About Eczema

What is Eczema or Dermatitis?

Eczema or dermatitis are both generic terms for inflamed skin. Generally, these terms are used interchangeably.

Dry, sensitive skin is usually associated with eczema. Eczema and dermatitis typically cause redness and itching, some types also cause blistering and peeling. In the acute stage, skin may look red and swollen. On the other end, thickened, dry and cracked skin are observed in the chronic stage.

Eczema affects 1 in 10 persons at some point of their lives; it can affect anyone, at any age.

What is Atopic Eczema?

There are various types of eczema, most common being atopic eczema. The commonest of them is atopic eczema. There is a typical pattern of skin inflammation which causes the symptoms in this type of eczema.

“Atopic” denotes a form of allergy in which a hypersensitivity reaction such as eczema or asthma may occur in a part of the body not in contact with the allergen. Atopic dermatitis exists with two other allergic conditions: asthma and hay fever.

What are the symptoms of Atopic Eczema?

  1. Dry skin
  2. Red & inflamed areas around the skin. Common affected areas are near skin creases such as front of elbows and writs, backs of knees and around the neck. However, any part of the skin may be affected as well. Atopic eczema is more common on face of babies.
  3. Itchy inflamed skin. Scratching the affected area often leads to thickened skin patches.
  4. Areas of the inflamed skin may become blistered and weepy.
  5. Infection may occur on inflamed areas of skin.

Generally, a flare-up may come and go away for a while, or it might just flare up after you touch something or in certain settings. The duration and severity vary from person to person and from time to time.

  • Mild/Moderate: Flare-up may cause just one or two small, mild patches of inflammation. Often these are behind the knees, or in front of elbows or wrists. Flare-ups may occur only now and then.
  • Severe cases: the flare-ups can last several weeks or more and cover many areas of skin. This can cause great distress.
  • Many people with atopic eczema are somewhere in between these extremes.