What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Eczema
The signs of eczema :
- are mainly dry, itchy skin. Because it is so itchy, it is often called “the itch that rashes.”
- include redness, scales, and bumps that can leak fluid and then crust over
- tend to come and go. When they get worse, it is called a flare-up.
- may be more noticeable at night
Symptoms can vary:
- Infants younger than 1 year old usually have the eczema rash on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. It may spread to the knees, elbows, and trunk .
- Older kids and teens usually get the rash in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, on the neck, or on the inner wrists and ankles. Their skin is often scalier and drier than when the eczema first began. It also can be thicker, darker, or scarred from all the scratching .
Frequently Asked Questions For Types Of Eczema
What does eczema look like?
Eczema often appears as red, irritated, itchy rashes on your skin. This symptom is a common presentation of atopic dermatitis, which is the most common form of eczema.
Another type of dermatitis, namely contact dermatitis, also presents with itchy and red patches that can be seen on skin that comes into contact with the irritant. But, again, depending on the type of eczema you have, the symptoms can look different.
How do you cure eczema?
In most cases of eczema, treatment or proper management is required to reduce inflammation, itch, and discomfort and prevent a recurrence. Corticosteroids in creams, lotions, and gels are often applied directly to the affected skin to combat itch and inflammation.
Depending on the type of eczema, different strategies can be incorporated to alleviate symptoms and prevent a recurrence. For instance, if you have contact dermatitis, one of the most crucial management strategies is to avoid the substance or compound that triggers your symptoms. Most forms of eczema also improve with the consistent use of emollients or moisturizers suitable for sensitive skin.
Can eczema go away?
While there is no known permanent cure for eczema, your rashes and symptoms can resolve with proper treatment and management. However, people will have to take extra measures to avoid recurring episodes and flare-ups in many cases. Avoiding your trigger is one of the best ways to prevent eczema flare-ups.
What is the root cause of eczema?
Eczema Coping Tips Avoid Changes In Temperature
Abrupt temperature and humidity changes can sometimes irritate the skin for example, going in and out of air-conditioned buildings on hot days or heated buildings on cold days.Hard physical activity or exercise that makes you sweat heavily can also trigger the itch of eczema.Suggestions include:
- In winter, dont overheat your house. Dress warmly when going outdoors and remove the extra layers as soon as you return.
- In summer, dont over cool your house. Air conditioners can dry out the air and irritate your skin.
- Avoid hard physical activity in hot weather. For example, do your gardening first thing in the morning, or in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a pharmacist or GP if you think you may have discoid eczema. They can recommend a suitable treatment.
You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may be infected. You may need to use an antibiotic cream or, in severe cases, take antibiotics as a tablet or capsule.
A GP should be able to make a diagnosis just by examining the affected areas of skin. In some cases they may also ask questions or arrange some tests to rule out other conditions.
A GP may refer you to a doctor who specialises in skin conditions if they’re unsure of the diagnosis or if you need a patch test.
Hand Foot And Mouth Disease
As the name suggests, hand, foot, and mouth disease can cause an itchy or painful rash on the hands or feet or both. It is most common in children under 5 years old.
It is a contagious virus that can spread through nose and throat secretions, feces, or scabs and blisters.
Aside from a rash, other symptoms include fever, sore throat, and mouth sores.
Bedbugs, which are roughly the size of poppy seeds, can cause very visible and itchy welts and rashes.
People who are highly sensitive or allergic to bed bugs may need antihistamines to reduce the itching.
It usually takes professionals to remove bed bugs. However, some of these methods may help.
The scabies mite, which is invisible to the naked eye, can also cause an itchy rash. A person can develop scabies after direct contact with a person who has the condition, or through contact with infected objects. Scabies is readily treated but requires prescription medication.
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Why Does Eczema Appear On The Hands
There can be a variety of reasons why eczema appears on the hands. For example, the hands can be affected by irritant or allergic contact dermatitis or both at the same time.
Coming into contact with irritants such as dust, detergents, cleaning agents, airborne sprays or even just frequent hand-washing can cause irritant hand eczema . The skin on the palms of the hands is much thicker than elsewhere on the body and is normally able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. But in people who regularly immerse their hands in detergents or solvents, the protective barrier of the skin breaks down, and eczema may develop. People who have this form of hand eczema often have a history of eczema in childhood.
Allergic hand eczema arises as a result of an allergic reaction to a particular substance in the environment. It is possible to be allergic to a number of different substances, but common causes of contact sensitivity include nickel, fragrances, preservative chemicals, rubber and various plants, amongst other things. Once a persons immune system has identified a substance as harmful, they will react to the substance every time their skin is exposed to it, and this reaction becomes more severe on every exposure to the allergen.
When an allergic reaction of this kind is suspected, your GP should refer you to a dermatologist, who will normally perform patch tests to try to identify the allergic cause.
Where Does Dermatitis Form On The Body
The location of your dermatitis depends on the type. For example, atopic dermatitis can appear anywhere on your skin. But, in teens and adults, its typically on the hands, inner elbows, neck, knees, ankles, feet and around the eyes. Seborrheic dermatitis and cradle cap are typically on your scalp, face and ears. Periorificial dermatitis is found around your eyes, mouth, nostrils and sometimes the genitals.
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What Do All Of The Seven Types Of Eczema Have In Common
If you live with eczema, you probably know the answer to this one: they itch! All different types of eczema share the universal symptom of pruritus, or itchiness. But thats not all. Dr. Lio explained that all seven types of eczema are also type 2 inflammatory skin conditions that share some of the same signalling molecules such as IL-4, IL-13 and IL-31. In other words, there is a biological commonality underlying all seven types of eczema. For more information about itch, check out our recent article The Complex Science of Itch.
Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis Treatment
Your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to apply to your rash. This will help reduce itching and calm inflammation. Use it right after bathing. Follow your doctors directions for using this medicine or check the label for proper use. Call your doctor if your skin does not get better with regular use of the medicine.
Antihistamines like hydroxyzine reduce itching. They can help make it easier to not scratch. A new class of drugs, called immunomodulators, works well if you have a severe rash. Two drugs in this class are tacrolimus and pimecrolimus. These drugs keep your immune system from overreacting when stimulated by an allergen. However, they can affect your immune system. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that these drugs be used only when other treatments dont work.
Try not to scratch the irritated area on your skin, even if it itches. Scratching can break the skin. Bacteria can enter these breaks and cause infection. Moisturizing your skin will help prevent itchiness.
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What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
What Is Eczema What Does It Look And Feel Like
Eczema is a condition that causes your skin to become dry, red, itchy and bumpy. Its one of many types of dermatitis. Eczema damages the skin barrier function . This loss of barrier function makes your skin more sensitive and more prone to infection and dryness.
Eczema doesnt harm your body. It doesnt mean that your skin is dirty or infected, and its not contagious. There are treatments that can help manage your symptoms.
In the word dermatitis, derm means skin and itis means inflammation. The word as a whole means inflammation of the skin. Eczema originates from the Greek word ekzein which means to boil over or break out.
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Tips For Managing Eczema
Dr. Browning explains to his patients that eczema is often a chronic condition that waxes and wanes. Emotional and physical triggers can set it off, so its key to be mindful of what those triggers are for you.
And eczema isnt just a condition that affects your skin. Managing and coping with eczema can take a toll on your mental health too. The chronicity of the itch-scratch cycle can lead to significant psychosocial impairmentnegative moods, poor social skills, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction. For this reason, treatment is so vital, says Dr. Sodha. Here are a few more self-care tips to help you cope at home:
- Keep your fingernails short to protect your skin from damage and infections.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air whenever heat or cool your home.
- Wear loose and moisture-wicking clothing if youre prone to sweating.
- Stash creams and gels in the fridge for cooling relief of inflamed skin.
- Moisturize daily after bathing and apply moisturizer more frequently when seasonal weather dries out the skin.
- Remove rings or snug-fitting bracelets while cleaning and washing your hands to keep irritants from getting trapped beneath.
- Wash new clothes in an eczema-friendly detergent before wearing them.
Causes Of Discoid Eczema
The cause of discoid eczema is unknown, although it may happen as a result of having particularly dry skin.
When your skin is very dry it cannot provide an effective barrier against substances that come into contact with it. This could allow a previously harmless substance, such as soap, to irritate your skin.
It’s important to look carefully at all the chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries that may have come into contact with your skin. Contact dermatitis, a type of eczema caused by coming into contact with a particular irritant, may have a role in discoid eczema.
Some people with discoid eczema also have a history of atopic eczema, which often happens in people who are prone to asthma and hay fever. However, unlike atopic eczema, discoid eczema does not seem to run in families.
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Eczema Coping Tips Reducing Skin Irritation
People with eczema have sensitive skin. Irritants such as heat or detergents can easily trigger a bout of eczema.Suggestions for reducing skin irritation include:
- Avoid overheating your skin. Wear several layers of clothing that you can remove, as required, instead of one heavy layer. Dont put too many blankets on your bed and avoid doonas.
- Dont use perfumed bubble bath or bath products labelled medicated.
- Wear soft, smooth materials next to your skin, preferably 100% cotton. Avoid scratchy materials, such as pure wool, polyester or acrylic. You could try a cotton and synthetic mix material this is fine for some people with eczema. Remove labels from clothing.
- Always wear protective gloves when using any type of chemical or detergent. You may want to wear cotton gloves inside rubber or PVC gloves.
- Avoid chlorinated pools. If you have to swim in a chlorinated pool, moisturise your skin well when you get out.
Helping Your Child Feel Better
If your child has eczema, keep their fingernails short and their skin moisturized. Dress them in loose-fitting clothes and make sure they don’t get overheated. Depending on how severe their eczema is, your doctor may recommend wet wraps, a diluted bleach bath, over-the-counter or prescription medications, and/or light therapy to help.
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Millions Live With Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is common worldwide. People of all ages from newborns to adults 65 years of age and older live with this condition. Symptoms range from excessively dry, itchy skin to painful, itchy rashes that cause sleepless nights and interfere with everyday life.
Atopic dermatitis is common
1 in 10 Americans has atopic dermatitis.
In the United States, research indicates that African American and Asian American children develop AD more often than white children.
When a child has deeply pigmented skin, AD tends to be diagnosed later in life. Sometimes, the condition is missed altogether because its less noticeable. In brown or black skin, you tend to see gray to violet-brown skin discoloration rather than red rashes.
Are There Complications Of Dermatitis
There are complications that come with dermatitis. The following do not apply to all types, and do not apply to all people, but are still common:
- Viral skin infections. Try not to scratch because that can worsen the infection.
- Bacterial skin infections. Try not to scratch because that can worsen the infection.
- Sleep loss.
- Blepharitis .
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How Is Dermatitis Treated What Medications Are Used
The type of treatment depends on the type of dermatitis and its location. Step number one is to avoid whatever triggers the dermatitis. That may be stress, a chemical, tobacco smoke and/or a number of other irritants that cause or worsen your dermatitis. Step number two is to try remedies on your own. Step number three is medication prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Other Types Of Eczema
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin. Other types of eczema include:
- atopic eczema the most common type of eczema, it often runs in families and is linked to other conditions such as asthma and hay fever
- contact dermatitis a type of eczema that happens when the skin comes into contact with a particular substance
- varicose eczema a type of eczema that usually affects the lower legs and is caused by problems with the flow of blood through the leg veins
Page last reviewed: 30 October 2019 Next review due: 30 October 2022
Who Gets Dermatitis
Anyone young and old can get dermatitis. Some examples include:
- Your baby can get cradle cap and diaper rash.
- Atopic dermatitis usually begins in childhood, but anyone at any age can get it.
- Anyone can get contact dermatitis as it just involves skin to substance contact.
- Individuals with celiac disease are prone to dermatitis herpetiformis.
There are several factors that put you at risk of getting dermatitis. Some examples include:
Atopic dermatitis risk factors include:
- A family history of dermatitis, hay fever or asthma.
- Being female.
Contact dermatitis risk factors include:
- If you work around chemicals such as in a factory, restaurant or garden.
Periorificial dermatitis risk factors include:
- Being female.
- Being ages 15 to 45.
Dyshidrotic dermatitis risk factors include:
- If you sweat a lot.
- Prolonged exposed to water and/or irritants.
- If you live in a warmer climate.
What To Watch For
When atopic dermatitis gets out of control, serious complications can occur. You may get bacterial or viral skin infections that can spread over large parts of the body. When atopic dermatitis isnt well controlled, it can lead to nighttime scratching, poor sleep, learning difficulties, and behavior problems. Severe cases can even lead to growth problems over time.
It is incredibly important to seek care from a dermatologist who can help establish best practices to keep it as well controlled as possible, says Dr. Browning.
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Care For Your Skin In The Bath Or Shower
Bathe only with a mild unscented soap, such as Dove, Basis, or Olay. Use a small amount of soap. Keep the water temperature cool or warm, not hot. Soaking in the tub for a short time can be good for your skin. Doing so allows your skins outer layer to absorb water and become less dry. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft towel to pat your skin dry without rubbing. Immediately after drying, apply a moisturizer to your skin. This helps seal in the moisture.