Dermatologist Halifax - 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. Practically 1 in 9 people in the UK have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the words 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 broadly covers various persistent skin conditions like for instance: recurring skin dryness and rashes which is associated with at least one of the following symptoms of itching and dryness, flaking, crusting, oozing, bleeding, skin oedema or swelling and blistering. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration may result. As well, scratching open a lesion which is in the healing process may enlarge the rash and could result in possible scarring.
Describing eczema could be confusing. It may be described by location, by possible cause or by specific appearance. Lots of sources likewise make use of the terms atopic dermatitis which is the most common kind of eczema and the term eczema interchangeably with can add to the confusion.
These classifications are ordered by the frequency of incidence.
Atopic eczema, that is likewise known as atopic dermatitis, infantile eczema or flexural eczema, is an allergic disease thought to have a genetic factor. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with individuals who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the scalp and head, the inside of elbows, on the buttocks and behind the knees. This particular type of eczema is somewhat common in developed nations. It can 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 particular like for instance a detergent like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis could take place as a result of a delayed reaction to certain allergen such as poison ivy or nickel. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an irritant and an allergen. Phototoxic dermatitis can happen along with other substances after sunlight exposure. Roughly three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant type. 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 can be curable.
There is a kind of eczema that becomes worse in dry winter climate and normally affects the trunk and the limbs. It is called craquele eczema or xerotic eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, pruritus hiemalis or craquelatum eczema. The itchy, tender skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This particular condition is really popular among older individuals. A connected disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap in babies is officially known as Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrheic. This is a condition that is usually classified as a kind of eczema that is associated directly to dandruff. It causes a dry or greasy flaking of the scalp and can even affect the face, eyebrows and occasionally the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a crusty, thick, yellow scalp rash that is called cradle cap. This particular condition has been related to a lack of biotin and is generally curable.
Less Common Kinds of Eczema
Dyshidrosis is another kind of eczema that also goes under the names of pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, housewife's eczema or vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis. This specific condition normally shows up on the palms, soles and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with small opaque bumps referred to as vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching that becomes worse at night. This is a common kind of hand eczema and it gets worse in warm weather.
Venous e., Discoid e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Autoeczematization and Neurodermatitis are other less common types of eczema, which are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, like lymphoma for instance. There are various other rare eczematous disorders that exist in addition to these too.
Some 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 theory is supported by epidemiologic studies for asthma that states that during development it is essential to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for allergy and asthma.
Another theory states that the excrement from house dust mites cause the allergic reaction of eczema. Although 5 percent of people show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further justification.
Usually, the diagnosis of eczema is based mostly on history and physical examination, although, in various cases, a skin biopsy may prove useful.
Due to the chance of developing eczema vaccinatum, people suffering from eczema should not receive the smallpox vaccination. This is a potentially sever and sometimes fatal complication.
As there is no common treatment for eczema, general treatments consist of the control of indications by reducing inflammation and relieving the itching. Medications which are offered consist of corticosteroids, hydrocortisone, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with some possible side effects, most normally thinning the skin, though there is ongoing study in this field. Typically, these steroids are to be used really carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are another form of cure though a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA due to probable risk of lymph node cancer and skin cancer. Different expert medical groups don't agree with the FDA findings.
Amongst 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. However, these could dampen the immune system and have major side effects. To be able to be on this form of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a medical doctor and go through blood tests on a regular basis.
The use of an antihistamine and other anti-itch drugs could help in the treatment of the itching component of eczema. By initiating a sedative effect, these work to reduce damage and irritation to the skin. Some popular sedating antihistamines comprise Phenergan or Benadryl. 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 likewise used, although, many health food stores offer some preparations with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an alternative.
Lots of patients have found fast acting relief by applying cool water via swimming, a wet washcloth or a bath. utilizing an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even making use of air blowing from an air conditioning vent has proven soothing.
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