Eczema, aka Dermatitis. Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and CureThe most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. - Carl Jung
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Information on Eczema (Dermatitis). Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Cure.

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What Is Eczema?

Eczema Treatment

Eczema (dermatitis) is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated, red, itchy, and dry and occasionally results in small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis and is most often seen in infants and teens. The word “atopic” describes conditions that occur when someone is overly sensitive to allergens in their environments. These may include pollens, molds, dust, deodorants, animal danger and certain foods. “Dermatitis” means that the skin is inflamed, red or sore.

Causes of Eczema

There are many forms of eczema. Doctors don’t know what exactly causes it, but they believe it is caused by a difference in the way a person’s immune system reacts to things. It is also thought to be a hereditary condition, being genetically linked. Patients with atopic eczema are sensitive to allergens in the environments which are harmless to others. They experience excessive reactions by the immune system producing inflamed, irritated and sore skin.

Eczema Symptoms

Symptoms may vary from person to person, but you might notice you are prone to getting itchy rashes in places like where your elbow bends; on the back of the knees, ankles, and wrists; and on the face, neck, and upper chest. Eczema may appear on any part of the body.

Although eczema may look different from person to person, it is most often characterized by red, dry, itchy patches on the skin. Eczema is sometimes referred to as “the itch that rashes” in that the itch, when scratched, results in the appearance of the rash. What causes the itch? Irritants or triggers can cause the skin to become inflamed and itch.

Common triggers include:

  • Harsh detergents or disinfectants
  • Deodorant soaps
  • Fragranced lotions
  • Weather (hot, cold, humid, or dry)
  • Jewelry
  • Environmental allergens
  • Food allergens
  • Clothing (especially wool)
  • Sweating
  • Gloves
  • Dust mites
  • Animal saliva
  • Stress (emotional or mental)
  • Smoke


There is no cure for eczema, but outbreaks can usually be avoided with some simple precautions. Avoid the specific triggers listed above and follow these tips:

  • Stay away from harsh detergents, deodorant soaps, or fragranced lotions.

  • Take a short, warm (not hot) bath or shower to prevent your skin drying out.

  • Apply an unfragranced moisturizer such as petroleum jelly to prevent itching and dryness.

  • Be aware of the fabrics your wear. Dress in cotton because it’s breathable and soft. Stay away from materials like wool or spandex that may cause a reaction.

  • Avoid stress, which can aggravate eczema and cause it to flare.

  • Don’t scratch! Scratching your itch can worsen eczema and make it difficult for the skin to heal. Scratching can break the skin and allow bacteria to enter, causing an infection. To help minimize skin damage, wear gloves at night or cover the area with a dressing.

  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity. Sweating and becoming overheated may cause eczema to flare.

  • Be aware of any food allergen. Talk with your doctor about getting an allergy test done. Simple foods like nuts, eggs, milk, or soy may cause reactions.

  • Avoid environmental factors like pollen, molds, dust mites, and animal danger.

Eczema Treatment

The easiest and most effective eczema remedy is simply removing whatever is causing the reaction. It might be as simple as changing your laundry detergent, staying away from certain foods, or wearing looser clothes. More difficult strategies might include moving to a new climate, changing jobs, or getting rid of the family pet.

Visit your doctor or a dermatologist. They will do a physical examination and ask about any concerns or symptoms you might have. They will take a medical history of you and your family’s health and ask what current medications you are on, or what allergies you might have. Once your doctor has diagnosed the condition, they will recommend what kind of treatment should follow. Dermatitis (eczema) treatment may vary depending on the appearance or stage of the lesions. Your doctor might recommend an external eczema cream or ointment that contains corticosteroids to help control the itching, internal eczema medications such as antihistamines, or in severe cases, ultraviolet light therapy, coal tar, and chemotherapy agents.

There is no cure for atomic eczema dermatitis, but there are many ways to minimize the discomfort and distress it can bring. And the good news is if you have eczema, it will usually go away before the age of 25.

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