The first step to controlling eczema is being able to determine whether or not your skin condition is actually eczema.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition which is triggered when your immune system has an over reaction to something in your environment, or when there is emotional stress. The skin may become dry, inflamed, scaly and itchy. In some persons there is a wet form of eczema, where there are watery boils that may weep and leave the skin soggy.
There are several types of eczema. These are as follows:
• Atopic Eczema- Atopic eczema causes dry, itchy, irritated skin. Most people with atopic eczema develop it before age five. This skin condition tends to run in families. People who get atopic eczema usually have family members who have eczema, asthma, or hay fever. The skin can swell, crack, ooze, crust, and scale. The patches may be raised, scaly, dry and red. The skin may become thick with constant scratching.
• Contact Eczema -Contact with everyday objects causes this very common type of eczema. When the contact leads to irritated skin, the eczema is called irritant contact eczema. If an allergic reaction develops on the skin after exposure, it is called allergic contact eczema.
• Dyshidrotic Eczema-This occurs only on the palms of the hands, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet. There is burning, an itching sensation and a blistering rash.
• Seborrheic Eczema- Usually beginning on the scalp as oily, waxy patches, this common type of eczema sometimes spreads to the face and beyond. A severe case, while rare, produces widespread lesions. Like most types of eczema, seborrheic eczema tends to flare in cold, dry weather.
• Nummular Eczema- Often appearing after a skin injury, such as a burn, abrasion, or insect bite, the hallmark of this common eczema is unique, coin-shaped (nummular) or oval lesions. One or many patches can develop that may last for weeks or months.
• Neuroeczema- develops when nerve endings in the skin become irritated, triggering a severe itch-scratch-itch cycle. Common causes of nerve irritation include an insect bite and emotional stress. The itch is intense and is usually worse when the person is resting or relaxing.
Understanding what triggers Eczema flare ups
What are Eczema triggers- these are things that cause eczema to develop or get worse.
• The triggers can be internal or external. Internal triggers are usually associated with things we ingest such as foods or inhale.
• External triggers are things that come into contact with the skin, or environmental factors.
• These ranges from Physical and chemical irritants, extremes of temperature, humidity, perfumes, to different types of fabrics, and even detergents used to wash any clothing or linen that comes in contact with the skin.
• Stressful situations can also lead to flare ups of eczema in those so predisposed.
• Our genetic make up, may make us more prone to developing eczema.
• Specific types of exposures are related to the development of the different types of eczema.
• Atopic Eczema -A complex array of factors are thought to contribute to the development of atopic eczema. These include genetics, the home environment, breakdown of the outer skin layer and a malfunctioning immune system.
• Contact eczema-occurs after frequent exposure to a mild irritant, such as dish washing liquid, and after brief exposure to a strong irritant, such as a strong acid.