What is eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition caused by an inflammation of the skin. People who have eczema have to deal with itchy, dry, and red skin. Skin can even become leathery or cracked. The entire body can be affected by eczema. Eczema commonly affects babies and small children although they tend to outgrow it. However, adults can also have chronic eczema issues. Eczema also tends to run in families. The symptoms can be triggered by:
- Dry skin
- Sweat and heat
- Cold, dry environments
- Contact with aggravating substances
What are common symptoms of eczema?
Eczema comes in many forms, but the symptoms are similar. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Itching: The itching can be severe resulting in damage to the skin following scratching
- Scaling: The skin can peel and flake off, resulting in a rough or scaly appearance
- Redness: Eczema can cause the skin to become red and blotchy and can result in bleeding
- Blisters: Fluid blisters can form, causing oozing and crusting
- Cracked skin: Severe eczema can cause extreme dryness and painful deep cracks or fissures in the affected areas
What are the different types of eczema?
Eczema appears in several forms. Some of the common types of eczema include:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common form of eczema. It is most common in infancy or childhood but can affect people of all ages. It is very itching and over time, scratching can result in the skin becoming thick and red or developing wounds that are prone to infection.
- Contact dermatitis: This form of eczema is caused by an outside irritant or allergen. It often occurs after a substance damages the skin or in those who must wash their hands frequently.
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis: This form of eczema affects the hands and feet. It is characterized by severe itching that develops into blisters and scaly patches. Some patients experience painful cracking of the skin. It can become chronic and is painful.
- Nummular dermatitis: Middle-aged men are most prone to this form of eczema, with most first outbreaks occurring in the mid-50s. Women can develop this form, but it more often begins in their teen years or early adulthood.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: In this form of eczema an overgrowth of a common kind of yeast causes the skin to flake off.