What Does Eczema Look Like?
Eczema on the Arms
Eczema on the Face
Eczema on the Foot
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a pattern of skin disease. It includes smaller-in-size, raised blisters on the skin that sometimes ooze fluids. In older eczema, the skin becomes thick with elevation and scaling. Eczema is almost always very itchy. There are different types of skin conditions which can produce eczema. Some eczema may be wet, full of fluids, and red in color, while others are completely dry. Both, however, are extremely irritating and itchy.
What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
All types of eczema have one common symptom: they are itchy and constantly need to be scratched or rubbed.
Different types of eczema have a similar appearance; they usually feature thick skin with elevated plagues, and the skin remains bumpy.
Eczema becomes more itchy when wet under water.
The upper surface of the eczema helps distinguish between the different types. Some eczemas are dry and remain itchy all the time, while wet eczema is painful and full of fluids, but is less itchy.
Eczema can appear on the back of the neck, on the elbows, or behind the knees, as well as over the toes or between the fingers.
What Are the Causes of Eczema?
Eczema is a condition of the skin caused by genetic factors, nutritional deficiencies, and bacterial infections, which cause the skin to become dry and irritated. Eczema can also occur due to atmospheric conditions, such as excessive pollen or smoke.
Eczema occurs on the skin as an infection caused by wounds and injuries. When in contact with delicate skin conditions, the infected bacteria start working on the skin. If the affected skin is not properly treated, it leads to viral infections that can damage the skin. Such damaged skin areas can easily become affected with contagious, itchy eczema. Eczema is a contiguous disease and can be passed to other people through the sharing of clothes, shoes, or beds for a longer period of time.
There are different types of skin conditions which can lead to the development of eczema. Hence, before the doctor develops an accurate treatment plan, it is advisable to first distinguish between them.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: This is also known as dyshidrosis, which is a skin condition where blisters develop on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. These blisters tend to get itchy and are filled with fluids. They are believed to be related to stress or any season allergies and tend to go away in about two to four weeks. The exact cause of this kind of eczema is still not known, but it is thought to be related to seasonal allergies, such as hay fever.
- Hand dermatitis: Hand eczema is a common group of acute, chronic eczematous. This disorder usually affects the palmar and dorsal portions of the hand. Hand dermatitis is quite common, especially in young adult females. This can occur at any age, including childhood. It is common in people who are in industries involved with catering, cleaning, hairdressing, housework, and painting. The main cause of this eczema is due to contact with irritants or specific allergies.
- Atopic dermatitis: This is a common chronic skin disease mostly seen in adults, babies, and children. The skin on the face becomes very irritable and dry. There are two phases of atopic dermatitis, the active phase, which is also known as flare-ups, and the inactive phase.
- Nummular eczema: This is a rare skin problem often characterized by coin-shaped spots on the skin. The condition can become chronic and thus may last for several years.
Making a Diagnosis of Eczema
Eczema is generally treated by family doctors. However, the treatment of eczema involves understanding the different health-related causes, so one may need to consult a health specialist or dermatologist for more effective treatment.
An expert dermatologist will examine the entire surface of the skin and study the patient’s complete medical history. Skin samples will be checked in laboratories from time to time while treatment is in progress.
Treatment of Eczema
Treating eczema is a longer process, and it takes a few months for the eczema to start responding to the medicine. The physician will offer various medications depending on the condition and the response to the treatment. Medication involves creams or ointments to be applied over the infected skin to work on the nearly-dead skin for a few weeks. The treatment is slow and lengthy and takes time to complete. A skin specialist can plan the treatment depending on the results received.
The exact effect of diet while treating eczema is undetermined, but it has been proven to play a significant role.
There are many eczema treatments and natural home remedies, such as coconut oil, aloe vera, or banana peel, which are natural, effective, and do not have any side effects. A controlled diet that features mild, less spicy, and less oily food can also aid an early recovery.
Prevention of Eczema
There are at least ten types of eczema, but atopic dermatitis is one of the most common.
The following are a few tips to prevent eczema:
- Use soap wisely: Use soap only on the body parts that need it and avoid using it on skin affected by eczema.
- Use moisturizer: Use a moisturizer on the area of skin with eczema. Even after a bath, make use of the moisturizer immediately to blot off any excess water.
- Use fragrance-free moisturizer: Make use of fragrance-free moisturizers that do not have any color or additives, which could irritate the skin.
- Wash clothes: Wash your clothes clean and make sure you remove the traces of eczema from them; if they are not washed clean, they will make you itch.
- Keep your hands clean: Always wear gloves while working in the kitchen. Cotton gloves are the best to use, as they do not get hot or dusty easily. You can also wear cotton linen under rubber gloves.
- Bath in lukewarm water: To keep your skin smooth and clear, you can bathe in lukewarm water. Use more water and soak the skin to keep it hydrated.
- Use oils and creams: Use oils and hydrocortisone creams when the itching over the skin is intolerable.
Lifestyle and Coping with Eczema
Eczema is a serious issue that requires certain precautions. It can appear either in a wet form, having a fluid spread all over it, or it can be dry, with thick skin that is often itchy.
Sometimes, the skin will itch for a long time, and other times, it won’t itch at all. Either way, do not scratch the eczema patches; the more you scratch, the more you will want to keep doing so. Also, scratching damages the skin, which could lead to a new infection. Instead of scratching, find ways to control the feeling of itching. The best way to control it is to use ointments, oils, and cold compresses. Also, take frequent baths in lukewarm water and keep moisturizers handy.