Dermatitis refers to a group of itchy inflammatory conditions characterised by epidermal changes. About one out of every five people get affected with eczema at some time in their lives.It can be acute, chronic, or both. Acute Eczema is a rapidly evolving red rash, which may be blistered or swollen. Chronic Eczema is a longstanding irritable area, often darker than the surrounding skin and thickened. Psychological stresses can aggravate dermatitis through the suppression of normal immune mechanisms.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ECZEMA:
1. Atopic Dermatitis
This is the most common inflammatory skin disease worldwide, presenting itself as generalized skin dryness, itchiness, and rashes. It typically affects people with an atopic tendency (allergies), such as hay fever, asthma, and other food allergies.
It usually starts in infancy and childhood, though it can still settle into adolescence to adulthood. There is no known cure for atopc dermatitis, however, management can control the inflammation and maintain skin health.
2. Irritant contact dermatitis
This type of dermatitis is provoked by body fluids, handling water, detergents, solvents or harsh chemicals, and by friction. Irritants cause more trouble in those who have a tendency to atopic dermatitis.
3. Allergic contact dermatitis
Is due to direct skin contact with substances that cause an allergic reaction, such as nickel, perfume, rubber, hair dye or preservatives. A dermatologist may identify the responsible agent by patch testing.
4. Asteatotic Dermatitis
Is characterized by pruritic, dry, cracked, and polygonally fissured skin with irregular scaling. It most commonly occurs on the shins of elderly patients, but it may occur on the hands and the trunk.
5. Nummular dermatitis (also called 'discoid eczema')
Characterized by scattered coin-shaped irritable patches that persist for a few months.
6. Seborrhoeic dermatitis and dandruff
Caused by irritation from toxic substances produced by Malassezia yeasts that live on the scalp.
MANAGING YOUR ECZEMA:
In order to properly manage eczema, you must first identify and tackle any contributing factors that aggravate it.
Bathing: Irritation aggravated by bathing can be reduced by replacing your standard soap with a milder one. We recommend soaps with milder detergents, moisturizing, and have no fragrances. In this case, fragrance free body bars can help. Also reducing the length of time you take your shower or bath can help, since this can dry out skin excessively.
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Clothing: Fabric with coarse fibers are best avoided in order to prevent friction and irritation. Wear soft, smooth, and lighter fabric.
Irritants: Protect your skin from irritants such as dust, water, solvents, detergents, etc.
Emollients: Apply an emollient liberally and often, particularly after bathing, and when itchy. Ask your doctor or dermatologist to recommend some to try; avoid products with fragrance when possible.
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Topical steroids: Apply a topical steroid cream or ointment to the itchy patches for a 5 to 15-day course. A suitable one will be prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist.
Last but not least, remember to manage other aggravating factors such as diet and stress.