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What Are The Signs Of Eczema

Causes Triggers And Risk Factors

What is Eczema? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Researchers are still unsure of the exact cause of pediatric eczema. However, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology suggests that it may result from the leakiness of the skin barrier. This can lead to the skin drying out, making it more prone to irritation and inflammation. Factors that can contribute to the development of eczema in children include :

  • Genetics: Children with a family history of eczema, allergies, or asthma are more susceptible to developing eczema. Mutations in certain genes, such as CARD11 and FLG, also have associations with eczema.
  • The immune system: A person may experience a flare of eczema when their immune system overreacts and causes an exaggerated response to a trigger.
  • The environment: The envirome refers to potential triggers an individual may have exposure to, including pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, climate factors, such as temperature, and social factors, such as stress.

Evidence also highlights a link between allergies and eczema in younger children. Many experts refer to the progression of allergic conditions as the . It typically begins with atopic dermatitis and food allergies in infancy, then develops into allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis in childhood.

People with eczema are

When diagnosing eczema, doctors will likely ask about:

Currently, there is no cure for eczema, but the condition is manageable. Treatments typically involve keeping the skin moist and reducing inflammation. A treatment plan may include:

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyEczemaTeam is the social network for people with eczema and their loved ones. Here, more than 43,000 members from around the world come together to ask questions, offer support and advice, and connect with others who understand life with eczema.

Do you get eczema on your scalp? How do you cope? Share your experience in the comments below or start a discussion on MyEczemaTeam.

What Are The Causes Of Eczema

Many factors can contribute to eczema, including an interaction between your environment and your genes. When an irritant or an allergen from outside or inside the body switches on the immune system, it produces inflammation, or a flare-up, on the surface of the skin. This inflammation causes the symptoms common to most types of eczema. Creases of the skin, especially the flexural areas behind the knees, elbows, lower legs and other areas of skin that rub against each other can lead to irritation. There is also a potential genetic component to eczema that includes a protein called filaggrin that helps maintain moisture in your skin a filaggrin deficiency can lead to drier, itchier skin.

Many common household items are also potential environmental irritants and can cause allergic reactions leading to an eczema flare. Additional common triggers of eczema may include:

  • extended exposure to dry air, extreme heat or cold
  • some types of soap, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, facial cleansers
  • laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
  • certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and sheets
  • surface cleaners and disinfectants
  • natural liquids like the juice from fruit, vegetables and meats
  • fragrances in candles

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Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products

Suggestions for using beauty products include:

  • Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
  • Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
  • When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.

Whats The Difference Between Dermatitis And Psoriasis

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Psoriasis and dermatitis can appear similar. Both cause patches of red skin. However, in psoriasis, the scales are thick and the edges of those scales are well-defined.

Discuss with your healthcare provider your questions about which type of skin condition you have. You can have more than one skin condition at a time. Treatments for one may not work for the other.

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Medical Treatment For Eczema

Eczema cant be cured. But it can be managed by preventing and treating flare-ups as soon as they appear.

If your childs skin is inflamed and itchy, theyll probably need some corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroids over the counter at your pharmacy. The most common is hydrocortisone 1% cream. For more serious eczema or if the over-the-counter products arent working, youll need to see your GP to get a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid.

Other eczema treatments include pimecrolimus, a non-steroidal cream. Doctors might prescribe this cream for children with mild to moderate eczema on the face and in body folds.

If your child is scratching at a rash, you could ask your pharmacist or GP about using an antihistamine medication for a few days. Together with a corticosteroid cream, this might give your child some rest and help the flare-up to settle.

If your childs eczema rash gets infected, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics.

What Does It Look Like

The signs of eczema in infants include itchy, dry and scaly skin, redness and swelling of the skin and small bumps that open and weep when scratched. In infants and young children, eczema is usually found on the face, outside of the elbows, and on the knees.

In older children and adults, eczema tends to be on the hands and feet, the arms, and on the back of the knees.Keep in mind that all patches of dry skin are not eczema. The cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can dry all babies skin in winter, causing dry patches. In children prone to dry skin, so can the sun, air conditioning, and pool and salt water.

We dermatologists usually say if its not itchy, its not eczema you cant make a diagnosis of eczema unless there is an itchiness that goes with the rash. Babies with cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, can also have a wide-spread rash, which is not eczema in itself. But it is common for cradle cap and eczema to co-exist in the first several months of life.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema

The most important thing to remember is that eczema and its symptoms are different for everyone. Your eczema may not look the same on you as it does on another adult or on your child. Different types of eczema may even appear in different areas of the body at different times.

Eczema is usually itchy. For many people, the itch can range from mild to moderate. But in some cases, it can become much worse and you might develop extremely inflamed skin. Sometimes the itch gets so bad that people scratch it until it bleeds, which can make your eczema worse. This is called the itch-scratch cycle.

What to look for:

How Is Eczema Or Atopic Dermatitis Diagnosed

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A diagnosis of eczema is based on the characteristic rash as well as a history of symptoms and a family and personal medical history.

Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, paying close attention to the state of your skin, and may perform a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and also to rule out other skin conditions.

To better understand your symptoms and their potential causes, your doctor will also ask you a number of questions about your:

  • Family and personal history of allergic conditions, including hay fever and asthma
  • Exposure to irritants and allergens
  • Sleep habits
  • Use of medication
  • Previous treatments for skin-related issues

Your doctor may also give you a blood test to look for indications of a recent immune reaction, such as high levels ofeosinophils or antibodies calledimmunoglobulin E . Your physician will also perform allergy tests to determine possible allergic triggers for your skin flare-ups.

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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.

How Can Parents Help

Help prevent or treat eczema by keeping your childs skin from getting dry or itchy and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups. Try these suggestions:

  • Kids should take short baths or showers in warm water. Use mild unscented soaps or non-soap cleansers and pat the skin dry before putting on cream or ointment. Teens should use unscented makeup and oil-free facial moisturizers.
  • Ask your doctor if its OK to use oatmeal soaking products in the bath to help control itching.
  • Kids should wear soft clothes that breathe, such as those made from cotton. Wool or polyester may be too harsh or irritating.
  • Keep your childs fingernails short to prevent skin damage from scratching. Try having your child wear comfortable, light gloves to bed if scratching at night is a problem.
  • Kids should avoid becoming overheated, which can lead to flare-ups.
  • Kids should drink plenty of water, which adds moisture to the skin.
  • Get rid of known allergens in your household and help your child avoid others, like pollen, mold, and tobacco smoke.
  • Stress can make eczema worse. Help your child find ways to deal with stress .

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What Is It Like Living With Eczema

Many people live with eczema . As many as 15 million Americans may have this skin condition. Living with it can be challenging.

There may be times when your eczema disappears. This is known as a remission period. Other times you may have a flare-up, which is when it gets worse. The goal of treatment is to prevent such flare-ups, preventing your symptoms from getting worse. Be sure to avoid triggers, moisturize, take your medicine and do anything else your healthcare provider recommends.

Consider Alternative Options For Scent

Eczema

For many people with eczema or sensitive skin, scent can be an irritant. If you do want your laundry to have a scent when it comes out of the dryer, however, and opt not to use dryer sheets or fabric softener, try adding a few drops of essential oils to an old t-shirt cut up into squares and toss one into the dryer with the wet clothes. I sometimes use lemon or lavender essential oils, which can provide a very nice, light scent, and are gentle on my sons eczema.

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What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Eczema

The most commonly seen skin symptoms and signs of eczema as a general condition include:

  • Extremely itchy and dry skin
  • Dry, leathery areas that may appear lighter or darker than your normal skin tone, this is known as lichenification
  • Thickened or scaling skin
  • Blisters that may be crusty and ooze
  • Red skin forming around blisters
  • Raw areas of skin that develop from scratching, these can cause bleeding

Children who are younger than two years old5 will generally develop a rash on their elbows, cheeks or knees as the initial signs of eczema. Adults with eczema tend to experience it on the insides of the elbows and knees.

Living With Atopic Dermatitis

The following steps can help manage atopic dermatitis:

  • Avoid triggers
  • Take brief baths or showers using lukewarm water.
  • Practice good skin care.
  • Dont use harsh soaps. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a brand.
  • Dress in light clothes. Sweating can make atopic dermatitis worse.
  • Use a good moisturizer at least once a day. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a brand.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area.
  • Minimize stress.
  • Make lifestyle changes that prevent flare-ups.
  • Avoid skin products that have fragrances and dyes

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Ways To Prevent Infected Eczema

To prevent eczema from becoming infected, it is important to wash your affected skin areas regularly to help remove bacteria and viruses.

Harsh soaps and cleansers should be avoided to reduce skin irritation, and your skin should be patted dry with a towel. Rubbing your skin with a towel may be too abrasive and can increase skin irritation.

Regularly moisturizing your skin can help prevent it from drying out and cracking, which helps reduce the likelihood of bacteria and viruses entering through the skin. Avoid dipping your fingers into jars of creams or moisturizers since this can contaminate the jar.

Using a spoon or tongue depressor to remove a small amount of moisturizer can help prevent infection. Using a tube or pump applicator helps decrease the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria by avoiding contamination.

Always wash your hands before applying topical treatment to your skin, and avoid sharing clothing, bedding, and towels with other people.

Types Of Facial Eczema

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Eczema is actually a term for a group of conditions that cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin rashes. The types of eczema that are most likely to appear on the face are:

  • Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema overall. It is very common on the cheeks and chin, especially in infants. It can also appear around the eyes, on the eyelids, and around the lips. It can, however, occur anywhere on the face or the rest of the body.
  • Contact dermatitis: This is also a common type of eczema. It is a skin reaction to a specific irritant. On the face, it is usually found around the eyes, the hairline, and in areas that contact perfumes and jewelry, like the neck and earlobes. But, like atopic dermatitis, this type of eczema can occur anywhere.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This type most often occurs around the hairline, in the eyebrows, around the ears, and on the sides of the nose.
  • Small blisters that may weep or ooze
  • Cracked skin that may bleed

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The skin may also feel sore and raw during a flare-up. If eczema lasts long, the skin can eventually become thick, discolored, or scarred.

Nearly 30 million people live with eczema in the United States, and it impacts everyone differently. Some people may experience minor flare-ups, where their skin becomes mildly itchy. For others, flare-ups involve severe itching, dryness or oozing, and bleeding.

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What Is Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disorder. It causes dry, itchy, scaly patches on the skin, often on the face and scalp in babies. Its most common in infants or very young children. Most will show signs of the condition in the first year of life. Symptoms may last until the teens or adulthood. It rarely starts in adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is not contagious.

Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families. This suggests a genetic link. Its also associated with asthma and allergies. These are immune hypersensitivity disorders.

Treatment for this condition is aimed at calming the skin inflammation, decreasing the itching, and preventing infections. Good skin care and medicine to control itching and infection are used.

Atopic dermatitis is often called eczema.

What Is The Best Way To Treat Infected Eczema At Home

The best way to treat infected eczema at home is to use topical antibiotic or antiviral medication and practice good hygiene by regularly washing affected skin areas, moisturizing the skin, avoiding abrasive cleansers and fabrics, and not sharing towels, bedding, or clothing to minimize risk of infection.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Eczema In Older Children

In toddlers under age 5, eczema usually affects the face. It can look red and bumpy. It can look also scaly and dry, or you may notice deep lines on their skin.

Children over 5 years old may have eczema that is red and itchy or rash-looking. It may also look like permanent goosebumps and be thicker. On dark skin, the thickening may be hyperpigmented.

Skin concerns may be a symptom of a different condition, so seeing a dermatologist can help determine whether the cause is eczema or something else.

Certain areas of the body are more likely to be affected by eczema than others. This can change, depending on your age.

Q : What Triggers Should Be Avoided

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People with eczema should avoid known triggers and irritants, which may include:

  • Dry skin – this is one of the main triggers of eczema.
  • Scratching – keep fingernails clipped .
  • Viral or bacterial infections.
  • Playing in sand, such as sandpits.
  • Sitting directly on carpets or grass.
  • Inhaling pollen allergens from grasses, weeds or trees in spring and summer.
  • Irritants such as perfumes, soap and chemicals.
  • Contact with animals, house dust mite allergen, wool and synthetic fabrics.
  • Temperature changes, such as overly heated rooms.
  • Stress, which can make eczema worse, although eczema is not a psychological condition.
  • Constant exposure to water or chemicals, which can damage the protective barrier function of the skin.

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