Dermatologist Timmins - Eczema is a form of dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin referred to as the epidermis. The term comes from the Greek language and means "to boil over." In England, around 1 in 9 individuals or a projected 5,773,700 people have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the words eczema and dermatitis are synonymous and often the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the word eczema implies a chronic condition and dermatitis implies an acute one.
The word "eczema" covers various persistent skin conditions. These include recurring skin rashes and dryness which have connected indications of itching, dryness, flaking, crusting, bleeding, oozing, skin oedema or swelling and blistering. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration may result. Also, scratching open a lesion that is in the healing process can enlarge the rash and can cause probable scarring.
Describing eczema could be confusing. It may be described by location, by possible cause or by specific appearance. 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 that is believed to have a hereditary factor. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who also 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 kind of eczema is quite common in developed countries. It can be difficult to distinguish between irritant contact dermatitis.
The categories which contact dermatitis falls into is irritant and allergic. Irritant dermatitis may be caused to specific irritants consisting of detergents like for example sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can take place as a result of a delayed reaction to some 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 take place along with other substances after exposure to sunlight. Roughly 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 worsens in dry winter weather conditions and commonly affects the trunk and the limbs. It is referred to as craquele eczema or xerotic eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, pruritus hiemalis or craquelatum eczema. The itchy, tender skin resembles a cracked and dry river bed. This particular condition is very popular among older people. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Infants usually have a condition of Cradle cap, or Seborrheic or Seborrhoeic dermatitis. This condition can likewise be classed as a form of eczema related closely to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry flaking of the scalp and can also 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 thick, yellow, crusty scalp rash which is known as cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is normally curable.
Less Common Types of Eczema
Another type of eczema is referred to as Dyshidrosis or pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife's eczema. This kind is known for just showing up on the palms, toes and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, thickening skin and cracks are accompanied by itching which becomes worse at nighttime. This is a common form of hand eczema and it becomes worse in warm conditions.
Discoid e., Venous e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Autoeczematization and Neurodermatitis are other less common forms of eczema, that are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, like lymphoma for instance. There are numerous other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these also.
Various professionals have attributed eczema to the hypothesis of hygiene. The cause of eczema, according to this theory is asthma and other allergic diseases is due to an overly clean environment. This theory is supported by epidemiologic studies meant for asthma which states that during development it is very important to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and therefore, missing out on this exposure increases the possibility for asthma and allergy.
One more theory suggested is that eczema is an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites. Although 5% of people show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Usually the diagnosis of eczema consists largely on physical examination and history. Nonetheless, several cases may require a skin biopsy.
Because of the chance of developing eczema vaccinatum, people who have eczema must not be given the smallpox vaccination. This is a potentially sever and sometimes fatal complication.
Because of the fact there is no known treatment for eczema; treatments are generally based on controlling the signs by reducing inflammation and relieving the itching. There are several medications existing like corticosteroids, hydrocortisone, injectable or oral corticosteroids. These come with several potential side effects, most normally thinning the skin, though there is ongoing study in this particular field. Normally, these steroids are to be used really carefully and a little goes a long way.
Due to probable risk of skin cancers and lymph node cancers, a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA on utilizing immunomodulators. Various professional medical groups don't agree with the FDA findings.
Amongst the more severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. Sometimes 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 doctor of medicine and go through blood tests regularly.
The itching factor of eczema can be counteracted with the use of an antihistamine and other anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce irritation and damage to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Several popular sedating antihistamines include Phenergan or Benadryl. Moisturizers are likewise 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, although, lots of health food stores provide 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 a wet washcloth, a bath or swimming. Making use of an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even using air blowing from an air conditioning vent has proven soothing.
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