Eczema is a term for several different types of skin swelling. Eczema is also called dermatitis. Most types cause dry, itchy skin and rashes on the face, inside the elbows and behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. Scratching the skin can cause it to turn red, and to swell and itch even more.
Eczema is not contagious. The cause is not known. It is likely caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Eczema may get better or worse over time, but it is often a long-lasting disease. People who have it may also develop hay fever and asthma.
What's the best way to wash your skin?
If you have eczema, it's best that you take short baths or showers in warm water. Use gentle cleansers instead of soap, and pat, don't rub, your skin dry. Then apply any medicines to your skin and moisturize while skin is still damp. You can also soak in lukewarm water and baking soda or oatmeal for 10 minutes, which will help the skin absorb water. Ask your health care provider about other ways to help with itching.
What's probably the most important thing you can do for your eczema?
Moisturizing is important for eczema. Creams and ointments have less water than lotions, so they're usually more effective at sealing in moisture. Even petroleum jelly is good after a bath. Use unscented products so fragrances don't irritate skin. Moisturize at least twice a day, especially after bathing.
Eczema (also atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis) is a general medical term for many types of skin inflammation.
The word eczema comes from the Greek word for bubbling. It is a weeping, oozing itchy eruption that has many causes, the most common being atopic eczema. Other causes include allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema), and xerosis. In addition, there are a number of other diseases that can present with an eczematous appearance, including scabies and fungal infections.
Can stress and sunburn affect your eczema?
Many different things can cause eczema to get worse, even for children. Being stressed -- before a test or a big game, for example -- may trigger eczema. Being hot can make you sweat, which can irritate skin. Sunburn can make skin even itchier, so always use sunscreen.
What you wear can affect your eczema.
Try to avoid coarse or irritating fabrics like wool. They can make skin itchy and irritate eczema. Instead, choose loose, comfortable, breathable fabrics like cotton that are less likely to bother skin.
Allergies may affect your child's eczema.
Having allergies like milk protein allergy can make your child's eczema worse. Food allergies may be more common in infants and young children with eczema. Environmental allergies may be more common in older kids. Milk proteins are found in baby formula as well as breast milk -- if a nursing mother drinks milk products. Some children may outgrow eczema caused by allergies. If allergies are an issue, your pediatrician may refer you to an allergist.
Children can outgrow eczema.
The good news is that about half of all children with eczema will outgrow it by the time they're teenagers. They may continue to have dry, easily irritated skin, and a few will continue to have eczema when they are older.
Is atopic eczema contagious?
Although a predisposition to atopic eczema can be inherited, it is not transmissible from person to person.
Atopic eczema has no known cause.
Atopic eczema is now thought to be related to defective production of skin protein called filaggrin in many cases.
With atopic eczema, the first symptoms are usually _______________.
Swelling, oozing, and crusting are all signs of atopic eczema. In a practical sense, all four characteristics (swelling, oozing, crusting, and itching) probably all occur simultaneously.