Eczema – The Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Eczema is a very common skin condition which affects as many as one in five children and around 10% of the adult population. In terms of children, thankfully one third of them will grow out of the condition by the time they reach puberty. Eczema will manifest itself in a dryness and inflammation resulting in red and very itchy skin. There are four main forms of eczema the first of which is called atopic eczema being the most common which frequently is a family condition closely connected to asthma and hay fever.

Allergic contact dermatitis, is an eczema condition instigated through an allergic reaction to a substance coming in contact with the skin. Commonly this manifests itself through wearing metal rings, belt buckle’s earrings etc. A further condition called irritant contact dermatitis is an irritation as a result of frequent contact with chemicals aggravating the skin. Finally, infantile eczema also known as cradle cap, is a condition which predominantly affects babies. Although it looks worse to adults it rarely bothers the baby and is easily treated with cradle cap shampoos.

Current medicines do not currently offer us an outright cure for eczema however, research is undergoing which aims to identify the causes. Early indications have shown that a specific gene has been identified within eczema sufferers which may be causing the condition. Although in the early stages, this new discovery may well lead itself to a whole new way of treating eczema. However, whilst we await further progress in this area here are a few tips to help alleviate the effects of eczema.

Use emollients and creams to help prevent the drying out of the skin. Creams can be used directly on the skin up to 2 times a day. If your doctor or medical practitioner has prescribed the use of steroid creams ensure you use them. Avoid extreme temperatures given both hot and cold temperatures are known to aggravate the skin. Ensure you keep your nails short given scratching is frequently more prominent at night time when you are asleep. If you suffer from this you may be well advised to purchase some scratch mittens to stop yourself from causing further damage to your skin whilst asleep.

The constituents of your diet is often a cause for eczema and therefore it is good idea to keep a food diary. Start to identify foods which cause more symptoms than others and slowly exclude these foods from your diet. The use of a food diary is best utilised in conjunction with a dietician, your doctor or medical practitioner will be able to refer you.