Dermatologist Peterborough - Dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin known as 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 dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and frequently the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the word eczema refers to a chronic condition and dermatitis implies an acute one.
The word broadly covers various persistent skin conditions like for example: recurring skin dryness and rashes which is connected with at least one of the following symptoms of itching and dryness, flaking, crusting, oozing, bleeding, blistering and skin oedema or swelling. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration may result. Also, scratching open a lesion which is in the healing process can enlarge the rash and can cause potential scarring.
Describing eczema could be confusing. It can be described by specific appearance, by location or by possible cause. Many sources even utilize the terms atopic dermatitis that 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 is known as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis. It is an allergic disease that is thought to have a hereditary element. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with members who also suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash which develops on the inside of elbows, scalp and head, on the buttocks and behind the knees. This particular kind of eczema is rather common in developed countries. It could be difficult to distinguish between irritant contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis falls into two categories: irritant and allergic. Irritant dermatitis can result directly from a reaction to anything specific such as a detergent like sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can take place as a result of a delayed reaction to some allergen like nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an allergen and an irritant. Phototoxic dermatitis could take place along with different substances after exposure to sunlight. Roughly three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant kind. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance can be avoided and removed from one's environment, contact eczema could be curable.
There is a type of eczema that worsens during dry winter weather conditions and usually affects the limbs and the trunk. It is known as craquele eczema or xerotic eczema, asteatotic eczema, winter itch, craquelatum eczema or pruritus hiemalis. The tender, itchy skin resembles a cracked and dry river bed. This condition is really common amongst older patients. A connected disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap within infants is officially called Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrheic. This is a condition that is often classified as a form of eczema which is related closely to dandruff. It causes a greasy or dry peeling of the scalp and could likewise affect the eyebrows, face and sometimes the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a yellow, crusty, thick scalp rash which is known as cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is normally curable.
Less Common Kinds of Eczema
Dyshidrosis is one more kind of eczema which also goes under the names of pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife's eczema. This particular condition usually shows up on the palms, soles and sides of fingers and toes. It presents with tiny opaque bumps called vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching that becomes worse at night. This is a common type of hand eczema and it gets worse in warm conditions.
Venous e., Discoid e., Duhring's Disease or DermaDermatitisetiformis, Neurodermatitis, and Autoeczematization are other less common forms of eczema, that are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, as in lymphoma for instance. There are numerous other rare eczematous disorders that exist in addition to these too.
Various professionals have attributed eczema to the hypothesis of hygiene. The cause of eczema, according to this particular theory is asthma and other allergic diseases is due to a very clean environment. This particular theory is supported by epidemiologic studies for asthma that states that during development it is essential to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and thus, missing out on this exposure increases the possibility for asthma and allergy.
Another theory suggested is that eczema is an allergic reaction to the excrement from house dust mites. Though 5% of individuals show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further justification.
Normally the diagnosis of eczema consists mostly on history and physical examination. Then again, several cases could need a skin biopsy.
Because of the chance of developing eczema vaccinatum, people who have eczema should not receive the smallpox vaccination. This is a potentially sever and sometimes fatal complication.
Due to the fact there is no known treatment for eczema; treatments are generally based on controlling the indications by relieving the itching and reducing inflammation. There are various medications offered such as hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, injectable or oral corticosteroids. These come with some possible side effects, most usually thinning the skin, although there is ongoing study in this area. Normally, these steroids are to be used very carefully and a little goes a long way.
Due to probable chance of lymph node cancers and skin cancers, a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA on using immunomodulators. Various professional medical organizations disagree with the FDA findings.
Some of the more severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. At times these are prescribed and give slight to even dramatic improvements in the patient's eczema. Nevertheless, these can dampen the immune system and have major side effects. To be able to be on this kind of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a doctor and go through regular blood tests.
The itching factor of eczema could be counteracted using antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs. These work to reduce irritation and damage to the skin by initiating a sedative effect. Several popular sedating antihistamines include Phenergan or Benadryl. Moisturizers are likewise applied to the skin to help the soothing and healing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also used, however, numerous health food stores provide some preparations with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an option.
By applying cool water via a wet washcloth, a bath or swimming, lots of 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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