Eczema is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the upper layers of skin. Eczema usually refers to a range of persistent or recurring skin rashes, itching and dryness. Although Eczema affects all people of all ages, it usually first becomes apparent in infants and small children. While many infants will grow out of the condition, some will continue to suffer from flare-ups throughout their life. There is currently no cure for Eczema but treatments can help to prevent flare-ups from occurring.
Types of Eczema: Atopic, Contact, Seborrheic, Asteatotic, Varicose, and Discoid
Atopic Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common and usually occurs in people who have a genetic tendency toward allergies. Babies between 2-18 months are at highest risk for this type of Eczema. It will primarily appear on their face, neck, ears, hands, ankles, feet and torso. In older children, teenagers, and adults, Atopic Eczema will usually occur inside the crease of the inward bend of the elbow, knee, ankle or wrist joints.
Contact Dermatitis occurs after the skin comes into contact with some form of irritant. Two types of Contact Dermatitis: Irritant Contact Dermatitis is a direct irritation of the skin. It can be caused by prolonged contact with mild irritants, such as bubble bath, soap, sweat, saliva, urine and even water. Allergic Contact Dermatitis is an allergic reaction in the skin. Common substances that trigger skin allergies include cleaning products, deodorants, cosmetics and medications.
Seborrheic Dermatitis (Seborrhea), also known as “cradle cap”, is a condition that causes dry or greasy scaling of the scalp and eyebrows. It commonly affects infants on their face or neck at the scalp line.
Asteatotic (Xerotic) Eczema is a dry skin condition that becomes so serious that it becomes eczema. Often occuring in the elderly, this condition worsens during dry winter weather.
Varicose Eczema (stasis dermatitis) often affects the lower legs of middle-aged or elderly individuals with poor circulation. It usually affects the skin around the ankles causing speckles, itching and inflammation to occur. If left untreated, ulcers may develop.
Discoid (Nummular) Eczema usually affects the arms and legs, in middle-aged men. This recurring condition occurs in numerous round rashes. The rashes can be pink, red or brown and are usually dry, cracked or bumpy. They can become crusty, itchy and blister and can weep fluid.