Eczema is a general term for the
several skin inflammations types that exist. Most types of eczema
have very similar symptoms and the most common type is atopic dermatitis
Atopic eczema is very common. It is a chronic, non-contagious disease.
When suffering from atopic eczema, the skin becomes very itchy, with
redness, cracking and swelling. The body goes through periods where
the skin improves greatly and periods where the symptoms worsen.
Atopic dermatitis can occur at any age but it usually starts during
childhood. Affected children usually outgrow the disease soon but
some people may experience symptoms through out their entire lives.
The cause of atopic eczema is unknown but it is thought to be related
to an extreme response from the immune system to a skin irritant and
to genetic factors. This disease is also related to a poorly functioning
immune system. Emotional conditions such as stress can worsen the
symptoms of eczema but do not cause it.
Main features of eczema are:
- Chronic symptoms
- Family history of eczema
Irritants that may exacerbate eczema:
- Wool and synthetic fibers
- Soaps, detergents
- Dust, sand
- Perfumes, cosmetics
- Chlorine, solvents
- Cigarette smoke
The treatment for eczema will vary depending on the age, symptoms
and health of the patient. The main two goals when treating eczema
are healing the skin and preventing recurrences. Doctors will usually
recommend a skin care routine, avoidance of substances that are known
to trigger symptoms and in some cases medication.
Following these steps can prevent recurrence of symptoms:
- Moisturize skin frequently
- Avoid sweating
- Reduce stress levels
- Avoid fibers that are scratchy such as wool
- Avoid soaps and detergents that are known to irritate you skin.