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What is Eczema?

This inflammatory skin condition affects about 10% of people worldwide. Eczema develops as a result of an immune system reaction to a variety of substances, ranging from chemicals to allergens (ingredients that cause an allergic reaction). In some cases, it is considered a lifelong (chronic) condition. It can take up to a few weeks to manage symptoms with treatment. Your rashes may not be persistent; however, flare-ups can occur due to triggers (substances that cause flare-ups). This condition can appear on areas of the body such as:

  • Hands
  • Elbows
  • In the “bending” areas of the body (back of the knees, inside of the elbow)
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Eyelids
  • Face
Symptoms

Many people have only small patches of dry skin, though others may experience extensive inflamed skin all over the body. Commonly, people experience periods where symptoms are less noticeable, and times where symptoms become severe (flare-ups). Symptoms can range from mild to moderate and in some cases, they can cause extremely inflamed skin. In some cases, the itch can become unbearable, causing you to itch uncontrollably, resulting in bleeding of the skin. Common symptoms eczema causes include:

  • Itching
  • Discolored skin (red, brown, and gray patches)
  • Dry skin
  • Rough or scaly patches of the skin
  • Crusting or oozing
  • Swollen and inflamed skin
  • Cracked, thickened, and scaly skin

 

You may have all of the eczema symptoms or just a few. The best way to find out if you have this condition is to consult with a medical professional who can examine your skin to provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Condition Types

Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause irritated, dry, and itchy skin. This condition is classified into types such as:

  • Atopic (dermatitis) eczema – Atopic means sensitive to allergies. This is the most common form of this skin condition. It causes the skin to become dry, cracked, inflamed, and itchy.
  • Discoid eczema – Occurs in oval and circular patches on the skin.
  • Contact dermatitis – Happens when the body comes into contact with specific ingredients and substances.
  • Varicose eczema – Is caused by blood flow problems through the leg veins (varicose veins) and is most often affecting the lower legs.
  • Seborrhoeic eczema – Scaly, red patches develop on the eyebrows, ears, scalp, and sides of the nose.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx) – Causes tiny blisters to erupt across the palms of the hand.
Causes

There is no exact cause that leads to this condition, but it is obvious that there are multiple factors that can trigger and cause this skin condition to appear and persist. Food allergies, stress, weather, detergents, and soaps can play a part in triggering symptoms. It can be genetic and can develop alongside other conditions such as hay fever and asthma. Undergoing a food allergy test can sometimes help identify triggering symptoms.

Does the process involve any risks?

The screening itself does not pose any direct risks. But, according to the National Cancer Institute, there is an indication that visual exams that are carried out on asymptomatic people can lead to adverse consequences. Such as – Overdiagnosis, misdiagnosis of a benign lesion, or the psychological impact of being informed about potentially having cancer.

This is why we advise people to book their screening with a highly experienced and skilled dermatologist that has the capabilities to provide you with the most accurate information possible.

When to See a Doctor

See a doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. Novomed has a team of western trained specialist doctors that are experienced in diagnosing and creating the right eczema treatment plan to manage your symptoms. Children also commonly suffer from this skin condition. Visit a doctor if you or your child have:

  • Disrupted sleep due to itching or other uncomfortable skin symptoms
  • A skin infection (redness, pus, inflammation, red streaks, yellow scabs)
  • Prolonged symptoms even after trying home remedies

Call a doctor and receive immediate medical attention for your child if their rash appears infected and he or she has a fever.

 

Other reasons to visit a doctor are:

  • If your symptoms come and go over time
  • If there is a history of eczema in your family
  • If you have other conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies
  • If you have an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months
  • Visibly irritated skin or history of occurring skin irritation
  • Noticeably dry skin in the last 12 months
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