Rather than a specific health condition, eczema is a reaction pattern that the skin produces in a number of diseases; making it very difficult to cure eczema. It begins as red, raised tiny blisters containing a clear fluid atop red, elevated plaques...
What is Eczema?
Rather than a specific health condition, eczema is a reaction pattern that the skin produces in a number of diseases; making it very difficult to cure eczema. It begins as red, raised tiny blisters containing a clear fluid atop red, elevated plaques. When the blisters break, the affected skin will weep and ooze. In older eczema, chronic eczema, the blisters are less prominent and the skin is thickened, elevated, and scaling. Eczema almost always is very itchy.
What causes Eczema?
There are at least 11 different types of skin conditions that produce eczema. In order to develop a efficient treatment plan and cure eczema, it is important to distinguish them. This is often not easy since many of these skin conditions are very similar in look but have alternate causes.
- Atopic dermatitis: This health condition has a genetic basis and produces a common type of eczema. Atopic dermatitis tends to begin early in life in those with a predisposition to inhalant allergies, but it probably does not have an allergic basis. Characteristically, rashes occur on the cheeks, neck, elbow and knee creases, and ankles.
- Irritant dermatitis: This occurs when the skin is repeatedly exposed to excessive washing or toxic substances.
- Allergic contact dermatitis: After repeated exposures to the same substance, an allergen, the body’s immune recognition system becomes activated at the site of the next exposure and produces a dermatitis. An example of this would be poison ivy allergy .
- Stasis dermatitis: It commonly occurs on the swollen lower legs of people who have poor circulation in the veins of the legs.
- Fungal infections: This can produce a pattern identical to many other types of eczema, but the fungus can be visualized with a scraping under the microscope or grown in culture.
- Scabies: It’s caused by an infestation by the human itch mite and may produce a rash very similar to other forms of eczema.
- Pompholyx (dyshidrotic eczema): This is a common but poorly understood health condition which classically affects the hands and occasionally the feet by producing an itchy rash composed of tiny blisters (vesicles) on the sides of the fingers or toes and palms or soles.
- Lichen simplex chronicus: It produces thickened plaques of skin commonly found on the shins and neck.
- Nummular eczema: This is a nonspecific term for coin-shaped plaques of scaling skin most often on the lower legs of older individuals.
- Xerotic (dry skin) eczema: The skin will crack and ooze if dryness becomes excessive.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: It produces a rash on the scalp, face, ears, and occasionally the mid-chest in adults. In infants, in can produce a weepy, oozy rash behind the ears and can be quite extensive, involving the entire body.
The key to staying healthy while living with eczema is to keep symptoms under control, this is the best way to cure eczema. For most types of eczema, managing the condition and its symptoms comes down to these basics:
- Know your triggers
- Implement a regular bathing and moisturizing routine
- Use OTC and/or prescription medication consistently and as prescribed
- Watch for signs of infection — pus-filled bumps, pain, redness, heat — on the skin
Here at the Orlando Dermatology Center we create a plan to prevent flares and future breakouts by utilizing the following preventative and medicinal treatments:
- Skin care (baths and moisturizer)
- Medicine (as needed)
- Coping strategies (manage itch, stress, and other issues)
- Trigger avoidance (to prevent flares)
Dermatologists spend a lot of time trying to cure eczema as it is a very common skin condition. The key is to calm down the skin, this makes it easier for a patient to keep from itching and causing further inflammation and infection. The goal is to keep the skin hydrated and finding out which specific triggers may cause the eczema to flare up. Removing the risk of these triggers will prevent outbreaks. In some cases, low-dose medication is applied to the skin a few times per week to reduce the symptoms of eczema, making it easier for the patient to keep from irritating the skin.
To start your’s or your child’s treatment plan for eczema please fill out the form below to request an appointment with Dr. Vitaly Blatnoy, MD at the Orlando Dermatology Center.