What You Need To Know
What is Eczema?
Eczema refers to a group of dermatology conditions that cause itchy, inflamed, irritated, dry skin that affects more than 31 million Americans from newborns to the elderly.
There are several different types of eczema including:
Atopic dermatitis is the most commonly known type of eczema and often is the result of an overactive immune system, causing the skin barrier to become impaired. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition with periods of flares and remissions of dry, itchy, scaly skin. It has been thought to arise in childhood and adolescence, but more recent research suggests that atopic dermatitis sometimes starts in adulthood. While it tends to run in families, it is not contagious. Those diagnosed with atopic dermatitis often have other immune hypersensitivity disorders such as asthma and allergies.
There are two types of contact dermatitis; allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis.
Allergic contact dermatitis often presents as a red scaly rash in the area of contact with a substance your body doesn’t like. Common allergens include nickel, neomycin, ingredients in cosmetic products, fragrances, and preservatives. Dermatologists often conduct allergy testing for common contact allergens. Once these allergens are identified and the offending substance is removed, the rash subsides.
Irritant contact dermatitis presents as a rash when a substance irritates your skin. Common irritants include: hair dyes, nail polish remover, paints, harsh soaps and detergents, just to name a few. Again, once the offending agent is identified and removed, the rash should subside. Sometimes medications such as topical or oral steroids are necessary.
Dyshidrotic eczema is a form of eczema that causes itchy and painful small fluid-filled blisters on the palms of the hands and fingers and sometimes on the soles of the feet. The blisters usually persist for about 3-4 weeks and then progress to scaly rash. The blisters can recur every few months or so. Topical steroids and emollient creams are often prescribed for dyshidrotic eczema.
Nummular eczema, sometimes referred to at discoid eczema, is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease characterized by red scaly coin-shaped lesions on your skin, usually on the arms and legs but can occur on your back and chest. Good skin care is essential for nummular eczema (for all types of eczema, actually). Bathing in lukewarm water (not hot water), moisturizing immediately after your bath or shower, and using a humidifier and dry climates will help ease the discomfort associated with eczema.
Stasis dermatitis occurs in people with poor blood flow, most commonly in the lower legs and ankles. Symptoms of stasis dermatitis include leg swelling, crusting or cracking skin, leg ulcers, and skin discoloration (often turning brown) in the lower extremities. Wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, and good skin care help manage stasis dermatitis.
Seborrheic dermatitis, more commonly known as dandruff, is characterized by red flaky skin on the scalp, ears, face, and chest. Symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis often worsen in times of stress or in cold dry weather. Several over-the-counter treatments exist, including dandruff shampoo, but many prescription medications can be used to treat this condition.
If you believe you are suffering from eczema and are looking for a solution, Danielle LeClair, NP at Clear Skin For You can help. Schedule an appointment today by calling 410-870-8225.