Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. There are several types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis.
In mild cases of eczema, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Sometimes the itch gets so bad that people scratch it until it bleeds, which can make your eczema worse. This is called the “itch-scratch cycle.”
What to look for:
- Dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed skin
- Very bad itching
- Dark colored patches of skin
- Rough, leathery or scaly patches of skin
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
Some More Questions
Eczema affects people of all ages but is primarily seen in children. Those who “grow out” of their eczema during early childhood may see it recur again in later life
It is not contagious so you cannot catch it from someone else.
Atopic eczema is a genetic condition based on the interaction between a number of genes and environmental factors. In most cases there will be a family history of either eczema or one of the other ‘atopic’ conditions i.e dust allergy, asthma or hay fever.
- Moisturize the skin with emollients and keep it hydrated. Simple pure coconut oil is a good moisturizer and is easily available.
- Avoid the use of harsh soaps and long hot showers
- Soap is very drying to the skin and is best avoided by people with eczema. The hands are particularly at risk, as they are washed more frequently. Liquid soaps/cleansers and perfumed products should also be avoided as they tend to irritate skin with eczema.
- Avoid perfumes, stuffed toys.
- Apply emollients after bathing, while water is still trapped in the skin for extra hydration.
- Use liberally and frequently – at least three times a day.
- Apply gently in the direction of the hair growth. Never rub up and down vigorously as this could trigger itching, block hair follicles or create more heat in the skin.
- Continue to use the emollient, even when the eczema has improved as this will help prevent flare ups.