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Everything about eczema from causes To treatment

Written byNikhil Ambatkar

Last updated on : 10 Jul, 2024

Read time : 10 min

What is Eczema?

The word eczema has a Latin origin which means ‘boil over or breaks out.’ It’s a mild skin condition that affects both kids and adults. It is most commonly known as atopic dermatitis but it has other names like atopic eczema or allergic eczema. In this condition, skin becomes dry, itchy, and inflamed. Some types of eczema also cause blisters. A recent study found that nearly 10% of Indians suffer from eczema every year.

Eczema affects the skin’s ability to self-protection making your skin more delicate and more likely to get infected or dry out. Eczema is not contagious meaning it does not spread from person to person. There are ways to treat your symptoms that can help you deal with them. 

Some people outgrow eczema while growing up while others continue to have it throughout their lives. This article will discuss different types, causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention of eczema.

Types of eczema

There are several eczema types, which include;

1. Atopic Eczema:

The most common type is atopic dermatitis. It occurs at a young age and gradually becomes milder or disappears by the life course. Other disorders like asthma and hay fever also appear in patients with atopic dermatitis. Asthma, hay fever, and atopic dermatitis are usually seen in many patients as a combination since all three are triggered by allergens. 

2. Contact Dermatitis:

This is a type of skin reaction that occurs when the immune system recognizes a substance or allergen as a foreign entity. You may have contact dermatitis if you have red, irritated skin as a result of a reaction to substances you make contact with. 

3. Dyshidrotic Eczema:

Tiny blisters form on your hands and feet as a result of dyshidrotic eczema. It affects women more than men. Irritation occurs in the skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Fluid-filled blisters form on your fingers, toes, palms, and soles of your feet as a result of this condition. The skin can scale, break, and flake as a result of these blisters, which may itch or hurt.

4. Neurodermatitis: 

Neurodermatitis is an eczema type that is comparable to atopic dermatitis. It induces your skin to develop thick, scaly patches. Scaly patches of skin appear on the head, forearms, wrists, and lower legs as a result. When people with neurodermatitis scratch their skin, they can irritate the nerves in the skin.

5. Nummular eczema or Discoid eczema:

The skin develops round, coin-shaped spots as a result of this eczema type. It has a distinct appearance from other types of it, and it can be extremely itchy. This type also known as Discoid eczema, manifests as crusted, scaly, and itchy circular patches of irritated skin. 

6. Stasis Dermatitis:

Fluid spills out of debilitated veins into your skin, causing stasis dermatitis. Swelling, redness,  itching, and pain are all symptoms of this fluid. It is frequently linked to circulatory issues. People with blood flow problems in their lower legs develop stasis dermatitis.

Eczema causes

Eczema is caused by a confluence of factors including immune system excitation, genetic factors, environmental stressors, and emotional turmoil. When your skin’s natural barrier is compromised against these elements then atopic eczema develops. As a result, your skin’s ability to defend itself from irritants and allergens is reduced. It is caused in many ways such as

1. Body’s immune system

Your immune system overreacts to slight irritants or allergens when you have eczema. When your body comes in contact with these allergens, your immune system considers these allergens like foreign bacteria or viruses and gets activated causing inflammation. Your skin may become inflamed by this extreme reaction which is the leading cause of eczema. 

2. Family History

If your family has a history of eczema or atopic dermatitis, you are more likely to get it. Allergens are things that cause an allergic reaction, like pollen, pet hair, or food. Also, a change in your genes could affect a protein that helps your body keep your skin healthy. If you don’t have enough of that protein, your skin won’t be as good as it could be.

3. Environment

Your surroundings can irritate your skin in a variety of ways. Tobacco smoke, air pollutants, harsh soaps, woolen fabrics, and some skin products are just a few examples. Your skin may become dry and itchy as a result of low humidity. Warm air and high humidity can cause perspiration, which can aggravate the itching and is one of the eczema causes.

4. Foods

Some people are allergic to a particular type of food. Foods that can aggravate eczema include dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, and wheat. So, food allergies are the strong eczema causes.

5. Hormones & Stress 

When a woman’s hormone levels change, such as during pregnancy or at specific points during the menstrual cycle, she may encounter an exponential rise in eczema. Stress is also considered one of the causes of eczema, it is not a direct cause but increased levels may aggravate your eczema. 

6. Eczema and COVID-19

COVID-19 is considered a potential trigger for eczema. The exact reason behind this is still unknown. The researcher believes that the stress of recovering from COVID-19 and a heightened immune system may trigger eczema in patients who are genetically prone to it.

Eczema symptoms

Symptoms of eczema can vary according to age and in most cases they are mild.  Here are some of the symptoms of eczema according to age.

General symptoms irrespective of age include:

  • Red rashes.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Swelling on the skin.

Eczema symptoms in infants

In infants, the rash often appears on the cheeks and feels dry, raw, and scaly.

Common symptoms include 

  • Dry, itchy, and scaly skin
  • Rashes forms on the scalp and face especially on the cheeks
  • Rashes bubble up, ooze, and weep fluid
  • A baby may have trouble sleeping 
  • May develop skin infections due to rubbing 
  • May act fussy since eczema causes discomfort

Eczema Symptoms in children 

In children above the age of 2, eczema usually appears in the creases of elbows and feet. Common symptoms include 

  • Itchy, scaly patches in the rash area
  • Bumby and light skin
  • Skin itch all the time and develops knots 

Eczema symptoms in adults

About 2 to 3% of adults above the age of 18 develop eczema symptoms which are 

  • Hand eczema is common in adults 
  • Skin becomes extremely dry and gets irritated 
  • Itchiness on the eyelids 

The atopic dermatitis-affected skin is determined by how much a person scuffs and whether the skin is infected. Scratching and caressing can irritate the skin, even more, causing inflammation and worsening itchiness.

Treatment of eczema

Management of eczema starts with the application of moisturizers and practising self-care habits. If it doesn’t help, your healthcare professional may recommend some creams that will help in controlling itching and repairing skin. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis which may remain persistent and can reappear even if you follow self-care methods. In that case, your healthcare professional may recommend the following medications 

1. Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments

The main symptoms like inflammation and itching can be relieved by these anti-inflammatory medications that can be directly applied to the skin and parts of the body where inflammation and itching are taking place. Some of the topical creams for the management of eczema are Opzelura (ruxolitinib 1.5%), tacrolimus ointment, pimecrolimus cream, and crisaborole. For more information on effective treatments, check out our page on the best cream for eczema itching

2. Oral medications

When topical ointments and creams are not effective your healthcare professional may recommend systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressants which are in the form of injections and oral tablets. These should be taken for a short period and it should be noted that the symptoms might worsen if the patient stopped taking them suddenly so always seek your healthcare professional about the regimen. Some of the medications are azathioprine, cyclosporine, and methotrexate. 

3. Antihistamines and pain relievers 

In patients with eczema who are experiencing nighttime scratching antihistamines like Sudafed, and Benadryl, are prescribed because these medications cause drowsiness. To relieve pain caused because of itching, medication like Tylenol and ibuprofen are prescribed. 

Eczema prevention 

There are a few aspects you can do to stop outbreaks or stop them from getting severe:

  • Almost always moisturize skin.
  • Do not let air temperature or moisture change quickly.
  • Try not to get too hot or sweaty. 
  • Take care of stress and give yourself time to relax. Get regular exercise which can help you deal with stress and get more circulation going.
  • Fiber and other rough fabrics should be avoided as they may act as allergens.
  • Don’t use soaps, detergents, or acetone that are too strong.
  • Search out foods that might make your symptoms worse and try to stay away from them.
  • Use a humidifier in your bedroom.

Conclusion 

Eczema is a skin condition that is caused by a variety of factors in babies to adults. Eczema can cause discomfort and symptoms can vary according to a person’s age. It can be managed with different routes like home remedies, self-care, medications, and lifestyle changes. You can get free teleconsultation from our expert doctors on our online pharmacy – Truemeds or you can also download our Truemeds app. You can avail of branded as well as generic medicines by uploading your prescription on Truemeds. When placing an order for medicines online, you may save more money by selecting alternative or generic medicine advised by Truemed’s expert doctors. You can also save up to 72% on your purchase and get free home delivery pan India.

Disclaimer – The information given in this article is true to our best knowledge, still, we will recommend that you should consult your healthcare professional before taking any medication mentioned in this article.

Frequently asked questions

How to cure eczema permanently?

Eczema is caused by a variety of factors and controlling each factor might be difficult but it can be managed to the minimum level with different routes like home remedies, self-care, medications, and lifestyle changes.

Is eczema contagious?

Eczema is not contagious as it does not spread from person to person.

How to stop eczema itching immediately?

Eczema itching can be stopped by the application of different ointments like Opzelura (ruxolitinib 1.5%), tacrolimus ointment, pimecrolimus cream, and crisaborole.

Is eczema curable?

Eczema is caused by a variety of factors and controlling each factor might be difficult but it can be managed to the minimum level with different routes like home remedies, self-care, medications, and lifestyle changes.

Is eczema itchy?

Yes, eczema causes inflammation, rashes, and itchiness on the skin.

How long does homeopathy take to cure eczema?

Homeopathy has a good scope in treating eczema but the complete management depends on the severity of symptoms.

How to treat baby eczema?

Clean the baby’s skin with lukewarm water. Just 15 mins after cleaning the skin apply baby lotion like Cetaphil when the skin is still damp. Moisturize the skin twice daily.

References:

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/types/atopic-dermatitis/causes
https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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