Eczema is a common skin disorder. The word ‘eczema’ is derived from Greek word that means ‘to boil over’. The incidence and prevalence of eczema has increased over the past few decades, for reasons that are not understood. The probable cause include increasing exposure to allergens (protein substances to which people can become allergic), such as house dust mite and other environmental factors and workplace exposure to irritant chemicals. In the homes, increased use of cleaning agents, solvents, detergents, oils and other materials, which are potentially harmful to skin, has probably increased the rate of eczema.
Types of eczema
There are several types of eczema. Some of the common types of eczema are:
Atopic eczema: People with atopic or ‘allergic’ type eczema may also have hay fever or asthma.
Allergic contact eczema: It is caused due to skin contact with substance to which you are sensitive. The same substance may not cause eczema in a person who is not sensitive to it.
Irritant contact eczema: Skin contact with irritating chemicals, powders, cleaning agents, etc. causes irritant contact eczema. Contact with these substances can cause eczema in any person, but the degree of sensitivity to these can vary in different people .
Discoid eczema: The skin lesions (eczema) appear as discrete islands of patches on a background of normal skin.
Seborrhoeic eczema: In infants it may occur in the nappy area and the scalp (cradle cap). In adults, it usually occurs on the scalp and in the skin creases between the nose and sides of the mouth. It is caused possibly due to an increased sensitivity to yeast living on the skin.
Signs and symptoms of eczema
Whatever may be the cause, signs and symptoms of different forms of eczema are more or less similar. Common signs and symptoms of eczema include:
Treatment of eczema
Appropriate treatment can control symptoms in most people – but severe eczema can be difficult to clear completely. Adherence to recommended treatment usually works--however there is no cure for eczema. In most cases it is difficult to identify and eliminate the single causative agent causing the skin reaction. Following general measures of care of skin mentioned below can be helpful: