What Is Eczema?

Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as Atopic Dermatitis. Symptoms include itchy, red, and dry skin caused by inflammation.

It can be extremely painful and embarrassing. It is believed that over 30 million Americans may have it. So there is no need to be embarrassed by it because you are not alone. Eczema affects about 10% to 20% of infants and about 3% adults and children in the U.S.

There is no cure for eczema but it can often be managed. Eczema is generally associated with people with dry, sensitive skin. There are many types of eczema and can be mild, moderate, or severe. Each person’s response to eczema is different and therefore, it may look different and affect different parts of the body at any given time. The cause of eczema is not fully known, but can be linked to the immune system and the response to irritants in the environment.

Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, and can commonly be found in areas that bend like the inner elbow or knee. Adults and children can also have eczema on their neck, wrists, and ankles. It is common for babies to eczema on their face, such as their cheeks and chin. Babies can also develop eczema on their scalp, trunk (chest and back), and out arms and legs.


Eczema Video

Living With Eczema

The last 8 years have been difficult. My 6-year-old daughter won’t ask me to help with certain tasks (buttoning clothes, wash her hair, etc.) because she knows how much my hands hurt. Sometimes when I hand people things (like money, paper, etc.) my hands start to bleed.

I have a hard time doing simple tasks, like opening a zip-lock bag or trying to hand somebody something. I love to garden and I can’t. I feel frustrated, sad, and in pain. Our family has a pool membership and I can’t go in to play with my daughter because of the chlorine. I feel so lame!

What would you like health care providers to know about treating people with your disease/condition?
Even though there is not a cure at this time, please listen to how painful it is. I have mentioned treatments to providers and they act like I don’t know what I’m talking about or blow it off. My dermatologist did not want to refer me to an allergist! I had to get a referral through my family doctor!

What worked for you and what didn’t (treatments, emotional support, etc.)?
Unfortunately, for the last year I have been very dependent on topical ointments, cortisone shots, and oral steroids. I hate taking the oral pills because they make me feel “nervous” and bloated. On the other hand, I get to the point where I can’t use my hands for anything because they are so sore.

What do you wish society knew about your disease/ condition?
There is no cure and the condition is not contagious. It hurts! It itches! It’s hard to sleep! It consumes your every move when you have an outbreak! I am very worried about what kind of work I can do now. I cannot expose my hands to any chemicals or excessive water. It is hard for me to write or type.

What would you tell other people who are newly diagnosed with this disease/condition?
Be persistent in finding some sort of solution. Educate yourself and be willing to experiment with all sorts of remedies. Most do not work, but you may find the magic one for you.

How do you think living with this disease/condition will affect your life in the future?
I am not sure. I am hoping it will start to dissipate, but I’m not holding my breath. I do worry about future job prospects. I worry about shaking hands with people. I also worry about staph infection because of the eczema located on my hands.

Marentette, Tonya. “Living with eczema.” Dermatology Nursing Sept.-Oct. 2010: 25+. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 June 2014.

Types Of Eczema

Eczema is an umbrella term for medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. There are many different forms of eczema, ranging for mild to severe and common to rare. Eczema is primarily a childhood and infancy disorder but there are many adults in the US that have eczema.

No matter what your condition or type of eczema, myskinclear.com has what you need to control your flare-ups and keep your symptoms at bay. Although there is no cure for eczema, it is highly manageable. Let us help you manage your eczema.


Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that is very similar to eczema but is usually limited to the scalp. Babies with this condition often have what is called “cradle cap”. Older children and adults develop it on the scalp as well and at this stage in life it is similar to dandruff. It can also affect the face especially around the nose, upper chest, and the creases of the arms, legs, and groin. This condition may overlap with psoriasis and has similar properties. The symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis are redness, itching, dry and flaking skin, with slight or moderate scaling.

The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is thought to be due to an abnormal inflammatory response to yeast that is normally found on the skin. The yeast is called Malassezia. Seborrheic dermatitis causes the skin to look greasy and scaly or flaky. The triggers of seborrheic dermatitis include stress, illness, temperature, and heavy alcohol use.  Seborrheic is not contagious and has periods of improvement and worsening. The best way to approach treatment of seborrheic dermatitis is to stay on top of it and treating flare ups before they have a chance to become really bad.

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    Atopic Dermatitis

    Atopic Dermatitis is the most severe and the longest lasting of the eczema types. Atopic dermatitis causes itchy, inflamed skin. With around 31 million people in the United States, atopic dermatitis is a prominent skin condition that requires a lot of attention. The most notable areas on the body are usually the insides of the elbows, the back of the knees, and the face. However, atopic dermatitis can cover most of the body. This form of eczema falls into a category that is responsible for other conditions such as hay fever and asthma.

    Atopic dermatitis most always begins in childhood and usually in infancy. The symptoms are dry, itchy, scaly skin, with cracks behind the ears, rashes on the cheeks, arms and legs. This condition improves and then worsens. The “flare-ups” occur when there is exposure to an irritant or trigger, such as temperature changes, stress, or even coming in contact with animal dander. The skin may crack and bleed or become crusted sores from scratching. During “flare-ups” is very important to not scratch or irritate the areas so as to lessen the possibility of infection.

    Atopic dermatitis is not contagious but is thought to be an inherited disease. Therefore, it is genetically determined and inherited from a parent. As a result, a child that has a parent with an atopic condition has a 25% chance of having some form of atopic disease.

    Hand Eczema

    Hand Eczema
    , also known as hand dermatitis, is a common condition affecting approximately 10% of the general population. This type of eczema has both internal and external factors. Internal factors can include your genetic make-up and your body’s ability to handle stress. External factors can include irritants and environmental hazards. Hand eczema is very common in people who have jobs involving cleaning, hairdressing, healthcare, catering, and mechanical work.

    Hand eczema is not contagious but it can have a huge effect on their personal and professional lives, not to mention their self-esteem. Symptoms of hand eczema include one or more of the following: redness, pain, itching, dryness to the point of peeling and flaking, blisters called vesicles, and cracks called fissures.

    Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis
    occurs when the skin comes in contact with substances that cause skin inflammation. These substances, called irritants, are wide ranging and vary from individual to individual. They can be perfumes, dyes, paints, bleach, fumes, tobacco smoke, solvents, industrial chemicals, detergents, woolen fabrics, skin care products and the fragrances used within them, acidic foods or astringents and other alcohols.

    Contact dermatitis is most commonly seen where the body has come into contact with the irritant, most notably the hands. There are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant and allergic dermatitis.