Four Frequently Asked Questions about Eczema

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition of skin. The term atopic dermatitis is also used as synonym of eczema.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

  • Skin patches, which ranges from red to brown in color.
  • Itching is a common symptom of eczema, which may be worse during night
  • Scaly skin, which is usually thick
  • Small raised bumps over skin, they may leak fluid when scratched
  • Raw skin or ulcerative skin due to scratching

The skin lesions of eczema may appear in any part of the body. The common areas are arms, the hands and feet, in the front of the bend of the elbow, on the ankles, wrists, face, neck and upper chest and behind knees. Usually the skin lesions show occasional flare-ups and remissions.

What factors can worsen eczema?

Various factors can worsen eczema, such as

  • Dry skin (common case)
  • Sweating
  • Excessive use of soaps while bathing and bathing for prolonged duration. Hot baths can worsen eczema
  • Use of various soaps, solvents, detergents and cleaners
  • Low humidity, rapid change in environmental temperature
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Dust and sandy environment
  • High air pollution in cities can worsen eczema
  • Stress can worsen eczema
  • Various foods can precipitate flare-ups of eczema such as eggs, soy, wheat etc.
  • Some types of clothing may irritate skin and cause allergy and worsen eczema such as woolen cloths or fabrics

What are the causes of eczema?

The exact cause or etiology of eczema is not clearly known. Most likely there are various causes involved such as family history (genetical cause), malfunctioning of body immune system etc. Most experts in the field believe the most important cause of eczema is genetics. Eczema is commonly associated with asthma and hay fever, both of which are allergic disorders with genetic basis.

What are the complications of eczema?

Complications of eczema include increased risk of skin infection (mainly due to excessive itching and scratching of skin over affected areas, which lead to break of cells of skin layers and ulceration), eye complications (watering of eyes and inflammation of the eyelid known as bleperitis, conjunctivitis etc.) and neurodermatitis.



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