Eczema is a chronic skin condition 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 prolonged inflammation of the skin. People with eczema often have hay fever or asthma and there is often a family history of similar allergic conditions.
The following can make Atopic eczema symptoms worse:
- Allergies to mold, pollen, dust mites
- Allergies to animals
- Colds and flu
- Dry skin
- Feeling too hot or too cold
- Contact with rough materials
- Perfumes, fragrances, or dyes found in skin lotions or soaps
- Exposure to environmental irritants
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 prolonged scratching and irritation.
The type and location of the rash can vary, depending on the age of the person:
- In children younger than age 2, skin irritation and blisters usually appear on the face, scalp, hands, and feet. The rash is often crusting, bubbling, or oozing.
- In older children and adults, the rash is typically found on the inside of the knees and elbows, 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 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 home remedies and over the counter products 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 Cream – Four Top Rated Eczema Creams That Work (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Eczema on the Face (healthyskinsolutions.com)
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- 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