Eczema: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Medically reviewed by Dr Joycelyn Loh on Aug 1, 2019

WHAT IS ECZEMA?

Eczema is a skin disease where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked and rough. Sometimes, there are also appearances of blisters on the skin. It is also called atopic dermatitis which is the most common type of eczema. Dermatitis by definition is the inflammation condition on the skin.

Despite age, gender or race, eczema can happen to anybody. Eczema can be seen or detected since birth or infant. It often appears on the face and legs of infants and toddlers. Eczema appearance can come in different varieties depending on who has it. Some people may outgrow the condition, while others will continue to have it throughout adulthood.

What is Eczema

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ECZEMA?

The symptoms of eczema can vary from  one person to another, depending on the age and the skin condition. Most common symptom is itching. Your skin would become inflamed and itchier when you scratch it. The shape, colour and severity of its appearance may differ from each other. But you may notice redness, scaly areas, rough bumps, leathery patches and also bumps that leak fluids and crust over.

What are The Symptoms of Eczema

Most of the patients start developing eczema before the age of 5 years. Half of those who are affected by eczema succeeded to heal from it. While others continue to have symptoms as an adult. For patients who develop eczema from an earlier age will have different symptoms compared to those who develop it when they are older. The conditions may worsen or improve from time to time depending on the treatment and environment.

Symptoms in infants under 2 years-old

Symptoms in infants under 2 years old

Rashes appear on the scalp and cheeks. It usually bubbles up before leaking fluid or appear as a blister. It may cause itchy to the skin and may lead to infection if you continuously rubbing or scratching.

Symptoms in children aged 2 years old and above

Symptoms in children aged 2 years old and above

Rashes appear behind the creases of elbows or knees. It also may develop on the neck, wrists, ankles and the crease of buttocks and legs from time to time. Over-scratching it can lighten or darken and thicken the skin.

Symptoms in adults

Symptoms in adults

Rashes appear behind the creases of elbows, knees or nape of the neck.  It may also develop on the whole body, especially on the face and around the eyes. The rashes may cause extremely dry skin and permanent itch which would lead to skin infections. Scratches and rubbing further irritate the skin, increase inflammation, and worsen the itch.

TYPES OF ECZEMA

There are different types of eczema that can be identified from its appearances and symptoms including:

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis

A skin disease or allergic hypersensitivity that associated with asthma or chronic dermatitis. It begins to develop during childhood, usually inherited from parents that suffer from super sensitive skin. Itching may be the main symptoms to whom that have it.

Allergic contact dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis

This skin allergy occurs when the skin is being exposed to foreign substances and causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals.

Dyshidrotic eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema

A form of blisters that develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis

Scaly patches of skin on the head, forearms, lower legs, and wrists that are caused by persistent itching, scratching and scrubbing. It may also triggered by localized itch such as insect bite.

Nummular eczema

Nummular eczema

Also known as nummular dermatitis or discoid eczema. It appears as circular patches or coin-shaped spots of irritated skin that are crusted, scaly and itchy.

Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis

Commonly occurs in the lower legs caused by poor blood circulation. This skin inflammation form oily, scaly, yellowish patches of skin on the scalp and face.

Seborrheic eczema

Seborrheic eczema

Known as crib cap when it developed on the infant’s skin. It most often affects the scalp and also develops in oily areas of the body including face, upper chest and back. It may appear like redness, scaly patches and dandruff.

CAUSES OF ECZEMA

Eczema is not contagious but it may cause uncomfortable conditions to the person that suffered from it. There are no specific causes on how eczema develops on the skin. Some research had stated that eczema may develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Causes of Eczema

Genetic factors include where a child is more likely inherited the disease either from one of the parents or both of the parents. When both of the parents have, the risk the child is having it is even higher.

Other factor that may help eczema to trigger is environment condition like pollen includes:

  • Allergens– any substances recognised by the immune system and may cause an allergic reaction. They are often eaten or inhaled like dust mites, pets mites, mold and dandruff.
  • Irritants– a substance that may cause irritation to the body such as soaps, detergents, shampoo, disinfectants, juices from fresh fruits, meats, or vegetables.
  • Microbes– microorganism like bacteria that can cause disease or fermentation to occur.

Causes of Eczema

  • Temperature– Extreme weather where very high and low humidity and temperature may bring out eczema to appear on the skin.
  • Foods– Eczema can trigger or become worse cause by certain foods like eggs, nuts, dairy products, soy products and wheat.
  • Hormones- a chemical substance that function as messenger that controls and coordinates activities throughout the body. Hormone disturbance usually occured to women during pregnancy and menstrual cycle which may cause the eczema symptoms to increase.

Causes of Eczema

HOW TO PREVENT ECZEMA?

Prevention is better than cure. It is because the curing treatment will cost more money and time consuming.

There are a few ways that support skin health and alleviate symptoms including:

  • Moisturise everyday to reduce water loss and repair the skin
  • Learn and avoid anything that would trigger eczema
  • Wear gentle materials for clothing like cotton and soft fabrics
  • Avoid rough, scratchy fibres and tight-fitting clothing
  • Use mild soap or non-soap cleanser when washing
  • Gently patting skin dry with a towel. Avoid rubbing and scratching
  • Avoid going to places that have extreme weathers.
  • Use humidifier in dry and cold weather
  • Take a lukewarm bath

How to Prevent EczemaHow to Prevent Eczema

NATURAL WAYS TO PREVENT ECZEMA

There are a lot of home remedies and natural treatments that are cheaper and easy to get such as aloe vera and coconut oil. Most of the remedies only help in reducing the symptoms but it could not cure eczema fully.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Eczema skin may have less acidic skin compared to others. By applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the treated area, it could help in balancing the skin’s acidity level. Be cautious with the concentrations of vinegar as the vinegar’s acid can damage soft tissues which weaken the skin’s defence and cause burn if not diluted.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Gel

Common apply aloe vera gel to soothe eczema as it provides cooling elements to the skin. Aloe plant and has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of disease or skin discomfort. Aloe vera contains antibacterial, antimicrobial, immune system-boosting and wound healing properties which aid to prevent skin infections and promote healing.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains healthy fatty acid. It helps to moisturise the skin texture for those who suffer from eczema. Nowadays, virgin coconut oil is rising in popularity and highly in demand for its properties that help in combating inflammation and improving the health of skin barrier.

Honey

Honey

Dabbing the honey to the skin helps to prevent infections while moisturising the skin and speed up the healing process. Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that heals wounds, boost immune system function and aid the body to fight off infections.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the melaleuca alternifolia tree or tea tree. It contains same properties like honey which help with skin problems by providing anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and wound healing properties in the oil. Regular use of tea tree oil help to relieve skin dryness and itchiness caused by eczema.

Baths

Baths

Dry skin would cause eczema to worsen. Dry skin would need extra moisture agent because the outer layer is not functioning as it should. Bathing will provide the skin with essential moisture. However, other conditions like temperature of the water, unsuitable soap, frequent bathing and excessive scrubbing will worsen the eczema skin.

Dietary Changes

Dietary Changes

Some diet is not suitable for people who suffer from eczema but some will help in treating the disease. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties are good in treating inflamed, red, and sore skin. Eczema can be reduced by taking more fish, leafy greens, beans, fruits, vegetables, turmeric and cinnamon. Also, you may try to avoid and eliminate common inflammatory foods like dairy, eggs, soy and wheat which will worsen eczema.

Gentle skincare

Gentle skincare, soap and detergents

Try out gentle, no-lather and fragrance-free cleanser to prevent dry skin to happen. Avoid using products with rough particles for scrubbing or exfoliating as they can further irritate the skin. Most laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals that aggravate eczema. Try to skip fabric softener as it can cause skin irritation from fragrances and chemicals which linger on clothes.

TREATMENTS OPTIONS TO GET RID OF ECZEMA

Eczema is a condition where the skin becomes inflamed, redness, irritated and itchy. The treatments recommended by the doctor are aim to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups symptoms. However, all treatments only help in reducing the symptoms as currently there is no cure for eczema. Plan of treatment is based on patient’s age, symptoms and health conditions. Do consult with the doctors first before undergoing any treatment or medication.

If you’d like to know more about eczema and its solution, please call us to arrange a consultation session. We are available from 8am to 12 midnight DAILY.

Call/Whatsapp: 012-662-5552
Email: contactus@premier-clinic.com

 

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