Eczema -causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Treatment of Eczema

Eczema (from Greek ??????) is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the upper layers of the skin. The term eczema is broadly applied to a range of persistent skin conditions. These include dryness and recurring skin rashes which are characterized by one or more of these symptoms: redness, skin edema (swelling), itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, blistering, cracking, oozing, or bleeding.

Eczema is a term for several different types of skin swelling. Eczema is also called dermatitis. It is not dangerous, but most types cause red, swollen and itchy skin. Factors that can cause eczema include other diseases, irritating substances, allergies and your genetic makeup. Eczema is not contagious.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of eczema can vary widely during the early phases. Between 2 and 6 months of age (and almost always before the age of 5 years), children with eczema usually develop itchy, dry, red skin and small bumps on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. Some people develop red bumps or clear fluid-filled bumps that look “bubbly” and, when scratched, add wetness to the overall appearance.

While any region of the body may be affected by eczema, in children and adults, eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.

What Causes Eczema
Genetic defect in the epidermal barrier that makes the skin susceptible to breakdown by irritants such as detergents and dust mites. which may allow increased penetration of antigens.Atopic eczema is the most common form. It tends to develop in childhood, sometimes just after birth. Many children grow out of it as they get older, but it can flare up again when they’re adults.

Though much of atopic dermatitis is genetic and caused by the “atopic” or reactive immune system, environmental factors are also very important. Eczema may be set off by extreme temperatures, stress, sweating, medication, clothing (especially wool or silk), grease, oils, soap and detergents, and environmental allergens.

Treatment of Eczema
Neurodermatitis. Getting you to stop scratching and to avoid further aggravating your skin are the treatment objectives. Accomplishing this may mean covering the affected area to prevent you from scratching it. Hydrocortisone and similar lotions and creams may help soothe your skin. You also may find that wet compresses provide relief. Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications are helpful for some people.

The type of medication prescribed will depend on many factors, including the type of eczema, past treatment, and the patient’s preference. Topical (applied to the skin) medication is frequently prescribed. If the eczema is more severe, phototherapy (a type of treatment that uses light therapy) or systemic (circulates throughout the body) medication may be prescribed.New topical immune-modulating drugs also may help. Sold as Protopic and Elidel, the drugs offer many of the benefits of corticosteroids — and avoid the side effects. Some dermatologists have begun to use these products as first-line therapies, although such use remains controversial.