Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is an inflammation of the skin. Symptoms of eczema include itchiness, crusting of the skin, irregular skin texture, redness, dryness, skin lesions, oozing, scarring, and blistering. The location of these symptoms varies in adults, but has more recognizable patterns in babies and children (see Eczema Causes).
Eczema comes in many different forms, and affects babies, children, and adults. Because it is such a diverse condition in its symptoms and affected population, eczema can be difficult to recognize and classify.
One form of eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, manifests itself in small blisters on the hands and feet of patients. This form of eczema is twice as common among women as among men, and is more likely to manifest when a patient is stressed, exhibiting symptoms of an allergic reaction, or is often exposed to water or certain chemical elements.
There are many common forms of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, which is an itchy rash that is believed to be hereditary; contact dermatitis, which spreads through touching either an allergan or an irritant; xerotic eczema, which is severely dry skin that becomes eczema; and seborrhoeic dermatitis, a condition related to dandruff that is common among newborn babies. Dermatologists can also treat less common forms of eczema.
Sometime patients can confuse their symptoms with Psoriasis
The precise cause of eczema is unknown. Some scientists argue that eczema is caused by bacteria and other threats to the immune system that are associated an unclean living environment. Others argue that eczema is purely genetic, due to the discovery of several genes associated with the condition, and a possible genetic link between eczema and celiac disease.
However, eczema can likely be attributed to combination of genetic makeup and environmental factors.
Because eczema is common in families with a history of the condition, eczema may often by found in babies and children as well as adults. The appearance and symptoms of eczema may change as a child grows. In babies, eczema it is most commonly found on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, knees, and elbows. In toddlers, eczema is most commonly found in the creases of wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. It may also irritate the skin around the eyes and mouth. Fortunately, eczema in babies and young children tends to recede as they grow.
While there is no known cure for eczema, there are many treatment options available to help control its symptoms. In adults, dermatologists recommend bathing daily; moisturizing affected skin with perfume-free emollients; light ultraviolet therapy; and certain types of steroids to treat moderate to severe symptoms.
Dermatologists recommend daily baths for babies and children with eczema, using limited amounts of soap for sensitive skin, and avoiding irritants like loofahs and scrub brushes. Your doctor may also recommend a bleach bath for your child to prevent infections and the spread of bacteria.
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