What is Eczema and Causes of Eczema

types of eczema dermatitis

An estimated 1 in 5 people in developed countries like the USA and Singapore suffer from eczema, which is an itchy, red rash that can occur all over the body. It is most commonly found on the elbows or knees, but can occur all over the body. The good news is symptoms normally dissipate as a person ages although flare-ups can sometimes occur. Eczema is basically a dry, super sensitive patch of skin that is very itchy. It can become so itchy that constant itching and scratching can lead to the skin bleeding and causing the condition to get even worse and more inflamed.

Causes of Eczema

The exact causes of eczema are unknown but it is associated with both genetic and environmental factors. One theory is that eczema occurs when the immune system overreacts in response some kind of an irritant. Or that the skin’s immune system is undeveloped due to overuse of antibacterial cleansers during infancy. Another factor is that eczema is congenital, if your parents have it, then you could have it too, especially if they have allergies or asthma. Other causes of eczema include weather extremes (too hot or too cold), certain soaps, animal dander, food allergies and stress.

Symptoms of Eczema

Eczema normally begins with pruritus (itching) or a rash. Normally the spots of irritating, dry skin will appear on a person’s face, hands, knees, wrist, neck, or feet. For people with light skin, eczema will appear red and then turn brown. For people with darker skin, eczema will affect the color of the skin by turning it a darker or a lighter shade. Symptoms include skin peeling, flaking and itchy or painful raw spots

Types of Eczema:

  • Atopic Dermatitis – Chronic, severe, persistent, itchy and inflamed skin.
  • Hand Eczema – Eczema that occurs on the hand.
  • Contact Dermatitis – Eczema that occurs when skin comes in contact with certain substances.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis – Chronic, itchy, scaly skin.
  • Dyshidrotic Eczema – Causes the appearance of blisters on the fingers, palms, and soles of the feet. It is most common in women.
  • Nummular Eczema – This type of eczema is also called discoid eczema or nummular dermatitis and looks different than normal eczema.
  • Neurodermatitis – This is also called lichen simplex chronicus and oftentimes results in focal patches as a result of constant rubbing and scratching of a specific area.
  • Stasis Dermatitis – Occurs where there are problems with the veins and normally appears on the lower legs.

Eczema can be caused by many factors. These vary depending on the individual and their environment. It also depends on your family’s history with eczema and allergies. Once the cause is identified, treatment may commence.

Commercial cleansers, even those recommended by doctors, contain chemicals that can irritate skin. Many people are pleasantly surprised that simply switching to a natural soap can be an effective home remedy that does wonders as a treatment for eczema.