While some individuals consider eczema as its own disorder, it is actually an acute or chronic reaction associated with certain skin conditions.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is often characterized by itchy, red, and bumpy skin on the cheeks, neck, elbows, knees, ankles, scalp, face, ears, and chest.
It can also present as blisters that may ooze and weep or skin that is thickened, elevated, and scaly.
There are a variety of types of eczema including: Atopic dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and xerotic (dry skin) eczema.
What Causes Eczema?
Some of the most common causes of eczema include: allergens, exposure to irritants, mites, fungus, poor vascular circulation in the legs, genetics, stress, and immune system responses.
The occurrence of eczema can be acute and curable if it’s related to a fungal infection or an avoidable allergen or irritant.
However, in many cases, it is chronic and intermittent with patients experiencing flare-ups and periods of remission.
Diagnosis of Eczema
Eczema is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and thorough patient history. A skin biopsy may be performed when additional information is needed.
It is also important that providers rule out any other medical conditions before providing a diagnosis of eczema.
Because itchiness is associated with almost all presentations of eczema, it is not uncommon for patients to scratch the skin.
As a result, blisters can start to ooze and weep and make skin vulnerable to bacterial (staphylococcus) or viral (herpes simplex) infections.
Providers recommend managing oozing and weeping with vinegar compresses and any infections with oral medications.
Additionally, eczema can be treated with creams, ointments, corticosteroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, light-therapy, and avoidance of triggers. The choice of therapy largely depends on the type of eczema.
To learn more about the presentation, management, and treatment of eczema, please call Hagerstown Dermatology & Skincare today to schedule a consultation.