Skin diseases and disorders are affecting several individuals worldwide. There is an increase in the incidence of Eczema and other skin diseases observed. So, it becomes important to know what eczema is, what its symptoms are, and what increases your risk of being affected by the condition. So, let’s have a look at it so that it can help you minimize your risk of being vulnerable to the skin condition.

What is Eczema?

When your skin features an inflammatory reaction with erythema (reddening of the skin), edema (swelling of the skin, papules (bumps on your skin), then the occurrence of crusting of the skin, and, finally, the skin thickens and turns scaly, it is eczema. It causes itching and the burning sensation affecting your skin characteristically.

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Types of Eczema:

Here are some types of eczema that you should be aware of.

  1. Atopic dermatitis: It is known to be a chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin.
  2. Irritant contact eczema: This is a localized skin reaction that causes symptoms, such as redness, itching, and burning, at the spot where the skin has come into contact with an irritant, such as a cleaning agent, acid, or any other chemical.
  3. Allergic contact eczema: The development of a red, itchy, weepy skin reaction when your skin happens to get in contact with a substance, which your immune system recognizes as a foreign body, such as poison ivy or certain preservatives in the lotions and creams, result in allergic contact eczema.
  4. Seborrheic eczemaSeborrheic eczema is a type of skin inflammation whose cause is yet not known. It causes symptoms, such as yellowish, oily, and scaly skin areas on the face, scalp, and occasionally, on the other body parts.
  5. Nummular eczema: This type of eczema presents as coin-shaped areas of irritated skin that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy. These skin complaints develop most commonly on the arms, back, buttocks, and the lower legs.
  6. NeurodermatitisNeurodermatitis presents as scaly skin patches of on the head, forearms, lower legs, or wrists resulting due to a localized itch (such as due to an insect bite) that turns intensely irritated when it is scratched.
  7. Stasis dermatitis: It is a skin irritation occurring on the lower legs, and, generally, it is related to circulatory problems.
  8. Dyshidrotic eczemaIt causes skin irritation on the soles of the feet and the palms of hands. Dyshidrotic eczema is characterized by clear, deep blisters that make you experience itching and burning sensation.


Risk Factors of Eczema:

Here are some risk factors for eczema.

  1. Genetics: The people who are having a family history of Eczema or allergic skin diseases are more likely to develop Eczema as compared to the people who don’t have any family history related to it.
  2. Abnormal Function of the Immune System: In the patients of eczema, where the actual cause is unknown and the internal immunity produces few antibodies against its very own cells, the condition occurs due to abnormal function of the immune system.
  3. Living in a Developed Country: Certain studies have proven that people living in a developed country are more likely to suffer from eczema.
  4. Environmental Factors: A few environmental allergens can increase the risk of developing eczema. Atopic dermatitis may be triggered or worsened by environmental factors such as:
  • Skin irritants include cosmetics or perfumes, soaps or detergents, wool or synthetic clothing, dust/sand, chlorine, and chemical solvents.
  • Extremes of the temperatures or climate (cold or hot temperatures or dry air or extremely humid air)
  • A lack of moisturizing after bathing
  • Plant pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Household dust mites
  • Molds
  • Cold climates
  1. Being exposed to passive smoke
  2. Being born to an older mother.
  3. Age: Babies and toddlers are more at the risk of developing eczema than adults.
  4. Being overweight: Obese people are more likely to develop eczema as compare to those who are underweight.
  5. Having a high birth weight
  6. Being treated with antibiotics in infancy
  7. Being exposed to hard water in infancy

Now that you know various risk factors that can increase your risk of developing eczema, you can take better care of yourself and your loved ones and try to prevent the skin condition.

  • Written by Dr. Akanksha K., Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah

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