Eczema, dermatitis, atopic dermatitis: all names for the same disease of the skin. Although common in children during the first year of life, the condition can also occur in adults. When eczema does occur, it causes dry, scaly patches on the skin. These patches may appear on the face or scalp and are especially common on the cheeks.
No matter where on the body eczema appears, the condition is very itchy. Infants often attempt to relieve such itching by rubbing against bedding or carpets. In some cases, itching can be so severe that it interferes with a child's sleep. Young children with eczema should be monitored carefully as scratching these patches can result in infection.
Because eczema is a long-lasting condition, it is essential for suffer's to educate themselves on proper skincare. Good skincare and eczema treatment can help to alleviate the associated discomfort.
When the rash first appears in children, it typically appears suddenly, making the skin dry, scaly, and itchy. In some cases, it may bubble up and weep fluid.
Eczema is rare in adults, with 90% of suffers being five or younger. Adults who have the condition sometimes have darkened patches of skin. They may also have thickened skin patches that itch at all times. Eczema in adults often appears in the creases of the elbows or knees and might be especially noticeable on the face.
Researchers are still not sure what causes eczema. Interestingly, the condition is becoming more common, and dermatologists are unsure why. People of all races are affected by eczema. Some factors that seem to increase a person's risk include family history, living in a developed country, living in a city, living in a cold climate, gender, and social class.
People sometimes believe that food can cause eczema, and while some foods may make symptoms flare, they do not cause the condition.
Diagnosing eczema involves first looking at a person's skin. Dermatologists will look for a rash and ask questions about how the rash developed and whether or not it is itchy.
Sometimes a patch test is done. This type of test is used to determine if a person has any allergies. A patch test is done by applying a few common allergens to the skin. The doctor will then check the area after a day or so for any reactions. This test can help to determine if the rash is from eczema or another cause.
Although treatment cannot cure eczema, it is crucial. Proper treatment can help to control the symptoms, prevent infections, and keep the condition from worsening. Treatment plans typically include medications, a skincare regimen, and lifestyle changes. These can help to reduce skin inflammation, clear any infection, remove scaly lesions, and alleviate itching.