February 28, 2015

The Eczema Definition and Most Common Types

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a broad term used for various skin irritations caused by inflammation. This chronic and persistent skin condition affects millions worldwide, 3.5% of World population, a total of 230 million people based on 2010 statistics. Again in 2010, it affected about 10% of U.S. workers, representing over 15 million. It also affects more than 10% of children in the United States and is more common in younger children. 

It starts to manifest with dryness and recurring skin rashes and is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: redness, itchiness, skin swelling, blistering, cracking, bleeding, weeping, and crusting.

If you look at medical books and journals published by institutions such as European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), you’ll see that the term dermatitis is also a moniker for this skin inflammation. Eczema is essentially an abnormal condition of the skin, interfering with its function or duty to resist infections and irritations, and causing it to swell, dry up, or redden. It is usually caused by a genetic condition, although there are other causes. Itchiness is one of the symptoms of eczema. Skin flakes may also be observed in some eczema cases. Lumps, or blisters, can also occur in affected areas.

Eczema is known to appear on the face, wrists, hands, neck, arms, chest, and even in the back of the knees. Anyone can have eczema, especially children or even infants. In children and babies, eczema usually appears on the cheeks, chin, arms, and their tummy, stomach area. Some people even have their scalp affected by this condition in some cases. Therefore, it is a must to know the ways in which to cure it. We need to know the basics about eczema and its cure.

Although the term eczema is interchangeably used with most common type atopic dermatitis there are many different types of eczema, some of them more common than the others. Below you will find 4 common types of eczema that we briefly reviewed for you. This is for your information only though. Make sure to consult with your health care provider if you have eczema or any other skin condition that causes irritation, itch, and cracking.

Atopic Eczema

atopic eczema

Atopic Dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. The causes could be many factors including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, or complications with skin permeability. In adults it’s usually seen in hands and feet. Although it could be chronic in nature, luckily the condition could easily be reversed by changing the trigger factors and making it inconstant. Those who suffer from this type of eczema experience outbreaks or flare-ups. Trigger factors, which may include certain foods and chemical irritations, are the leading cause of atopic dermatitis. Patients who determine their trigger factors and work to eliminate them tend to experience fewer and less severe flare-ups.

This is one of the eczema types seen in children, most commonly children younger than one year of age. And it usually affects most of their body. As they get older the back of the knees and front of the elbows are the most common areas for rash, redness, and dryness appear. Most children outgrow it.

Contact Eczema

Contact eczema is similar to atopic dermatitis, but it results in a localized reaction. Only the superficial regions of the skin are affected in this type of dermatitis. A common cause of a contact eczema outbreak is direct skin contact with chemicals. It results in large, burning, and itchy rashes. It is quite common in North America alone. Some of the common causes include solvents, metalworking fluids, latex, kerosene, certain foods or drinks, food flavorings and spices, perfume, alkalis, low humidity from air conditioning, various plants, harsh alkaline soaps, detergents, and cleaning products.

For example, some women may experience flare-ups on their risks, hands, or face after applying makeup or perfume. The symptom would usually linger even after the causing agent has been removed. Although anyone can suffer from contact eczema, those with a history of allergies seem to be more prone.

Seborrheic Eczema

Seborrheic eczema, like other forms of the condition, is an inflammation of the skin. Many areas of the body could be targeted, but it commonly affects the scalp, face, and torso. The skin is irritated, scaly, flaky, itchy, and red. This eczema, however, is used to describe flare-ups and outbreaks that don’t have a cause. The possible causes could be linked to weakened immune system or the lack of specific nutrients. A clean scalp is essential to preventing a flare-up of seborrheic dermatitis. A common example of this type of eczema is cradle cap in babies and infants, that causes a thick, yellow, crusty scalp rash that is usually related to lack of biotin.

Nummular Eczema

Although relatively rare and uncommon, nummular eczema is another type of diagnosable eczema. The most noticeable and distinguishable feature is patches of irritated skin that are coin or oval shaped. The coin-shaped patches can be seen in any part of the body, but the legs and buttocks are most commonly affected areas. Flare-ups are usually associated with dry skin, therefore the dry winter weather is particularly bad for those with this condition.

It is a chronic condition. Allergies, family history of eczema, and asthma lead to an increased risk of having this type of eczema. While anyone can have nummular eczema, it is most common in elderly males in their 60’s.

There are other types of eczema that men, women, and children suffer from. Although the names are different, the treatment options are usually the same. Medical professionals recommend avoiding skin irritants, keeping the body well moisturized, and making the switch to all-natural products. For an accurate diagnosis on what type of eczema you suffer from, it’s imperative to have a visit with a healthcare provider.

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Chiara White

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