What is Eczema?
What is eczema?
Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder. It is a general term for many types of skin inflammation, also known as dermatitis. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis (some people use these two terms interchangeably). However, there are many different forms of eczema.
Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.
Dry, extremely itchy skin
Blisters with oozing and crusting
Red skin around the blisters
Raw areas of the skin from scratching, which can cause bleeding
Dry, leathery areas that are either darker of lighter than their normal skin tone
Researchers don't know for sure what causes eczema. It may be a combination of hereditary (genetic) and
environmental factors. The risk Factors include:
Young age -- infants and young children are most affected
Exposing skin to harsh conditions
Living in a climate with low humidity
Personal or family history of allergies to plants, chemicals, or food
Not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals (for example, zinc)
Stress can make eczema worse. Other irritants that can make eczema worse include:
Wool or synthetic fibers
Certain soaps and detergents as well as perfumes and some cosmetics
Dust or sand
Western medicine Treatment:
The goals when treating eczema are to heal the skin, reduce symptoms, prevent skin damage, and prevent flares. Some of the
Avoid anything that makes symptoms worse, such as allergens (things you are allergic to) and things that irritate skin. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. Common skin irritants include wool, synthetic fibers, soaps and detergents, perfumes, cosmetics, lanolin, certain chemicals such as chlorine and solvents (including mineral oil), cigarette smoke, dust, and sand.
Donít scratch or rub affected areas.
Protect skin from rough clothing and irritants.
Reduce stress with relaxation techniques.
Keep your environment cool, with stable humidity.
Topical corticosteroids may soothe mild dry scaly patches.
Ointments or creams to lubricate or soften the skin.
Oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
Medications that suppress the immune system.
Antihistamines used at night to prevent scratching
Topical Immunomodulators are newer drugs that are applied to the skin to reduce inflammation.
Phototherapy and Photochemotherapy. Treatment with ultraviolet light may help mild-to-moderate cases of eczema in
children over age 12 and adults.
Nutrition and Dietary Supplements. Diet may help reduce inflammation and allergic reactions.
Avoid exposure to environmental or food allergens
Adopted from Wei Laboratories, Inc.