Eczema is often used as a general term for a group of chronic, itchy skin rashes, so it is difficult to make a simple description of this skin problem. Many people with eczema develop dry, itchy, and red spots on their skin. In some forms of eczema, blisters occur. Any scratches on the skin can exacerbate skin rashes and cause clear liquid to flow. Damaged skin spots may thicken with the passing of time. Eczema may look different depending on the type of rash and where it appears in the body. Although the exact cause of the disease is unclear, a combination of factors such as genes, environmental conditions and the immune system is thought to play a role.
What are Eczema Types?
Eczema problem can be seen in 6 different types. Each species has its own characteristics and symptoms.
- Atopic Dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It usually occurs during childhood and when it becomes an adult, its symptoms relieve or disappear completely. The most common symptom of atopic dermatitis is that rash usually occurs on the elbow or knee. Skin color becomes lighter or darker but thicker on the parts where the rash occurs. If small swelling occurs and the swelling occurs, inflammation may infiltrate into other areas. This type of eczema in infants, the rash is usually seen in the scalp and cheek area causes. This type of eczema also tends to occur at a high rate in families with a history of hay fever or asthma.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema: In this type of eczema, hands or feet under the skin, especially the fingers, palms, soles or sides, itchy, liquid-filled blisters develop. Red and large spots may occur with them. Over time, the affected skin may thicken and crack. Dyshidrotic eczema can be aggravated by stressful situations or by frequent and prolonged contact with water. Contact with certain substances such as chromium, cobalt or nickel can trigger symptoms. It is more common in women. People with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) have a higher risk of developing such eczema. It is mostly seen in spring, summer and temperate climates.
- Nummular Eczema: Round or oval itchy areas, inflamed wounds, distinctive feature of this type of eczema. Small bubble clusters form plaques or patches that become scaly. One or more areas of the skin may be affected. It is more common in older men. Nummular eczema tends to occur in people with dry skin, especially in winter. Like other types of eczema, symptoms can be transient. New stains may occur when injured in the skin (such as insect bites). Keeping the skin moist can help prevent the disease.
- Hand Eczema: It is a type of eczema that affects only the hands. There is a high risk of developing this disease if exposed regularly to chemicals that may irritate the skin. For example, people with chemists or cleaning workers have a much higher risk of hand eczema than others. The hands become red, highly itchy and dry. In addition, cracking and blisters may occur on the hands.
- Neurodermatitis: Neurodermatitis shows similar features to atopic dermatitis. It is mostly seen in people with different types of eczema or psoriasis. Thick, scaly spots appear on the leg area, arms, scalp, neck, base, or reproductive organs. These spots are very itchy and create a risk of infection. The major cause of neurodermatitis is stress.
- Varicose Dermatitis (Stasis Dermatitis): Varicose dermatitis occurs when blood leaks from the weakened veins to the skin. This type of eczema occurs in people with blood circulation problems in the lower region of the leg area. The vigorous blood circulation starts to build up pressure after a while and most of the blood leaks out of the vessels. In this case, leg areas swell and varicose veins are formed. The most important symptoms are intermittent pain in the legs, dry skin, continuous itching or scarring.
What are Eczema Symptoms?
Eczema is usually accompanied by an uncontrollable itching that worsens when itches and may be asleep. People sometimes scratch the eczema until blood runs out, but itching continues and the wound remains vulnerable to infection. Signs and symptoms of eczema vary from person to person. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, usually occurs in childhood. Babies tend to dry on their cheeks and scalp and develop a red rash that turns into scaly. Redness may bubble. In young children, the inner folds of the elbows or knees and other body areas such as hands, wrists or feet may be affected. Over time, the problem areas may become thick and itchy. Dyshidrotic eczema typically occurs in the hands and feet. People with this type of eczema develop small, fluid-filled blisters that show itching and burning. The blisters will crack and expose the skin to painful infection. Nummular eczema produces fluid-filled blisters and blisters that form crusty, coin-shaped wounds on the legs, arms, hands, feet or chest area. It is more common in winter.
Other symptoms include;
- Severe itching,
- Red-stained rash on the skin,
- Dry, rough and scaly stains,
- Formation of bubbles filled with liquid,
- Painful skin injuries
The most common causes of eczema are;
- Dry skin,
- Continuous itching,
- Viral or bacterial infections,
- Swimming in chlorinated swimming pools,
- Playing in the sand in babies,
- Sitting directly on carpets or grass,
- Respiratory tract allergens. Worsening of eczema in spring and summer may also be due to pollen sensitivity
- Food intolerance to artificial color and preservatives in some people,
- Using irritants such as perfumes, soaps, chemicals, woolen or synthetic fabrics,
- Temperature changes (such as heat) or overheated rooms,
- Stress may make the disease worse, but eczema is not a psychological condition,
- Continuous contact with animals,
- Continuous exposure to water, soap, oil, food or chemicals can damage the skin’s protective barrier function. Eczema often develops when the skin’s protective barrier disappears.
How is Eczema Treated?
There are different treatments and strategies to alleviate symptoms, reduce inflammation, and prevent pain exacerbations. These methods of treatment include oral antibiotics or antihistamines and a drug that can be injected directly into the skin, ointments and creams. Recovering moisture to the skin is crucial to avoid increased side effects. Moist bandages can reduce pain and itchiness. Moisturizing creams or gels can help to cure dryness and help keep skin hydrated.
Steroid ointments and creams have long been used to relieve eczema. These topical treatments (corticosteroids) can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. However, it is not recommended for long-term use due to its high potential side effects.
Radiation therapy (phototherapy) is an option to relieve eczema and body rash that are difficult to treat using a special device that emits ultraviolet light. For swelling skin after itching, topical products containing coal tar or antihistamines may be recommended. Any antibiotic may be given by the doctor to treat bacterial skin infections. Diluted bleach baths are sometimes used to treat infant eczema, which often results in infections. (Consult your doctor first for specific instructions.)
Drug Used in Eczema Treatment
- Topical steroids such as hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation
- Calcineurin inhibitors such as Elidel (pimecrolimus) cream and Protopic (tacrolimus) ointment
- Eucrisa (crisaborole 2% ointment)
- Dupixent (dupilumab), an injectable drug
- Antihistamines to control itching
- Prescription or non-prescription humidifiers
- Antibiotics to treat possible infections.