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:
- Irritants- Certain irritants found in vegetables, meats, juices extracted from fresh fruits, disinfectants, shampoos, detergents and soaps can cause eczema.
- Allergens- Dandruff, mold, pollens, pets and dust mites can also contribute to Eczema.
- Microbes- Certain bacteria such as Staphylococcus Aureus, fungi and viruses can also cause eczema
- 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.
- Stress- This doesn’t cause eczema but can aggravate the symptoms of it.
- Hormones- Women usually experience worsening of Eczema during certain stages of their menstrual cycle or during pregnancy.
Symptoms of eczema in infants and children:
- Rashes appearing on the cheeks and scalp
- Rashes which bubble up before fluid discharge
- Rashes which cause itchiness and lead to disturbed sleeping; continuous scratching and rubbing can result in skin infections
- 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:
- Rashes on the nape of the neck
- Rashes on the eyes, face and neck
- Rashes that can cause extremely dry skin
- Extreme discomfort caused due to itching
- Scaly skin caused due to rashes
- Rashes which can result in skin infections
- Lichenification, a condition wherein the rashes thicken and develop knots, is also a possibility.
How is Eczema treated?
- Topical ointments and corticosteroid creams- These are anti-inflammatory medications which relieve symptoms of eczema such as itchiness and skin inflammation.
- Antibiotics- These are usually prescribed if there is any underlying bacterial skin infection.
- Antihistamines- These mainly reduce scratching at night. In some cases, it can also cause drowsiness.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors- This is a drug that suppresses activities of the immune system. It helps to prevent flare-ups and decrease inflammation.
- Barrier repair moisturizers- These types of moisturizers repair the skin and reduce water loss from the skin.