Eczema is broadly referred as a range of chronic skin inflammation and other associated skin conditions. eczema is also known as ‘Atopic dermatitis’, the most common form of eczema. People suffering from eczema often have family history of eczema, and may also suffers from other allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever. Eczema is not contagious.

Symptoms : The symptoms of eczema are as follows:

  • dryness
  • recurring skin rashes
  • redness of the affected area
  • skin edema or swelling
  • itching and dryness
  • crusting
  • flaking
  • blistering
  • cracking
  • oozing
  • bleeding

Types of eczema : The classification of eczema is not based on any definite characteristics so it is unsystematic and haphazard.

Common types of eczema :

  1. Atopic dermatitis :It is an allergic skin condition where the skin react abnormally and easily to allergens and irritants forming itchy rash on head and scalp, neck, inside of elbows, behind knees and buttocks. This condition is more common in infants but may also affects adults. The people suffering form atopic dermatitis often prone to other allergic diseases like asthma and hay fever.
  2. Contact dermatitis : The name itself imply that this kind of dermatitis results by the contact of some chemicals. Contact dermatitis further classified into two types :
  3. Allergen type : Caused by some allergens like poison ivy or nickel. The reaction is generally delayed.
  4. Irritant type : Caused by some irritant like detergent or cement and the reaction is direct.
  5. Xerotic eczema : When the skin became dry, cracked, chapped and itchy due to dry weather or age.
  6. Seborrhoeic dermatitis : It is a skin condition characterised by scaly, flaky, itchy, and red skin generally affecting the scalp, face, and torso. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is often known as cradle cap in infants.

Less common type of eczema :

  1. Dyshidrotic eczema : In this type of eczema small blisters are appear on the tips and sides of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles. The blisters are may or may not be itchy. This skin condition is also known as pompholyx, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis, housewife’s eczema.
  2. Discoid eczema or nummular eczema or exudative eczema or microbial eczema : This is characterized by round spots of oozing or dry rash. It is often affected the lower legs and buttocks. It is usually worse in dry weather
  3. Venous eczema : Generally affects the people with impaired circulation, varicose veins and edema. This eczema is common in the ankle area .
  4. Autoeczematization : This type of eczema triggers by some infections and generally the reaction occurs some distance away from the original infection.
  5. Dermatitis herpetiformis or Duhring’s disease : In this condition blister filled with watery fluid appear on the skin ( except the symptoms DH is not related to herpes). A connection present between Dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten intolerance.
  6. Lichen simplex chronicus : This type of skin disorder is characterized by chronic itching and scratching, that leads to thick, leathery, brownish skin.

Causes of eczema

The definite cause behind eczema is still unknown but is observed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may responsible for the condition. It is also seen that there is some connection between coeliac disease and eczema. Sometime the failure of the body to metabolize linoleic acid into y-linoleic acid (GLA) may be a cause behind eczema.

Management :

Non Drug Treatment

  1. Taking enough water to keep the skin hydrated
  2. Avoid taking long shower shower bath or using less soap
  3. Using mild soap and good moisturizer
  4. Applying cold compresses is effective for reducing itching.
  5. Reducing stress

Medications :

  1. Corticosteroids like hydrocortisone (for mild to moderate cases ) and clobetasol propionate (for more severe cases ) are highly effective in controlling eczema.
  2. Topical application of immunosuppressants like pimecrolimus and tacrolimus may use to manage eczema.
  3. Antihistamine like promethazine (Phenergan) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may help to relieve symptoms.

Therapy :

Photo therapy or deep penetrating light therapy : Therapy using ultraviolet light can help to control eczema.