of the rash. The rash appears most commonly on the back of the knees, face, hands, wrists and feet. The affected areas become dry and thickened and in people with a fair complexion, the areas may turn reddish initially and then become brown.

Causes
The specific cause of eczema is yet to be determined. However, the condition is associated with an overactive response by the immune system to an external irritant. This response leads to eczema. The condition is more common in people who have a family history of allergies or asthma.

Treatment

  • As the condition turns the skin dry and itchy, certain creams and lotions are recommended to be used in order to keep the skin moist. You should apply these products when your skin is damp, ideally after taking a shower. This helps the skin in retaining moisture. You can use a cold compress to ease the itching.
  • Several creams such as hydrocortisone cream and ointments which contain corticosteroids are prescribed in order to reduce inflammation.
  • In case the affected area becomes infected, antibiotics should be taken to eliminate the infection-causing bacteria.
  • Antihistamines are used for reducing the severity of the itching. 

Prevention of Eczema Flare-ups

  • Moisturize your skin frequently
  • Avoid sudden changes in humidity or temperature
  • Abstain from overheating and sweating
  • Try to reduce stress
  • Avoid starchy material
  • Avoid soaps, detergents and solvents, which are harsh
  • Be aware of food items which trigger eczema flare-ups

It is recommended for you to consult a dermatologist if you experience any symptom of eczema. This will help you with a quick diagnosis so that you can start the treatment without further worsening of the symptoms. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3471 people found this helpful

Eczema - How To Prevent Its Flare-ups?

MD, D.V.D, MBBS
Dermatologist, Mumbai
Eczema - How To Prevent Its Flare-ups?

Eczema is a common skin problem that appears as red, raised rashes on the skin, commonly the face, neck, elbows, hands, and feet. Considered as an allergic response, it is often seen in people who have a predisposition to other allergies like asthma, hay fever, hives, etc.

The good news is that these have identified patterns, and there are things that can be easily done which can prevent flare-ups.

  1. Reduce soap: Soaps are known to dry the skin up and irritate the skin, so eczema flare-up is common in those who love to lather themselves up. If possible, switch to soap or body wash that contains moisturizer as reduce the bacterial load on the skin. People who live in hot and humid locations, such as Mumbai it is important that they cleanse their face completely, else it can lead eczema eruption. 
  2. Moisturize: Keep a moisturizer handy at all times. Eczema is common when the skin is dry, so keep applying moisturizer at regular intervals and keep eczema at bay. Make it a habit to apply moisturizer soon after the bath. The moist skin soaks it in nicely and provides maximum benefit when applied this way.
  3. Avoid artificial fragrances: While deodorants and skin care creams which contain fragrances smell appealing, they also cause irritation and are harsh on the skin. This exacerbates eczema, and so avoiding these products is advised.
  4. Know your trigger: This could be anything from a dishwasher liquid to a bath soap or a deodorant to some plant in your garden. Over a period of time, you will be able to identify the trigger, and avoid it so that eczema does not flare up. Remember, it is a type of allergy after all.
  5. Detergents for washing clothes: Using milder detergents, especially for undergarments, greatly helps. Also, wash these twice to get rid of all the soap. Avoid fabric softeners as they are fragrant and can cause irritation.
  6. Avoid hot baths: While a hot bath at the end of a long day sounds very relaxing, it also leaves your skin dry. This can worsen the condition of eczema. Add to this the irritation from your bedspread and pillow covers. Unless you have the habit of applying copious amounts of moisturizer before going to sleep.
  7. Cover up your hands and face: When possible, use gloves and a mask especially when washing dishes and using laundry detergents. This way, you can prevent dryness and irritation of the skin on the hands and prevent eczema.
  8. Soak it in the tub: When you stay for about 20 minutes in a tub (no hot water though, but lukewarm), the skin absorbs moisture which prevents it from drying. This greatly helps prevent eczema.
  9. Cut down stress: Like any allergy, eczema acts up when stressed, so manage it. There is no point stressing anyways!

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2637 people found this helpful

Allergic Eczema - Ways You Can Contact It!

MBBS,, PG Diploma In Clinical Cosmetology (PGDCC), Diploma in Trichology - Cosmetology
Dermatologist, Patna
Allergic Eczema - Ways You Can Contact It!

Eczema is something which can really blight the quality of the life of a person. Sometimes, even the most mundane of things can cause our skin to have a reaction, resulting in allergic eczema. However, while it is annoying and painful, there are ways to go about treating it.

It is quite important, though, to understand what exactly eczema is. Simply put, it is a condition which occurs when the skin of the person suffering from it is inflamed.

Among the various groups of people who suffer from eczema, a lot of them are actually babies. However, they thankfully are able to grow out of the issue by the time they become adults. While it is true that eczema can strike any part of a person’s body, among the places it strikes most often are the face, the neck and behind the sweat spots of the body i.e. the area behind the knees and around the ankles.

What causes allergic eczema?
Eczema is a lot of the time, a condition which is genetic. That being said, there are certain things which can go a long way into making it worse, which include stress and dry climates as well as external materials which irritate the skin touching it, like soaps which are just too strong.

What are the Treatment Options?
When it comes to things, which have the potential to make the situation a lot better, there is a group of medicines which are part of the antihistamine group which can work wonders. An interesting thing when it comes to the treatment of allergic eczema is the fact that a lot of the treatment for the issue involves a management of the inflammation that occurs along with an attempt to take better control and manage the immune system of the person who has eczema.


Depending on the severity of eczema a person has, a possible course of treatment involves making use of corticosteroids, which are strictly a prescription based way to go about treating eczema. Keeping this in mind, it is of the highest importance to make sure that whenever the steroids are being taken by mouth, there is a full adherence to what the doctor has recommended or directed.

As a last ditch resort, if the condition is really bad, there is a possibility of going for Ultra Violet Therapy in order to make it better. However, if one is looking for ways to reduce the intensity of their eczema sans higher doses of medication, stress management in something that can work well. In addition to this, a humidifier can do a lot to improve the situation.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2858 people found this helpful

Eczema - 5 Ways It Can Be Treated!

MBBS, MD Dermatology, Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Bangalore
Eczema - 5 Ways It Can Be Treated!

Eczema is a skin condition which is characterized by rough, cracked, red, itchy and inflamed skin. Sometimes it can also cause blisters. Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is a severe condition which starts during infancy and can go on throughout childhood. While some people may outgrow this condition, the rest might have it till adulthood.

Causes of Eczema:
1. Irritants- Certain irritants found in vegetables, meats, juices extracted from fresh fruits, disinfectants, shampoos, detergents and soaps can cause eczema.
2. Allergens- Dandruff, mold, pollens, pets and dust mites can also contribute to Eczema.
3. Microbes- Certain bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus, fungi and viruses can also cause eczema
4. Food products- Many people are allergic to food products such as wheat, soy products, seeds, nuts, eggs and dairy products. This might contribute to Eczema.
5. Stress- This doesn’t cause eczema but can aggravate the symptoms of it.
6. Hormones- Women usually experience worsening of Eczema during certain stages of their menstrual cycle or during pregnancy.

Symptoms of eczema in infants and children:
1. Rashes appearing on the cheeks and scalp
2. Rashes which bubble up before fluid discharge
3. Rashes which cause itchiness and lead to disturbed sleeping; continuous scratching and rubbing can result in skin infections

4. Rashes which can appear behind the creases of the knees and the elbows; these rashes are also common on the legs, creases of the buttocks, ankles, wrists and neck.

Symptoms of Eczema in adults:
1. Rashes on the nape of the neck
2. Rashes on the eyes, face and neck
3. Rashes that can cause extremely dry skin
4. Extreme discomfort caused due to itching
5. Scaly skin caused due to rashes
6. Rashes which can result in skin infections
7. Lichenification, a condition wherein the rashes thicken and develop knots, is also a possibility.

How is Eczema treated?
1. Topical ointments and corticosteroid creams- These are anti-inflammatory medications which relieve symptoms of eczema such as itchiness and skin inflammation.
2. Antibiotics- These are usually prescribed if there is any underlying bacterial skin infection.
3. Antihistamines- These mainly reduce scratching at night. In some cases, it can also cause drowsiness.
4. Topical calcineurin inhibitors- This is a drug that suppresses activities of the immune system. It helps to prevent flare-ups and decrease inflammation.
5. Barrier repair moisturizers- These types of moisturizers repair the skin and reduce water loss from the skin.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3601 people found this helpful

Scalp Peeling - Did You Know It Can Be Of 3 Different Types?

Dermatologist
Dermatologist, Delhi
Scalp Peeling - Did You Know It Can Be Of 3 Different Types?

Eczema of the scalp, which results in itching, flaking, or crusting of the scalp, is called scalp peeling or is commonly referred to as “dandruff”. This condition causes increased shedding of normal scalp skin cells. Dandruff may also be caused by a fungal infection, other than just dehydration of the scalp.

The causes of an extremely dry scalp, thereby causing dandruff or even bigger flakes falling from the head onto shoulders and clothes, may be due to scalp psoriasis, eczema, poor nutrition, generalized dehydration, exposure to too much direct heat, and using too much of shampoo.

The three types of dandruff that need to be treated are those resulting from fungal growth, dry scalp and the one resulting from product build-up.

  1. Fungal growth: This kind of dandruff is a chronic condition, caused by increased oil content on the scalp or an off-balance pH of the scalp. It may also be due to poor cleansing habits, or even an allergic reaction to the hair products one uses. Try switching shampoos, conditioners, or styling products to sulfate-free formulas to cure this condition.
  2. Dry scalp: Sometimes, the skin of the scalp is literally so parched and dry that it is flaky and falls away like snakeskin. People with this kind of dandruff usually have drier hair and notice a tightness in their scalp. To treat dry-scalp dandruff, it is wise to indulge one’s hair with moisturizing and hydrating shampoos, cut down on or space out harsh chemical treatments like relaxers, permanents, or dyes, and take in more moisture from the inside - drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day, and your skin (including your scalp) will show you results that you want. Eliminating sulfates from your shampoos or other hair care products will also help with dry scalp, since these ingredients help strip away natural oils. Brushing hair or massaging the scalp - either with bare fingertips or a few drops of oil - is another great treatment, since massage helps stimulate circulation and bring blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the scalp and hair.
  3. Product buildup: The most common type of dandruff is due to product buildup. This is what happens when people with otherwise healthy manes and scalps use too many styling products, such as layering gels, hair serum, hairspray, wrap lotions, scalp oils, heat-protecting serum, and so on. Dandruff caused by product buildup usually looks more like small clumps or balls of dirt. It may have a brownish color, since all those products attract and trap plenty of dirt and sweat. Product-buildup dandruff also tends to appear sporadically, only when hair is in need of a wash, whereas other types of dandruff show up more quickly and regularly.

To treat this kind of dandruff, one should wash hair more often or simply aim for using minimum chemical-rich hair products. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.

4056 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello doctor I have chronic eczema for 11 month and ring worm for 4 month oral cream used Betnovate GM and Dexoderm cream and fluconazole150 for 6 weeks heal but recently repeated, I'm very frustrated from this problem. Which any type of Medicine for best permanent solutions. Itraconazole or Terbinafine or any other medicine and dosage. Pls suggest me Doctor?

MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Chennai
Stop it. Treatment depends on the severity. Fungal infection or Ring worm. When occurs in groin, called as jock itch. Usually fungal infection is common in moist areas of body like skin folds. It's mostly circular or round in appearance. May be red or black in colour. Treatment depending on the type and severity. Avoid sharing clothes, towels and soap; sweating also increases it. As it has to be differentiated from eczema and infection, its a must to see and confirm the diagnosis for proper treatment. So, please send photos of the affected area by direct online consultation for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

I am suffering from itching in a body for last 3 days and skin is going to black after scratching mostly in my leg and on my hand. I think this is the symptoms of Eczema. Please help me to diagnose it.

BHMS, Diploma in Dermatology
Homeopath, Hyderabad
Avoid perfumed or scented products. Take short baths in tepid water. Use a mild body wash. Take a spa bath. Pat your skin dry. Apply moisturizer religiously. Try antihistamines. Apply ice.

I have been using betnovate and for the last four years. Now I want to leave it. What should I do? I have stopped putting it on, then my face has allergic red color.

MD - General Medicine, Diploma in Dermatology, Diploma in Medical Cosmetology
Dermatologist, Pune
Start using sunscreen every 3 hourly, initially start with physical sunscreens like sun heal pure along with physical protection like handkerchiefs when you go out in sunlight. Stop betnovate slowly if you r using since 4 years .use it twice weekly (Monday and Thursday) for a month then once weekly for 2 months then stop and continue broad spectrum sunscreens. All the best feel free to ask if you have further queries.

Sir! I am suffering from eczema for last 15 years. It happens only on exposed parts i.e. Above neck and hands only. Please suggest remedy.

MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Chennai
You are suffering from Photo dermatitis. Medicine available for good improvement. As the treatment varies depending on the severity. Send photos of the affected area, by direct online consultation for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
2 people found this helpful

Suffering from fungal eczema. not getting well .every time it regenerate what to do. Every kind of medical treatment applied including homeopathy.

MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Bangalore
Fungal infections of skin may be tinea, candidal and many more. Most common infection is tinea also called as ring worm. This needs treatment with oral and topical antifungals. Period of treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the type of response. It may be weeks or months. Expecting cure in few days and running from one doctor to another will cause you more harm than good. Be patient and stick to one doctor. Make sure you are consulting a qualified dermatologist.
4 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Eczema?

What causes eczema?

Types of eczema:

Play video
Skin Pigmentation Treatment
Hi, I am Dr Sangeeta Amladi and I am going to talk to you about Pigmentation.

What is pigmentation and how does it occur?

Pigmentation is a term we used to describe the dark spots or patches or even general darkening of the skin. In the upper layer of the skin, there are certain cells which are called pigment cells and these produce a certain pigment called melanin. This is evenly distributed in the skin and gives colour that we normally possess. We can get darkening of the skin due to many factors, both external and internal at any time of our lives. Most common cause of external pigmentation is ultraviolet radiations. And one of the commonest cause is a hormone, especially in women. Any of these factors can increase the pigment cells in the skin or actually activate the cell to produce more melanin.

What are the common types of Pigmentation?

There are many common types of pigmentation;

Freckles
Age spots
Melasma
Post inflammatory hyper pigmentation etc
These often cause cosmetic problems and hence require treatment.

Freckles are the common response to sunlight. And you can see them as light brown spots on the face and the exposed parts of the body. They are often seen on the fair skin individuals and from very young ages. They can be effectively prevented by good sun screening habits.

Age spots, also called Lentigines are darker spots. And these are often seen as we grow older, over the age of 40

Melasma is a kind of pigment which shows up most commonly on cheeks in the form of brownish or the greyish brown patches which are sharply defined. They can also come up on the forehead or the chin. Two main factors causing melasma are the sunlight and the hormones. And it is more common in women. Very often, melasma occurs either during or post pregnancy.

Often we find pigmentation being left behind after we develop boils, other infections, eczemas, other allergies, injuries etc on the skin and this is something we called as Post inflammatory hyper pigmentation. It is left behind due to the inflammation that is left behind in the skin. There are certain perfumes, cosmetics and other allergens which can on their own leave dark patches on the skin and we call this pigmented contact om titis.

Another common cause of patchy pigmentation is ageing itself and this is because of the effect of ultraviolet radiations and sunlight on the skin. We often see the unevenness tone or little patchy dark spots and an alteration in texture so the skin gets a bit rougher. This we can prevent to a large extent through good sun screening habits which we should adopt at a very young age in life.

Last but not the least, the dark circles. These are the dark patches which we see under our eyes. The problem of dark circles is that they make us look dull and tired.

What is the right approach to treat pigmentation?

If you suffer from pigmentation, then you should be looking for comprehensive and holistic solutions to this problem. There are many different kinds of products, tropically prescribed medication, and chemical peels which when combined together can help us get rid of the superficial pigmentation. Ideally, it should be customized for you by your dermatologist after the detailed evaluation of your specific skin concern and then decide the best possible way to address it. If we need something deeper then there is a specific laser which called the Q switched andiac laser which is very safe and effective and specifically targets the Melanin in the skin without affecting the neighbouring areas and leaves the skin clear and flawless.

What are the everyday essentials to take care of your skin?

The first mantra to really good skin care is to protect your skin using a sunscreen. You can use the sunscreen of SPF 15-30 or could be higher. However, the more important is how you apply it. A sunscreen must be applied to a thin film across the face and the exposed areas of the body and then left on for 15-20 minutes to settle it. If you tend to sweat a lot, you need to apply it after every 2-4 hours. And of course, you should apply a sunscreen when you are indoors because the ultraviolet radiations or even the visible light which is indoors can also affect your skin and cause pigmentation.
A good cleansing regime is very important to keep your skin clean. Choose a cleanser which is formulated for your skin type dry, oily or normal. You can use this twice or thrice daily. If your skin is oily, you can use a toner for deeper cleansing.
After cleansing your skin, you need to hydrate and this can be done using a moisturizer in the day time and sunscreen itself can be the moisturizer. At night, you can sue a night cream containing Vit- C and this will also help you to stay pigmentation free.
A balanced diet, good sleep and exercise is very important in keeping your skin healthy. Incorporate foods in a diet which are rich in Vit- C and sun protecting agents like Beta Keratins and anti oxidants. For example red and orange fruits like carrot, tomatoes and other vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, spinach etc and omega rich foods such as fish
Relax- Destress-Fill your life with positive energy.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice