Dermatologist Truro - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin called 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 dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and often 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 broadly covers different persistent skin conditions like for instance: recurring skin dryness and rashes that is associated with at least one of the following indications of itching and dryness, crusting, flaking, oozing, bleeding, blistering and skin oedema or swelling. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration can result. Furthermore, scratching open a lesion that is in the healing process may enlarge the rash and can result in possible scarring.
Describing eczema can be confusing. It can be described by possible cause, by specific appearance or by location. Many sources likewise utilize the words atopic dermatitis which is the most common kind of eczema and the word eczema interchangeably with could add to the confusion.
These classifications are ordered by the frequency of incidence.
Atopic eczema is referred to as flexural eczema, atopic dermatitis or infantile eczema. It is an allergic disease which is thought to have a hereditary factor. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with individuals who also suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the head and scalp, the inside of elbows, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular kind of eczema is quite common in developed nations. It can be tricky to differentiate between irritant contact dermatitis.
The categories that contact dermatitis falls into is irritant and allergic. Irritant dermatitis may be caused to particular irritants comprising detergents like for example sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis could occur as a result of a delayed reaction to certain allergen like for example nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an irritant and an allergen. Phototoxic dermatitis could take place with various substances after exposure to sunlight. Around three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant kind. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance could be removed from one's environment and avoided, contact eczema can be curable.
This type of eczema would be worse during dryer winters and effects the limbs and the trunk more. It goes by different names, like xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, pruritus hiemalis or craquelatum eczema. The itchy, tender skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This condition is extremely common amongst older individuals. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Babies often have a condition of Cradle cap, or Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrheic. This condition can also be classed as a form of eczema connected closely to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry peeling of the scalp and can even affect the face, eyebrows and at times the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a thick, yellow, crusty scalp rash which is known as cradle cap. This particular condition has been related to a lack of biotin and is normally curable.
Less Common Kinds of Eczema
One more kind of eczema is called Dyshidrosis or pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife's eczema. This form is known for only showing up on the soles, palms and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with small opaque bumps called vesicles, thickening skin and cracks are accompanied by itching which becomes worse at nighttime. This is a common kind of hand eczema and it gets worse in warm weather.
Discoid e., Venous e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Neurodermatitis, and Autoeczematization are other less common types of eczema, which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, as in lymphoma for example. There are numerous other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these too.
Various professionals 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 environment. This particular theory is supported by epidemiologic research for asthma that 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 risk for asthma and allergy.
One other theory states that the excrement from house dust mites cause the allergic reaction of eczema. Although 5% of individuals show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Normally the diagnosis of eczema consists largely on physical examination and history. However, several cases could require a skin biopsy.
Because of the risk of developing eczema vaccinatum, people who have eczema should not be given the smallpox vaccination. This is a potentially sever and sometimes fatal complication.
Because of the fact there is no known cure for eczema; treatments are usually based on controlling the indications by relieving the itching and reducing inflammation. There are several medications offered like for instance hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with some possible side effects, most normally thinning the skin, although there is ongoing research in this area. Typically, these steroids are to be utilized very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are one more form of treatment although a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA due to potential chance of skin cancer and lymph node cancer. Various professional medical organizations don't agree with the FDA findings.
Some severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These are sometimes prescribed and can yield dramatic improvements to the patient's eczema but because they dampen the immune system, they can have major side effects. In order to be on this form of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a doctor of medicine and go through blood tests on a regular basis.
The itching element of eczema could be counteracted utilizing antihistamine and other anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce damage and irritation to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Some popular sedating antihistamines comprise Benadryl or Phenergan. Moisturizers are also applied to the skin to help the healing and soothing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also utilized, however, lots of health food stores offer some preparations with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an option.
By applying cool water via a wet washcloth, a bath or swimming, 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 using air blowing from an air conditioning vent.
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