Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that involves inflammed, scaly and itchy rashes. Eczema looks different on every individual but it is mostly distinguished with its redness, dryness and the itchy patches on the skin. This skin condition can appear in any part of the body but infants generally have them on cheeks, scalp, neck, legs, forearms and foreheads. On the other hand, children and adults may have these itchy patches on the face, neck, elbows, behind the knees and ankles. For some, these patches may appear more scale-like, redder and drier caused from chronic scratching due to the thickening of the skin.
Eczema can run in the family, and those with asthma or allergies to food may suffer further eczema deterioration. There are other reasons that trigger the itch on eczema patients such as the hot weather, sweating, certain detergents and soaps. Each person's cause of flare-up is different and some get itchy due to dust mites, animal saliva's and even stress.
There is no exact cure for eczema but this skin condition is not known to be contagious.
Eczema can be minimized with simple preventive measures such as moisturizing more often, avoid overheating and sweating by not being in humid weather for too long, reducing stress, avoiding harsh materials and solvents, and staying away from food that may trigger a break-out.
Eczema patients should keep the affected areas moist at all times by applying lotions or creams, ideally right after a bath, so that the creams can be easily absorbed into the body. Another method to relieve the itchiness is to apply cold compressors. Corticosteroid ointments can be used to reduce inflammation as well, however, these ointments may have side effects such as skin thinning and therefore the cream should not be applied too frequently at the very same location.
Eczema may sometimes lead to an infection and in such situations, the patient is prescribed oral or topical antibiotics. Sometimes anti-histamines are used to reduce the itches, although, this may cause drowsiness. Other treatments include tar treatments and phototherapy which can be tedious and messy.