What is eczema exactly? Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is pretty much a general term used to cover many several skin conditions. It is an inflammation of the skin resulting in itchiness, blisters, redness, scaling, scabbing, and lichenification (thickening) of the skin. The word eczema comes from Greek words which means ‘to boil over’. This perfectly illustrates the irritation and inflammation of the skin which is caused by this condition.
There are more specific forms of eczema:
This form of eczema usually begins in the first few months of life and results in red, itchy, weeping lesions on parts of the body where the skin creases such as the front of the elbows and behind the knees as well as on the face, scalp and extremities.
Atopic dermatitis is thought to effect up to one in five children and one in 12 adults and possible causes range from rough and dry skin due to food allergies, dust mites, pet allergies and exposure to certain bacteria. This condition is also thought to be largely inherited.
This form of eczema is most common among adults and occurs on skin which has come into contact with a chemical substance. There are two forms of contact dermatitis, the first of which is allergic contact dermatitis in which the surface of the skin is damaged by frequent contact with damaging substances such as cleaning products, the second of which is irritant contact dermatitis which occurs when the skin comes into contact with something which removes its natural oils resulting in red, dry, cracked and itchy skin.
Named discoid eczema because the patches of inflamed skin appear in ‘disc’ shapes. The condition can occur at any age but is most common among adults and older adults and is often difficult to treat in comparison to other forms of eczema.
Malassezia is a form of yeast which is present on the surface of the skin. Though this is present in everyone, individuals who have seborrhoeic eczema have a higher volume of it on their skin and it tends to cause inflammation on areas which are affected by hair growth such as on the eyebrows and scalp.
This form of the condition affects the skin which surround varicose veins in the lower leg and is most common among elderly adults.