Dermatologist Vernon - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin known as the epidermis is referred to as eczema. The word literally means "to boil over", in the Greek language. Virtually 1 in 9 people in the UK have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the terms eczema and dermatitis are synonymous and usually the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the term eczema implies a chronic condition and dermatitis refers to an acute one.
The word "eczema" covers various persistent skin conditions. These comprise recurring skin dryness and rashes which have associated signs of dryness, itching, flaking, crusting, bleeding, oozing, blistering and skin oedema or swelling. At times, temporary skin discoloration could result. In addition, scratching open a lesion which is in the healing process could enlarge the rash and can result in potential scarring.
Describing the indications of eczema can be rather confusing. The descriptions could consist of the location, the possible cause or the specific appearance. Lots of sources likewise use the terms atopic dermatitis which is the most common type of eczema and the word eczema interchangeably with can add to the confusion.
These classifications are ordered by the frequency of incidence.
Atopic eczema is referred to as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis. It is an allergic disease which is thought to have a hereditary element. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with individuals who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the inside of elbows, head and scalp, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular type of eczema is rather common in developed nations. It can be difficult to differentiate between irritant contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis falls into two categories: allergic and irritant. Irritant dermatitis could result directly from a reaction to something particular like for example a detergent like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can happen as a result of a delayed reaction to some allergen like nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance that acts as both an allergen and an irritant. Phototoxic dermatitis can take place along with other substances after exposure to sunlight. Approximately 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 that becomes worse during dry winter climate and commonly affects the trunk and the limbs. It is called xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, pruritus hiemalis or craquelatum eczema. The tender, itchy skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This particular condition is really popular among older people. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Infants often have a condition of Cradle cap, or Seborrheic or Seborrhoeic dermatitis. This particular condition can also be classed as a type of eczema related directly to dandruff. It causes a dry or greasy peeling of the scalp and could also have an effect on the face, eyebrows 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 which is called cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is usually 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 only showing up on the soles, palms and sides of fingers and toes. It presents with tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching which worsens at night. This is a common form of hand eczema and it becomes worse during warm conditions.
Other less common kinds of eczema comprise Venous e., Discoid e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Neurodermatitis, Autoeczematization as well as other kinds which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, like lymphoma for instance. There are numerous other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these as well.
Some attribute eczema to the hygiene hypothesis. This particular theory postulates that the cause of eczema, asthma as well as other allergic diseases is due to an overly clean environment. This theory is supported by epidemiologic research for asthma which states that during development it is very important to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the possibility for allergy and asthma.
One more theory suggested is that eczema is an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites. Although 5 percent of people show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Usually, the diagnosis of eczema is based mostly on physical examination and history, although, in some cases, a skin biopsy may prove helpful.
Individuals who have eczema must not be given the smallpox vaccination due to the risk of developing eczema vaccinatum. This is a potentially sever and at times fatal complication.
Due to the fact there is no known treatment for eczema; treatments are generally based on controlling the symptoms by reducing inflammation and relieving the itching. There are several medications offered like for example hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, injectable or oral corticosteroids. These come with various possible side effects, most normally thinning the skin, even if there is ongoing research in this particular field. Normally, these steroids are to be utilized very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are one more form of treatment even though a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA due to possible possibility of lymph node cancer and skin cancer. Various expert medical groups disagree with the FDA findings.
Some severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These are occasionally prescribed and could yield dramatic improvements to the patient's eczema but as they dampen the immune system, they can have major side effects. To be able to be on this form of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a physician and undergo blood tests regularly.
The itching factor of eczema can be counteracted utilizing antihistamine and other anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce irritation and damage to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Several popular sedating antihistamines include Benadryl or Phenergan. Moisturizers are also 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, although, a lot of health food stores provide some preparations along with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an alternative.
Lots of patients have found fast acting relief by applying cool water via a bath, swimming or a wet washcloth. Using an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even using air blowing from an air conditioning vent has proven soothing.
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