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Atopic eczema – or dermatitis – varies quite a lot between individuals but basically what happens is that dry skin flares up and becomes very itchy and uncomfortable.
Eczema is one of the most common chronic skin conditions in the UK. The itching from it can be so bad it can cause bleeding and weeping which increase the risk of infection.
Night-time itching can disturb sleeping and cause intense irritability.
Eczema is thought to be hereditary – suffers often have a family history of this, or related conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
Skin on creases in the knees, ankles, wrists and arms are often where eczema is present – but it can flare up anywhere on the body.
Eczema often causes the skin to be very dry and red, particularly during a flare-up and bleeding can also occur from excessive itching. After repeated itching, skin can become thick and scaly.
Allergies are a key cause of eczema flare-ups, with pollen, pets and food allergies being the most common. Certain soaps and detergents, and stress, are also known to make eczema worse for some people. In women, hormones are thought to trigger the condition, especially during pregnancy or just before a period. There is no known specific cause of eczema though.
Eczema can usually be diagnosed fairly easily by a GP looking at the skin. If the eczema doesn’t look typical, then a doctor will swab the skin to analyse it for possible infection.
A suitable skincare routine will be recommended by a health care professional looking at eczema. The routine will aim to keep the skin moisturised. Treatments usually include the prescription of topical steroid creams to treat flare-ups and emollients to keep symptoms under control.
Eczema Dermatologist Appointment