When there are red, dry patches on the skin that may lead to blistering and itchiness, it is called eczema. Also known as dermatitis, the main feature of this disease is fluid filled blisters, which may be highly scratchy or itchy; as a result, the skin may become thick. A peculiar characteristic of the disease is that it tends to recur intermittently throughout life.
There are several types. Some are triggered by a particular factor, while others occur for no known reason.
Atopic eczema: First diagnosed during infancy, it is the most common form.
Contact dermatitis: It is a type caused by direct contact with an irritant substance or an allergic reaction.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis: It is a type that commonly affects infants as well as adults, and the condition is often associated with a yeast-like organism on the skin.
Nummular eczema: It is also known as discoid eczema, and the condition is more common in men than in women.
Asteatotic eczema: If you suffer from this form, blame it on the winters. Common in elderly people, it is usually caused due to drying of skin, mostly due to ageing.
Pompholyx eczema: It is also known as dyshidrotic eczema. It is commonly seen in places on the body where the skin is the thickest, for instance fingers, palms, soles.
The most common treatment for all those who frequently suffer from the disease is to keep the skin moist with emollients. Taking frequent showers with lukewarm water would help to a great extent. Avoid using soaps. But, in case you want to use a soap, choose a mild soap that does not leave your skin dry. Use of essential oils in bath will keep your skin moisturised, reducing dryness. If you are allergic to any substance that may irritate your skin, avoid any contact with that substance. In case you are unaware about the substance, go for a patch test to find out what triggers irritation, inflammation and itching. Topical corticosteroids can be given. Although suffering from eczema is a matter of concern, there’s no reason to be worried, as most forms can be controlled successfully.