Dermatologist Edmonton - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis is referred to as eczema. The term literally means "to boil over", in the Greek language. Practically 1 in 9 individuals in the UK have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the words eczema and dermatitis are synonymous and frequently the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the word eczema implies a chronic condition and dermatitis refers to an acute one.
The word generally covers a range of persistent skin conditions like for instance: recurring skin dryness and rashes which is associated with at least one of the following indications of itching and dryness, flaking, crusting, bleeding, oozing, skin oedema or swelling and blistering. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration may result. Additionally, scratching open a lesion which is in the healing process can enlarge the rash and could cause possible scarring.
Describing eczema can be confusing. It can be described by specific appearance, by location or by possible cause. Many sources even use the words atopic dermatitis which is the most common kind of eczema and the word eczema interchangeably with could add to the confusion.
The following classifications are ordered by incidence frequency.
Atopic eczema, that is likewise referred to as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis, is an allergic disease believed to have a genetic component. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the head and scalp, the inside of elbows, on the buttocks and behind the knees. This particular kind of eczema is quite common in developed countries. It could be tricky to differentiate between irritant contact dermatitis.
The categories that contact dermatitis falls into is allergic and irritant. Irritant dermatitis could be caused to specific irritants including detergents like for instance sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis could occur as a result of a delayed reaction to particular allergen such as poison ivy or nickel. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an allergen and an irritant. Phototoxic dermatitis can happen together with various substances after sunlight exposure. Roughly three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant type. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance could be removed from one's environment and avoided, contact eczema can be curable.
There is a kind of eczema which worsens during dry winter weather conditions and commonly affects the trunk and the limbs. It is referred to as xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, craquelatum eczema or pruritus hiemalis. The tender, itchy skin resembles a dry and cracked river bed. This condition is extremely common amongst older patients. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap in infants is officially called Seborrheic or Seborrhoeic dermatitis. This is a condition that is usually classified as a type of eczema which is connected directly to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry peeling of the scalp and can likewise have an effect on the eyebrows, face and at times the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a crusty, thick, yellow scalp rash that is known as cradle cap. This particular condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is usually curable.
Less Common Kinds of Eczema
Dyshidrosis is one more type of eczema that also goes under the names of dyshidrotic eczema, pompholyx eczema, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife's eczema. This particular condition generally shows up on the palms, soles and sides of fingers and toes. It presents with small opaque bumps known as vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching that becomes worse at night. This is a common form of hand eczema and it becomes worse during warm conditions.
Other less common types of eczema comprise Discoid e., Venous e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Neurodermatitis, Autoeczematization as well as other forms that are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, like lymphoma for example. There are several other rare eczematous disorders that exist in addition to these too.
Some attribute eczema to the hygiene hypothesis. This theory postulates that the cause of eczema, asthma and other allergic diseases is because of a very clean surrounding. This particular theory is supported by epidemiologic research for asthma which states that during development it is vital to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and therefore, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for asthma and allergy.
One other theory states that the excrement from house dust mites cause the allergic reaction of eczema. Though 5 percent of individuals show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further justification.
Usually the diagnosis of eczema consists largely on physical examination and history. Nevertheless, several cases may need a skin biopsy.
People suffering from eczema should not receive the smallpox vaccination due to the risk of developing eczema vaccinatum. This is a possibly sever and at times fatal complication.
Due to the fact there is no known treatment for eczema; treatments are generally based on controlling the signs by relieving the itching and reducing inflammation. There are various medications existing such as corticosteroids, hydrocortisone, injectable or oral corticosteroids. These come with various possible side effects, most usually thinning the skin, although there is ongoing research in this field. Usually, these steroids are to be utilized really carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are one more kind of treatment even though a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA because of probable risk of skin cancer and lymph node cancer. Different expert medical groups don't agree with the FDA findings.
Several severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. These are occasionally prescribed and could yield dramatic improvements to the patient's eczema but because they dampen the immune system, they could have major side effects. In order to be on this kind of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a physician and go through regular blood tests.
Using antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs could help in the treatment of the itching factor of eczema. By initiating a sedative effect, these work to reduce damage and irritation to the skin. Various popular sedating antihistamines include Phenergan or Benadryl. Moisturizers are likewise applied to the skin in order to help the healing and soothing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also utilized, although, numerous health food stores provide some preparations with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an option.
By applying cool water via a bath, swimming or a wet washcloth, many patients have found quick relief. Another proven soothing treatment is to apply an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even using air blowing from an air conditioning vent.
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