What is Eczema/Dermatitis?
Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. Symptoms often include dry, red, cracked, itchy skin. Eczema often presents itself on the face, neck, hands, feet, inner elbows, wrists, back of knees and ankles, but can affect any part of the body. People that suffer from eczema are often more at risk for developing asthma or other allergic conditions.
If you believe you may have eczema you should visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Causes of Eczema/Dermatitis
Eczema can be hereditary, and it is believed that certain genes may cause some individuals to have more sensitive skin than others. Some scientists also believe that an overactive immune system can play a factor. Defects in the skins outer layer, known as the epidermis causes moisture to escape from skin, which then leaves the skin at risk of having germs enter through these crevices.
There are factors that can cause flare-ups including:
- Heat and sweat
- Cold, dry weather
- Compromised skin (breaks in epidermis layer caused from dry skin)
- Conditions affecting the immune system
- Baths or showers where the water is too hot
- Skincare products containing alcohol or perfumes
- Soaps and cleansers containing stripping sulfates and irritating synthetic ingredients
Eczema is a chronic condition for many people, and is quite common in infants. A large number of infants that suffer from eczema will develop allergies or asthma later in life.
Tips for Keeping Eczema/Dermatitis Prone Skin Healthy:
Physicians sometimes prescribe ointments with steroid drugs. These often help temporarily, however, steroids can cause the skin to thin leaving your skin more compromised and at higher risk for flare-ups.
To keep flare-ups at bay a gentle cleansing regime and daily use of products that provide not just temporary moisture but barrier protection should be used. The following tips may help ensure healthy, happy, eczema-free skin:
- Avoid skincare products containing alcohol or perfumes
- Use mild sulfate-free cleansers and ensure all soap residue is rinsed away
- Use a rich emollient barrier cream that locks in moisture
- Re-apply a barrier cream after each cleansing
- Avoid hot baths or showers
- Avoid, or reduce consumption of hot spicy foods or alcohol