Eczema is a term that covers several chronic skin conditions that are caused by inflammations. The most common is atopic dermatitis, which is an itchy, red rash. Atopic dermatitis is most commonly seen in people who have asthma and hay fever.
More than 30 million people in the United States have some form of eczema. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, but is commonly found on the elbows and behind the knees. It may be seen on the chin and cheeks of babies. Children may be diagnosed with eczema, and it frequently becomes less severe as they grow older. It rarely starts in adulthood.
The rash looks different on each individual and even on different parts of the body. It usually appears as crusted plaques of skin or small blisters that ooze. Eczema often has an intense itch that sufferers scratch until it bleeds. This may cause more inflammation and is called the itch-scratch cycle.
Eczema is produced by at least 11 different types of skin conditions. It is important for our specialist to distinguish the condition to develop a treatment plan.
• Atopic dermatitis is a genetic condition and shows up early in life
• Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when an area of skin is repeatedly exposed to a substance, such as poison ivy
• Irritant dermatitis occurs when the skin is repeatedly exposed to toxic chemicals
• Stasis dermatitis occurs in people who have poor circulation in the veins of their legs
• Scabies is caused by the human itch mite and may be transmitted to others
• Fungal infections often appear similar to eczema, but the fungus can be seen under a microscope or grown in a culture; this is the only other type that is transmitted to others
• Pompholyx is found on the hands and feet and consists of tiny blisters and a rash
• Nummular involves small, round plaques found on the lower legs of elderly people
• Seborrheic produces a rash on the scalp, face and ears and may be found in infants
• Xerotic is dry skin that cracks and oozes
The first sign that some type of eczema may be developing is itching. However, the place is also important because different types develop in different places on the body.
During an appointment at Doctor’s Approach, our health care specialist will examine the surface of your skin to determine if you have eczema. Once this is established, treatment options can be explored. We may be able to help you control the outbreaks and itching. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at one of our offices in Okemos, Carson City or St. Johns.