What is Eczema? – A Common Skin Ailment

Many of you might have heard about Eczema. There might be some of you who might be suffering from the condition or know somebody who has the problem. But, what is eczema? Eczema is a kind of dermatitis. It is a skin problem that is quite common in infants and small children although it can occur at any age. The affected skin becomes dry and itchy along with redness and the appearance of rashes in the area.

There are several types of Eczema although a few common types include atopic eczema, contact dermatitis, xerotic eczema, seborrhoeic eczema to name a few. The etiology of eczema is not properly understood but a few types like atopic eczema is believed to have a hereditary origin while others like contact dermatitis is due to some allergens or irritants.

Eczema can affect any area of the body although it is more commonly seen to affect the skin in the head and neck area in infants. The same areas along with other areas like ankles, knees and elbows are affected in children and in adults. A diagnosis is attained by physical evaluation as well as by taking a detailed medical and personal history that includes allergies, lifestyle, diet, medications, occupation, etc. some of the diagnostic tests that are performed to confirm the diagnosis include blood tests to confirm levels of IgE antibodies and certain other tests including skin patch testing. Sometimes, even skin biopsies are done to confirm the diagnosis.

Symptoms

Eczema is characterized by certain symptoms but appearance may differ from patient to patient. The most common symptom is the dryness of the skin in the affected areas. The dryness leads to other symptoms like cracking, peeling, flaking, etc. It also leads to the other characteristic symptom, itching.

Itching is found in almost all cases of eczema but it is not necessary that all skin conditions with itching are eczema. It is common for people suffering from this condition to scratch the affected areas due to the itching sensation. With constant scratching, the affected areas tend to become reddish and rashes begin to appear. The area becomes inflamed and sometimes the affected area might get thickened and crusty.

The skin in the affected areas might open up and lead to bleeding and oozing. Sometimes, these areas can get infected by bacteria and lead to formation of pus filled blisters. Blisters can also form in lesions that are not infected but these are filled with a clear fluid.

Treatment

There is no known cure for the condition although the symptoms can be treated and effectively brought under control. Also, dermatologists advise lots of changes with respect to lifestyle that includes avoiding of rigorous activities to prevent intense sweating, diet changes, wearing cotton clothing, avoiding exposure to allergens, avoiding skin irritants like harsh soaps, detergents and perfumes, etc.

Apart from the preventive measures, symptoms are brought under control by the use of emollients to moisturize the skin, use of steroidal creams and tablets, immunosuppressants, etc. However a lot of eczema sufferers are now turning to more natural products which have shown excellent results in treating eczema, one such product is from Orba Originals a natural goats milk moisturising creams especially made for treating eczema, psoriasis and other problem skin complaints.