Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, causing itching, scaling, redness, cracking or blistering depending on the cause and variety of the condition.
There are several different types of eczema, some that flare up suddenly and cause severe symptoms and other that feature chronic, minor symptoms.
Atopic eczema or dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and generally affects skin on the face, hands, inner elbows, feet, and back of the knees. Scratching the skin can cause redness, inflammation, and even infection, and irritants like allergens, soap, rough clothing and household chemicals can make symptoms worse.
Atopic eczema treatment can include eczema skin care products like moisturizers or steroid creams, drugs that control the immune system, antibiotics for infections and UV light.
Contact dermatitis can be irritant or allergic depending on the substance that damages the skin and triggers symptoms. These triggers can include harsh chemicals or allergens like nickel, poison ivy or cosmetics. This is one of the most common types of eczema on hands and can usually be treated with moisturizers or steroid medications.
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis causes blisters, scaly patches or cracks on the the hands and feet and can become painful and chronic. There is no known cause but cool, wet compresses, steroid drugs and psoralen and UVA Therapy can treat it.
Nummular Dermatitis also has an unknown cause, though the coin-shaped red marks that appear seem to be associated with cold, dry air and exposure to irritating chemicals or metals. Avoid scratching, take lukewarm baths and use moisturizers or steroid medication to control outbreaks.
Neurodermatitis occurs in frequently scratched areas and the main treatment is to stop scratching and use steroid medicine to treat symptoms.
Seborrheic Dermatitis, more commonly known as dandruff, causes skin to fall off in flakes in the eyebrows, scalp, sides of the nose, groin, and chest. It may be caused by yeast overgrowth that results in rapid cell shedding. Treatments may include special shampoo, antifungal treatments or steroid lotions.
Stasis Dermatitis occurs when lower leg veins don’t return blood to the heart properly. It has a rapid onset and causes skin to crust and weep, or develop brown stains. Moist compresses, lubricating or steroid creams and leg elevation can be used to treat it.
All types of eczema may require antibiotic treatment if they cause infection, so if you think you have eczema, consult your doctor to find out the best way to stay healthy.