What is Eczema?
The term “eczema” is often used interchangeably with “dermatitis.” These terms refer to a group of disorders characterized by redness, scaling, swelling and sometimes blisters. Dermatitis literally means “inflammation of the skin” thus it is a relatively nonspecific term. When dermatologists or other physicians use the term “eczema” however, they are often referring to a specific type of dermatitis called atopic dermatitis. This is the most common cause of dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis tends to run in families, is often associated with seasonal allergies and/or asthma, and generally begins in childhood and improves with age. It can persist into adulthood however.
What are the other causes of dermatitis?
Other causes of dermatitis include coming into contact with something you are allergic to such as poison oak or nickel (allergic contact dermatitis), coming into contact with something irritating such as a chemical (irritant contact dermatitis) or simply having dry skin (xerotic dermatitis). There is also a variant called nummular dermatitis, which causes round, coin-shaped areas of rash. This variant may also be related to dry skin. There is another variant termed dyshidrotic dermatitis which predominately affects the hands and feet causing small blisters.
How is eczema treated?
Most forms of dermatitis can be treated with a combination of good skin care, especially moisturizers, and topical steroids (cortisone creams). Rarely in severe cases, it requires a short course of prednisone pills, light therapy or other systemic medications.
For more information on the different types of dermatitis, click here…
For more information on atopic dermatitis, click here…