What is Eczema

What is Eczema?

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a prevalent skin condition characterized by its name derived from the Greek word meaning “to boil over.” Its incidence and prevalence have risen in recent decades, though the exact reasons remain unclear. Potential causes include increased exposure to allergens like house dust mites, environmental factors, and workplace exposure to irritating chemicals. Within households, the expanded use of cleaning agents and other materials potentially harmful to the skin may contribute to the rise in eczema rates.

Several types of eczema exist, including allergic contact eczema, atopic eczema, discoid eczema, irritant contact eczema, and seborrheic eczema. Individuals with atopic eczema may also experience hay fever or asthma. Allergic contact eczema arises from skin contact with substances to which one is sensitive, whereas irritant contact eczema results from exposure to irritating chemicals or agents. Discoid eczema manifests as isolated patches on normal skin, while seborrheic eczema can occur in infants as cradle cap and in adults on the scalp or skin creases due to increased sensitivity to skin-dwelling yeast.

Signs and symptoms of eczema, regardless of its type, typically include itching and redness, dry and flaky skin, potential lumps or blisters, and weeping or crusty deposits if blisters burst or the skin is scratched.

While there is no cure for eczema, appropriate treatment can manage symptoms effectively in most cases, though severe eczema may prove challenging to clear completely. General measures such as avoiding skin irritants, keeping the skin well moisturized, avoiding excessive sweating and overheating, refraining from scratching, and wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing can help control eczema symptoms.