Eczema, medically known as Atopic Dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes your skin to become itchy, red, dry, and irritated. This condition usually starts in your early childhood years and persists into adulthood, but it can also appear at any age. Eczema can have different rash types depending on where it occurs in your body.

Causes of Eczema

Although the primary cause of Eczema isn’t completely known, researchers of the skin condition believe it is triggered by your immune system being overactive. People’s eczema will flare up when their skin is exposed to external irritants because this is what causes the immune system to overreact.

Researchers of eczema have also found that if you have eczema, your skin will struggle to make a protein called filaggrin, which is a protein that contributes to your skin staying moisturised and healthy.

Eczema triggers

The NHS say that there are a number of external irritants that can cause your eczema to flare up which can also vary from person to person. When one or more eczema symptom appears on your skin, this is what’s classed as a flare-up.

The common triggers for a flare-up include:

  • Irritants- Soaps, detergents, and washing up liquids include certain chemicals that can make eczema flare up.
  • Allergies and environmental factors- Dry or dusty air, cold or dry weather, dampness, pollen, and mould can irritate the skin and cause it to flare up.
  • Materials- Materials such as wool and synthetic fibres can irritate the skin.
  • Skin infections
  • Hormonal changes- When women go through certain hormonal changes such as menstruation or pregnancy their eczema can get worse.
  • Stress
  • Sweating

Symptoms of Eczema

The primary symptom of eczema is that the affected area of skin becomes either itchy, dry, rough, flaky, inflamed, irritated or a combination of one or more of these symptoms.

When your skin is affected by eczema, it’s usually located on the arms, the inner elbow, the back of the knee, cheeks, or scalp.

The other symptoms of eczema include:

  • Intense itching
  • Red patches
  • Raised bumps that contain fluid that leaks when scratched
  • Scaly skin
  • Soreness

People tend to find that these symptoms are worsened at night, if you scratch too much it can cause the affected area to become infected, so it will need to be treated with antibiotics.

Treatments for Eczema

If you find yourself suffering from eczema, then you can have an appointment with an Eczema Dermatologist, who will be able to put together a suitable skincare routine for you to keep the skin moisturised to keep the symptoms under control.  It usually includes a prescription of a tropical steroid cream to help with this.

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