Eczema - Types and Causes of Eczema

by : Peter sams

Eczema is basically a skin disease typical to youth, but Eczema may occur to the people at any age. Eczema is a specific type of allergic cutaneous manifestation of antigen-antibody reaction. It is characterized by superficial inflammatory oedema of the epidermis associated with vesicle formation. Eczema is characterized by itching, scaling and burning of the skin.

Although eczema can sometimes look unpleasant, it is not contagious. With treatment the inflammation of eczema can be reduced. However, the skin will always be sensitive to flare-ups and need extra care.The term 'Eczema' is a Greek word (Ee means out, and Zeo means boil). The whole word implies 'boil out'. The Hindustani name for eczema is Chambal.

Types of Eczema (Dermatitis)

Allergic contact eczema (dermatitis): a red, itchy, weepy reaction where the skin has come into contact with a substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign, such as poison ivy or certain preservatives in creams and lotions
Contact eczema: a localized reaction that includes redness, itching, and burning where the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy-causing substance) or with an irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical
Dyshidrotic eczema: irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn
Neurodermatitis: scaly patches of the skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms caused by a localized itch (such as an insect bite) that become intensely irritated when scratched
Nummular eczema: coin-shaped patches of irritated skin-most common on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs-that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy
Causes of Eczema
The cause of the Eczema is unknown. Exciting causes are varied, viz., chemicals, plants, clothing, cosmetics, medicaments, infections, drugs, diet, focal sepsis etc. This is caused by direct contact between the skin and the substance, which might be adetergent, soap, diesel or engine oil, strong chemical, cleaner, etc. Eczema can also be caused by contact with substances that the body has become allergic to, called allergic contact dermatitis. This type commonly involves nickel, poison ivy, cosmetics, and rubber products. Infantile eczema often affects young babies, and is caused by moisture from drool or inflammation of the scalp (cradle cap).

Treatment of Eczema

Following are the treatments for a eczema patient:
1.Use of creams, ointments and shower and bath oils which help to replenish the skin's natural protective oils.
2.Cream or ointment containing a steroid (topical steroid)as prescribed by doctor. These are very effective at reducing inflammation and itch.
3.In moderate to severe atopic eczema, where topical steroid treatment has not worked, your doctor may prescribe a new type of treatment to be applied to the skin (topical treatment). The preparations are made from a type of drug known as immunomodulators (calcineurin inhibitors, eg tacrolimus and pimecrolimus)
4.Antihistamines taken by mouth may be helpful in reducing the itch. Your doctor will advise.
5.If the skin becomes obviously infected, which is more likely as its normal protective surface has been damaged, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics .
6.There are a number of older fashioned remedies which are still effective and may be suggested by your doctor or specialist. For example tars, menthol.