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What's eczema?

Eczema, known also as dermatitis is an itchy case which can bee seen with itches, redness, dryness and even small pocks on the skin. The itch caused by dermatitis may be quite irritating for us, interrupt our normal daily life and withhold us from a good night sleep.

What causes eczema?

Eczema tend to be genetic- it’s thought that some specific genes may make our skin more susceptible to external precipitators. It’s seen that people with eczema have a skin with poor barriering functions which in return allow for more exposure to external factors that irritate the skin.

Some of these Precipitators Are:

  • Stress
  • Cold, dry air at winter
  • Heat, sweat
  • A specific product or chemical touching the skin
  • Clothes like wool

Kinds of Eczema

Most common eczema kind is called the atopic dermatitis and affects 10-20% of kids and 1-3% of adults. Generally identified as blushing itch”, this begins with extremely itchy skin blemishes and as it itches, blushes, swells, dries and sometimes whitens with a clear liquid. While it can be found on face and scalp in babies, it’s most often seen at the back of knee and at the inner side of elbow in kids. Some kids if not all, grow up with their infections (and severity) diminishing in time. In adults with atopic dermatitis, these kind of areas may emerge in nearly all regions of the body including eyelids, neck, hands and feet.

Another common kind of eczema is the hand eczema. In such a period which encourages frequent hand washing and disinfection to reduce the infection of microbes and viruses, all these washings are doing harm to our hands. And some of us sometimes have problems with a pair of dry, itchy hands with painful cracks. This situation goes up mainly in winter and may be a problem in cases where frequent hand cleaning is required, throughout whole year so to say.

Eczema Treatment

Moisturizing The Skin: This is one of the keystones of the treatment. When the skin is dry and itchy, there are essential steps to add moist and regain the normal barriering function of the skin. A moisturizer in cream or ointment form must be applied frequently, particularly after everytime the hands are washed.

Reducing inflammation: It’s important to ensure both for the treatment of the skin and stopping the itch. Topical medicines like steroidal creams help to quickly get rid of the itch, relieve the inflammation and turn the skin back to normal. Topical steroids that are used for many years in dermatology, are safe (even for babies) when used as recommended and for a limited time on skin. If the case is severe, oral medicines like prednisone and antihistamines may also be necessary sometimes.

Prevention: There are also some steps to prevent or minimize an inflammation. When precipitators and guilty allergens are known, it’s definitely important to avoid these if possible. Routine moisturizing is especially recommended after bath for kids with atopic dermatitis. In case of a hand dermatitis, limiting hand washing or at least using milder cleaners and applying moisturizer afterwards, helps to prevent inflammation. It’s also helpful to wear gloves when hands are dipped into water (while washing the dishes for instance). As our skin tends to be dryer at winter, most of us need to begin applying moisturizers by the end of fall to prevent this dry winter itch develop.

Eczema is a common case we see regularly in our clinic. While it has no known treatment, patient’s life quality is enhanced with tedious skin care and effective therapies tailored for the needs of each individual.