Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes – Atopic eczema is the most common type of eczema. It is also the most common inflammatory skin disease of childhood, although many will outgrow it by early adulthood.
Atopic eczema is due to a hypersensitive reaction in the skin (similar to an allergy), which leads to long-term inflammation of the skin. People with eczema often have asthma or hay fever and there is often a family history of similar allergic conditions.
The following can make Atopic eczema symptoms worse:
- Allergies to pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals
- Colds or the flu
- Contact with rough materials
- Dry skin
- Exposure to environmental irritants
- Exposure to water
- Feeling too hot or too cold
- Fragrances or dyes added to skin lotions or soaps
Typical skin changes may include:
- Blisters with oozing and crusting
- Raw areas of the skin from scratching
- Skin coloring changes – when the skin becomes lighter or darker than normal
- Redness and inflammation around the blisters
- Thickened skin or leather-like areas – this can occur after long-term irritation and scratching
Both the type of rash and where the rash appears can depend on the age of the person:
- In children younger than age 2, skin irritation and blisters begin on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. It is often a crusting, bubbling, or oozing rash.
- In older children and adults, the rash is more commonly seen on the inside of the knees and elbows, as well as the neck, hands, and feet.
- During a severe outbreak, rashes may occur anywhere on the body.
Itching, which is sometimes intense, almost always occurs. Itching may start even before the rash appears.
Testing for and Treating Atopic Eczema
Diagnosis is primarily based on the appearance of the skin and an assessment of the personal and family history to determine if genetics plays a role. Often the skin lesions will be tested to rule out other causes and a skin allergy test may be done.
Treating Atopic eczema requires a disciplined approach to caring for, and treating, the skin. The main goal is to keep the itching and inflammation under control.
In severe cases a medical doctor will devise a treatment plan for treating the condition. There are, however, many over the counter and home remedies that are effective at controlling the condition and maintaining healthy skin.
Learn more about eczema and treatment options in our related articles below.
- Skin Eczema (healthyskinsolutions.com)
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- Eczema Photos (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Eczema Cream – Four Top Rated Eczema Creams That Work (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Eczema on the Face (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Treating Eczema (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Skin Rash – Common condition or something more serious? (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Bleach Bath Treatment for Eczema (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Baby Eczema (healthyskinsolutions.com)
National Institutes of Health: PubMedHealth.com; ADAM Medical Encyclopedia; Atopic Eczema