What is Eczema? How do you get it?
Eczema is a chronic condition of the skin caused by an allergy to something in the environment but shows up as a condition of the skin unlike asthma whereby allergens within the environment can cause eyes and throat to itch. Eczema is not contagious and the word eczema is a name given to a number of various skin complaints the most common being dermatitis. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis meaning it is closely linked to the allergens which cause asthma and hay fever. The most common symptom of this eczema is extreme itching caused by the allergens within the environment. This form of eczema causes skin to become very dry and inflamed it can cause the skin to have a rash due to itching and also can cause scaling of the skin. It is usually found on the elbows or back of the knees. The rash on the skin would not normally have pimples or blackheads involved but can have blisters due to the itchiness and burning sensation that the patient inflicts upon themselves from a bout of itching. Eczema flare ups can also be the result of certain foods. If there is no flare up and the patient eats a particular food and then there is a redness either on the face or parts of the body then the cause of this is the actual food and so should be deleted from their diet. Other flare ups can be commonly caused by soaps, deodorants and even dust. Stress, overheating and sweating can also cause flare ups. Eczema is not preventable it is a common condition in the breakdown of the skins barrier which allows moisture to escape but a patient can curb flare ups by understanding what the triggers are.
Eczema is also classed as atopic dermatitis and many who have either condition classes it as being the same. Eczema has been classed however as a skin condition which is chronic in nature and dermatitis is one that is more acute. Both have very dry skin conditions to such an extent that the actual barrier function of the skin is broken down allowing it to lose moisture. This loss causes the skin to become dry and cracked. When this happens it can become itchy to such an extent that the patient cannot help themselves but to itch away at the dry skin causing it to have a burning sensation and causing blisters. The only type of creams that can help this is moisturizing emollients the benefits of these heavy creams is that they can trap moisture within the skin and hopefully help to repair it. For some, steroidal creams may need to be prescribed to reduce the inflammation that has been caused.