Dermatologist Prince Albert - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis is referred to as eczema. The term literally means "to boil over", in the Greek language. Practically 1 in 9 people in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the terms dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and usually the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the word eczema implies a chronic condition and dermatitis implies an acute one.
The word "eczema" covers different persistent skin conditions. These comprise recurring skin dryness and rashes which have connected indications of itching, dryness, crusting, flaking, bleeding, oozing, blistering and skin oedema or swelling. At times, temporary skin discoloration could result. Moreover, scratching open a lesion that is in the healing process could enlarge the rash and can cause possible scarring.
Describing the symptoms of eczema could be rather confusing. The descriptions may include the location, the possible cause or the specific appearance. Numerous sources likewise utilize the words atopic dermatitis which is the most common kind of eczema and the word eczema interchangeably with can add to the confusion.
The following classifications are ordered by incidence frequency.
Atopic eczema, that is likewise referred to as atopic dermatitis, infantile eczema or flexural eczema, is an allergic disease believed to have a hereditary element. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the inside of elbows, scalp and head, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular form of eczema is somewhat common in developed nations. It can be difficult to distinguish between irritant contact dermatitis.
The categories which contact dermatitis falls into is allergic and irritant. Irritant dermatitis may be caused to specific irritants including detergents like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can occur as a result of a delayed reaction to certain allergen such as nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an irritant and an allergen. Phototoxic dermatitis can occur along with other substances after exposure to sunlight. About three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant type. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance can be removed from one's environment and avoided, contact eczema can be curable.
There is a form of eczema which becomes worse during dry winter weather conditions and usually affects the trunk and the limbs. It is referred to as xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, winter itch, asteatotic eczema, craquelatum eczema or pruritus hiemalis. The tender, itchy skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This condition is really common amongst older people. A connected disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap in infants is officially known as Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrheic. This is a condition that is usually classified as a type of eczema that is associated closely to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry peeling of the scalp and can even affect the eyebrows, face and occasionally the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a yellow, crusty, thick scalp rash that is called cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is generally curable.
Less Common Types of Eczema
One more type of eczema is called Dyshidrosis or pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, housewife's eczema or vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis. This kind is known for just showing up on the palms, toes and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with small opaque bumps referred to as vesicles, thickening skin and cracks are accompanied by itching which worsens at night. This is a common kind of hand eczema and it gets worse in warm climate.
Other less common types of eczema include Venous e., Discoid e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Neurodermatitis, Autoeczematization as well as various types which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, like lymphoma for example. There are various other rare eczematous disorders that exist in addition to these as well.
Some attribute eczema to the hygiene hypothesis. This particular theory postulates that the cause of eczema, asthma and other allergic diseases is because of a very clean environment. This particular theory is supported by epidemiologic studies meant for asthma that states that during development it is vital to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for asthma and allergy.
One more theory suggested is that eczema is an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites. Although 5% of people show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Normally, the diagnosis of eczema is based mainly on history and physical examination, although, in some cases, a skin biopsy could prove useful.
Individuals suffering from eczema should not receive the smallpox vaccination because of the chance of developing eczema vaccinatum. This is a possibly sever and sometimes fatal complication.
Due to the fact there is no known cure for eczema; treatments are normally based on controlling the indications by reducing inflammation and relieving the itching. There are various medications obtainable like hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with various possible side effects, most commonly thinning the skin, although there is ongoing research in this particular field. Normally, these steroids are to be utilized very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Due to probable chance of lymph node cancers and skin cancers, a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA on the use of immunomodulators. Various expert medical groups disagree with the FDA findings.
Various severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These are sometimes prescribed and could yield dramatic improvements to the patient's eczema but as they dampen the immune system, they can have major side effects. In order to be on this kind of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a medical doctor and go through blood tests on a regular basis.
The itching component of eczema can be counteracted making use of antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce irritation and damage to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Several popular sedating antihistamines consist of Benadryl or Phenergan. Moisturizers are likewise applied to the skin to help the soothing and healing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also used, however, lots of health food stores offer some preparations with essential fatty acids and tea tree oil as an alternative.
Lots of patients have found fast acting relief by applying cool water via swimming, a wet washcloth or a bath. Using an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even utilizing air blowing from an air conditioning vent has proven soothing.
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