What is Eczema: Full list of Symptoms, Causes, Signs and Definition info.

Do you suffer from a red, itchy, scaly rash? You probably thought you were suffering an allergy but you could have eczema. You are probably wondering what is eczema? The term refers to a group of conditions and the definition of the word means ‘irritated’.

Understanding What is Eczema?

If you are wondering what causes eczema, well there are several conditions for which they frequently use the term. Typically eczema refers to atopic dermatitis. Whenever a disorder contains the term ‘atopic’ it means that the disease is inherited and it might be accompanied by hayfever or asthma. In babies, up to 20 percent will develop the rashlike problem. In children and in adults the percentage drops to only about 3 percent of the population.

Common Types of Eczema

  • Atopic: Hereditary form
  • Contact: Occurs from coming into contact with a trigger like a dog or a cat’s saliva, certain plants, or allergins. The most common irritants include soaps, solvents, diluted acids, cement, diluted alkalis, cutting fluid, detergents, metallic salts, and resins. Unlike other forms of eczema, contact is usually painful.
  • Adult seborrhoeic: Adult seborrhoeic usually mimics dandruff at first with white scales, but it can quickly become inflamed. You might also have a flare-up in the eyelashes, along the scalp line, and on the neck. It could also spread onto the face, cheeks, and forehead.
  • Discoid: Also called nummular dermatitis occurs mostly in adults. The lesions measure the size of a silver dollar on the legs and trunk. They are usually bumpy and may ooze fluid. Using soaps and detergents often cause this form.
  • Pompholyx: Blistering of the hands and feet. The skin becomes excessively itchy and then water blisters develop. Over half the people also develop atopic at the same time. This form is believed to occur if you come into direct physical contact with an irritant.
  • Asteatotic eczema: they often call his form ‘eczema cracquelée’. It only occurs in seniors over 60. Aging skin, decreased oil, and low humidity causes the roughness. The skin looks like cracked pavement. It often affects the lower back, thighs, legs, and arms. The area feels sore and can become intensely painful with excessive itching.
  • Varicose: Also called ravitaional or stasis eczema occurs in areas of poor circulation. It is common in women. Thrombosis and phlebitis are also underlying causes.

The Most Common Eczema Symptoms

When you visit your physician with a skin disorder, they will carefully evaluate the afflicted area and take your family history. The region might appear red, scaly, dry and with thickened patches. There may also be small pimple-like lesions. If you are fair-skinned or blonde, then the patches might take on a brownish hue. If you are naturally dark-skinned, then the lesions can change the pigment dark or light. Infant lesions occur mostly on the face and head. They ooze and develop a crusty shell-like coating.

Here are the most common eczema symptoms:

  • Level of overall itchiness
  • Age-related skin changes
  • Any chronic or relapsing changes that you might have noticed
  • Your immunoglobulin E activity which may be elevated
  • Family history
  • Xerosis (dryness of your skin)
  • Hayfever or asthma history
  • Symptom timeframe

What Causes Eczema?

Most researchers believe that eczema occurs because of your immune system becoming stimulated and responding with excessive force. If you have eczema then the rash will normally occur on the wrists, face, hands, and the back of your knees. The many causes of eczema remain a mystery but there are certain triggers that have been associated with an uptick in the skin reaction.

Here a few clues to what causes eczema:

Where you live: If you live in an urban city that suffers overpopulation, smog, and air pollution.

  • Animal dander and saliva
  • Perspiration (sweating)
  • Household cleaners
  • Dust
  • Fruit juices
  • Dander
  • Soaps
  • Sickness like flu (influenza) common cold (rhinovirus), or cough (bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • Exposure to excessive heat or cold weather
  • Stressful events

Eczema Definition: What is It?

As mentioned earlier, the word ‘eczema’ means irritated. Eczema definition is simply irritated skin with a variety of unique causes.

What are the Signs of Eczema

As a new parent, any changes on the baby’s skin is a cause for alarm. During the teen years and adulthood, they often overlook changes until they progress and become bad. The signs of eczema share many similarities but also depend on the type and cause.

Is Eczema Contagious?

Eczema itself is non-infectious but as you itch the inflamed area you introduce microbes into the wound which can fester. The open sore can cause contagion.

Medication for Eczema

Most doctors prescribe creams to control the itching and give the skin time to repair itself. Corticosteroids are popular. In addition, calcineurin inhibitors are known as pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic) target the immune response in the area. The creams should be used in moderation because they have been linked to cancer. Using topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus must be done with caution. Injectable dupliumab (Duplixent) is a biologic (monoclonal antibody) which does show promise as a treatment. Overall, the exact protocol usually targets the exact type.



Article References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/atopic-dermatitis-eczema#1
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/eczema.html
  4. https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/eczema/what-is-eczema
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279399/