Dermatologist Hamilton - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin known as the epidermis is referred to as eczema. The term literally means "to boil over", in the Greek language. Nearly 1 in 9 people in the UK have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the terms dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and usually the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the term eczema refers to a chronic condition and dermatitis implies an acute one.
The word "eczema" covers different persistent skin conditions. These include recurring skin rashes and dryness that have connected indications of dryness, itching, crusting, flaking, bleeding, oozing, skin oedema or swelling and blistering. Every now and then, temporary skin discoloration may result. Furthermore, scratching open a lesion which is in the healing process may enlarge the rash and can lead to possible scarring.
Describing the symptoms of eczema can be somewhat confusing. The descriptions may consist of the possible cause, the specific appearance or the location. Numerous sources likewise use the terms atopic dermatitis that is the most common kind of eczema and the word eczema interchangeably with can add to the confusion.
The following classifications are ordered by incidence frequency.
Atopic eczema is referred to as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis. It is an allergic disease that is thought to have a genetic factor. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who also suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash that develops on the inside of elbows, head and scalp, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular type of eczema is quite common in developed countries. It could be difficult to distinguish between irritant contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis falls into two categories: allergic and irritant. Irritant dermatitis can result directly from a reaction to anything specific like for example a detergent like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can happen as a result of a delayed reaction to particular allergen such as 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 sunlight exposure. About three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant kind. 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 could be curable.
There is a type of eczema that becomes worse in dry winter weather conditions and commonly affects the limbs and the trunk. It is known as craquele eczema or xerotic eczema, winter itch, asteatotic eczema, 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 connected disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap in babies is officially called Seborrheic or Seborrhoeic dermatitis. This is a condition that is often classified as a form of eczema which is associated closely to dandruff. It causes a dry or greasy peeling of the scalp and can even affect the eyebrows, face and at times 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 that is called cradle cap. This particular condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is usually curable.
Less Common Types of Eczema
Dyshidrosis is one more type of eczema that likewise goes under the names of dyshidrotic eczema, pompholyx eczema, housewife's eczema or vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis. This specific condition normally shows up on the soles, palms and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching that becomes worse at night. This is a common form of hand eczema and it gets worse during warm conditions.
Other less common types of eczema include Venous e., Discoid e., DermaDermatitisetiformis or Duhring's Disease, Autoeczematization, Neurodermatitis as well as other forms which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, as in lymphoma for instance. There are many other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these as well.
Some experts have attributed eczema to the hypothesis of hygiene. The cause of eczema, according to this particular theory is asthma and other allergic diseases is because of an overly clean surrounding. This theory is supported by epidemiologic studies for asthma which states that during development it is vital to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for allergy and asthma.
One more theory suggested is that eczema is an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites. Even if 5 percent of individuals show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further justification.
Usually the diagnosis of eczema consists largely on history and physical examination. Then again, various cases could need a skin biopsy.
Due to the risk of developing eczema vaccinatum, individuals who have eczema must not receive the smallpox vaccination. This is a possibly sever and at times fatal complication.
Since there is no common treatment for eczema, general treatments include the control of signs by relieving the itching and reducing the inflammation. Medications which are available comprise hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with various potential side effects, most normally thinning the skin, though there is ongoing study in this area. Normally, these steroids are to be utilized very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Due to possible chance of lymph node cancers and skin cancers, a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA on the use of immunomodulators. Different professional medical groups disagree with the FDA findings.
Some of the more severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. At times these are prescribed and give slight to even dramatic improvements in the patient's eczema. Nevertheless, these can dampen the immune system and have major side effects. In order to be on this type of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a medical doctor and go through blood tests on a regular basis.
The itching factor of eczema could be counteracted making use of antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce damage and irritation to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Several popular sedating antihistamines consist of Phenergan or Benadryl. Moisturizers are likewise applied to the skin so as to help the soothing and healing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is likewise used, although, numerous health food stores offer some preparations together with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an alternative.
By applying cool water via a bath, swimming or a wet washcloth, a lot of patients have found quick relief. One more proven soothing treatment is to apply an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even utilizing air blowing from an air conditioning vent.
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