Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema refers to the chronic inflammation of the skin.
Known mainly to affect children, this skin disease may also occur in adulthood or even start at that time. Once developed, the skin becomes extremely reddened, itchy, dry and even cracked. Often this occurs because of hypersensitivity. Some other eczema causes include inflammation to the skin or even an allergy. The condition often becomes worse due to heat, abrasions because of scratching or even stress.
These patches are known to occur mainly behind the knees, on the neck, on the folds of the wrists as well as elbows, ankles and feet. In case, it has developed from infancy, usually the areas affected are the cheeks of the faces which are then followed by rashes on the legs and arms.
It is extremely common for those people who suffer from asthma or have a family history of the same, respiratory allergies, eczema or even hay fever.
In fact, atopy refers to the hereditary predisposition towards developing hypersensitivity reactions. Some of these include asthma, hay fever, chronic urticarial and certain other types of this skin ailment. Therefore, atopic eczema refers to that form which is characterised by atopy (inherited).
In case a person suffers from this medical condition, there are many causal factors which lead to flare-ups.
Some of them include certain types of food substances such as eggs, nuts, soya, wheat, milk (cow’s); a dry climate along with dry skin; the exposure to the exposure to certain environmental factors such as chlorine, soaps, detergents or any sort of irritating substance; and finally one of the worst factors, stress. Of course, the progression can be decreased by avoiding any of these triggering factors.
However, in the long-run it may lead to permanent scarring, development of infections and Post inflammatory hypopigmentation.
With no cure available, there are a variety of methods to treat the cause of eczema aim at preventing further inflammation, itching and worsening of the condition. It is extremely important to keep in mind the age of the person while seeking treatment, his/her overall health status, the severity and type.
This may involve several lifestyle changes as well as the use of various prescribed medications. It is extremely important to keep the skin well-hydrated, by applying ointments and creams which have a low water content and high oil content. The creams and lotions are generally to reduce for the red, inflamed areas. Ointments are prescribed for all those dry areas which have not yet inflamed.
Usually Corticosteroid creams help to reduce the inflammatory reaction to the skin. They may be available in mild, medium or high potency; depending on the severity of the symptoms that are displayed.
Oral Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone are also prescribed at times to help control an acute outbreak of this skin disease.
Emollient creams, such as the petrolatum-based creams are extremely therapeutic. These should be applied 5 minutes after having a bath. Severe cases may be treated by taking oral anti-immunosuppressant drugs such as Methotrexate and Cyclosporine. Ultraviolet light therapy may also be administered for certain cases. This involves using artificial ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVD) light; either alone or in combination.
A number of complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, herbal remedies, homeopathy and massages have provided long-term benefits for treating this skin disease.