Eczema is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin, causing redness, itching and in some cases, infections. The condition is non-contagious and severity levels can differ for each individual.
People with eczema have skin that does not preserve moisture very well, causing the skin to dry out. This makes their skin more susceptible to allergens and irritants, causing the skin to release chemicals which causes an itching sensation. Scratching the skin releases more of these chemicals, increasing the feeling of itchiness, leaving those who are diagnosed in a vicious cycle.
There are a few types of eczema including:
- Atopic – most common type of eczema, affecting children in particular
- Asteatotic – affects people over the age of 60, appearing as red grooves
- Contact – occurs as a result of irritants and allergens in the environment
- Discoid – ‘coin shaped’ discs of eczema which leave the skin flaky and often ooze
- Adult Seborrhoeic – rashes with large amounts of grease such as the scalp and nose
- Infantile Seborrhoeic – usually appears 2 to 6 weeks after birth, in greasy areas like the scalp and nose
- Pompholyx – usually restricted to the hands and feet defined by blistering
- Varicose – common in people with poor circulation.
The causes of eczema are not fully understood, but it is thought genetic factors may increase your risk of inheriting the condition. The condition usually comes alongside other allergies such as hay fever, dust mite and asthma. Eczema will become present in the first few months of life.
Flare ups of eczema can be triggered by heat, detergent, dust and soap. In some cases, inflammation can be linked to diet, so it is important to take note of any patterns in eating habits which cause flare ups.
The after-hours doctors at House Call Doctor recommend seeking advice from your healthcare professional to identify triggers of your eczema. Additionally, they may be able to find a cream or ointment which eases the symptoms of dryness and itching.