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Eczema Disease: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & More

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Eczema Disease: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & More

Did you know various studies state that Eczema patients have a 36% higher risk of suicide attempts? And about 27.6 million children and adults are affected by it only in the United States of America. There is more about this not-common disease— Eczema.

So, in this post, we provide detailed information about eczema which includes its types, symptoms, prevention, what to eat, what to avoid in food diet, and with some frequently asked questions that you people are always looking for. 

So, start with a small introduction.     

What is Eczema?

What is Eczema?

Eczema is also known as Dermatitis, which is a disease in which the areas of the skin become irritated, itchy, swollen, cracked, blistering, and rough. As per stats, approximately, 31.6 percent of people in the United States of America has one of the various types of eczema.

The term “Eczema” also specifies the most common type, which is Atopic Dermatitis. It is a part of the atopic triad, and the triad means three, which includes diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever.

However, the word “Atopic” refers to a group of diseases that affects the immune system.  Whereas the term “Dermatitis” is an infection of the skin.

Quick Facts on Eczema

  • Eczema isn’t a curable disease.
  • Some foods may worse eczemas such as nuts and milk.
  • Symptoms vary according to the person’s eczema type but often include scaly, itchy skin patches.
  • Environmental factors such as smoke and spores can cause eczema too. 
  • Treatment can not cure eczema yet, but it can manage or reduce the symptoms.
  • Eczema is not a communicable disease.

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Types of Eczema

Types of Eczema

In general, there are a total of seven types of Eczema, which affect the whole skin of the body, includes:

  • Atopic dermatitis 
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Dyshidrotic eczemas
  • Hand eczemas
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Nummular eczemas 
  • Stasis dermatitis

So, let’s discuss all these types, one by one, along with its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Atopic Dermatitis 

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease and the most common form of eczema. Generally, it is a disease that makes your skin red and itchy. However, it is commonly found in children and also in patients that have asthma, or hay fever.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

 These are some symptoms of atopic dermatitis:

  • Generally, rashes are over the elbows or in knees.
  • If you scratch your skin, your skin will release some fluid and it is not good for your skin health.
  • Babies also get rashes on their scalp and cheeks.
  • Skin in areas where the rash appears may turn lighter or darker, or get thicker.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

It only happens when your skin wall is weakened. This means your skin is not able to protect you from any allergens. Atopic dermatitis is likely caused by a number of factors which are: 

  • Genetics
  • Through dry skin
  • Due to some immune system disorder

Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

There is no cure till now for atopic dermatitis. But taking self-care measures can help you to reduce itching and protect your new cracks.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis refers to an infection caused by direct contact with a substance usually inflammation agents, and it results in red patches and irritated skin.

Causes of Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis happens when you touch a substance that irritates your skin or causes an allergic reaction. The most common causes are:

  • Through detergents, bleach, jewelry, latex, and nickel
  • Due to some poisonous plants
  • Skincare products
  • Soaps and perfumes
  • Tobacco smoking

Types of Contact Dermatitis

There is basically two types of contact dermatitis which are given below:

  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis happens when substances such as some chemicals and solvents irritate the skin. The exposed skin has red rashes and is more painful.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

As per the name, when allergic agents cause skin irritation then this condition is termed as allergic contact dermatitis The allergen usually harmless to people.

Symptoms of Contact Dermatitis

The symptoms of contact dermatitis include both the symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis:

  • The skin itches turn into red
  • Itchy lumps called hives which may arise on your skin
  • Dry and cracked scaly skin
  • Swelling and tenderness

Treatment for Contact Dermatitis

In general, there are two treatments for contact dermatitis:

  • Steroid creams or ointments
  • Oral medications

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema which is also termed as pompholyx. It is a condition in which blisters develop on the bottoms of your feet and on the palms of your hands. In general, it may be acute or chronic, and it affects both teenagers and adults. It is usually found more in women than in men.

Causes of Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema can be caused by:

  • Allergies
  • Damp hands and feet
  • Pollen
  • Moist hands and feet from excessive sweating 
  • Stress

Symptoms of Dyshidrotic Eczema

The symptoms of dyshidrotic eczema are as follows:

  • Deep blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and on the feet
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Flaking
  • Scaly and cracked skin

Treatment of Dyshidrotic Eczema

These are some prescribe treatment and therapy for dyshidrotic eczema:

  • Light treatments
  • Injections of Botox (botulinum toxin)
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral steroids, such as prednisone

Hand Eczema

Hand eczema is a non-communicable infection which is usually found on the skin of the hands. However, one can also find them on the soles and palms. This makes it hard to differentiate it from allergic contact dermatitis, and psoriasis because these have common symptoms.

If you work in a place where chemicals are regularly used, it will irritate your skin. Many times, it has serious consequences for the affected person.

Causes of Hand Eczema

Causes of hand eczema are as follows:

  • Cleaning
  • Dry cleaning or laundry 
  • Hairdressing
  • Healthcare

Symptoms of Hand Eczema

In hand eczema:

  • Your hands get red, itchy, and dry
  • They may form cracks or blisters

Treatment for Hand Eczema

These are the following treatment for hand eczemas:

  • Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments
  • Phototherapy
  • Antibiotics

Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis is a condition that is characterized by itchy-patchy skin. It mostly found in the region of the neck, forearms, or anal region. It is also known as lichen simplex chronicus which is not a life-threatening disease. But the itching can be so intense as it may disrupt your sleep and quality life.

Causes of Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis usually starts in people who have other types of eczema or psoriasis. The continuously rubbing and scratching may start irritating the skin. As more, you rub the area and more it gets itchy.

Symptoms of Neurodermatitis

 The symptoms of neurodermatitis are:

  • Hair loss
  • Open sores and bleeding
  • Scarring from scratching
  • Skin lines in the affected skin
  • Patches can be very itchy when you are relaxed
  • If you scratch the patches, they can bleed and might get infectious.

Treatment of Neurodermatitis

Following are the treatment for a neurodermatitis skin condition:

  • Anti-itch medicated creams
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) injection

Nummular Eczema

Nummular Eczema

Nummular eczema, also known as nummular dermatitis or discoid eczemas. In the Latin language, the word “Nummular” means coin. It is a condition in which the skin gets coin-shaped patches which cause inflammation and itchy. They may ooze clear fluid or become dry and crusty.

Causes of Nummular Eczema

These are the major causes of nummular eczema in humans:

  • Skin damage through an insect bite, chemical, etc.
  • Poor blood flow in the lower legs.
  • Medications like topical antibiotic creams and isotretinoin.
  • Dry skin in the winter
  • Metal like nickel

Symptoms of Nummular Eczema

The following are the symptoms of nummular eczema:

  • Round coin-shaped spots on your skin.
  • The spots may have itching and burning sensation.
  • Red, pinkish or brown, scaly, and inflamed skin around the lesions.

Treatment for Nummular Eczema

These are the following treatment for nummular eczema:

  • Using moist bandages to protect the infected areas.
  • Antihistamines
  • Use lotions or skin ointments
  • Ultraviolet light treatment

Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is basically found in the lower legs skin region of the body caused by chronic venous insufficiency. Congestion eczema, gravitational eczema, and stasis eczema are the other names of stasis dermatitis.

It arises only when the liquid leaks out from weak veins into the skin. The liquid causes redness, itching, and pain in that area.

Causes of Stasis Dermatitis

Following are the causes of stasis dermatitis

  • High blood pressure
  • Varicose veins
  • Overweight
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • A blood clot in your leg

Symptoms of Stasis Dermatitis

Generally, stasis dermatitis has symptoms like:

  • Swelling, especially around the ankles 
  • Redness
  • Discolored skin
  • Scaling and dryness
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg ache

Treatment of Stasis Dermatitis 

Eczema often comes and goes. When it appears, you might need to try different medicines and other treatments to get rid of these rashes. Some medication that helps you minimize the symptoms are:

  • Antihistamines 
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Corticosteroid cream or ointment
  • Calcineurin inhibitors 
  • Antibiotics 
  • Light therapy 
  • Cool compressors like ice pads should be applied before you rub the corticosteroid cream 

Common Diagnostic Test For Eczema

Diagnostic Test For Eczema

After checking the medical history, the doctor takes some additional tests to diagnose which type of eczemas that the person is experiencing. Some of these tests to determine eczema are:

Blood Tests

In this test, the doctor places a needle into the arm of the patient to withdraw some blood to determine high levels of eosinophil cells in the blood that are due to an immune response.

This test also determines the high levels of a molecule called IgE antibody. And people that have high IgE, states that they have atopic diseases including eczema.

Skin Needle Biopsy

In this test, a doctor removes small pieces of skin and examines the sample under a microscope. Moreover, it is also helpful to check whether or not, the patient is suffering from low-grade skin cancer or psoriasis.

Allergy Skin Testing

The test is done to check which type (or specific allergic agent) causes eczema. In this test, your skin is revealed to suspected allergy-causing substances.

Patch Testing

In this test, a patch that has some allergenic agents are patched to the skin surface for at least 48 hours. After the removal, the skin surface is tested for atopic dermatitis. In general, the skin surface is regularly monitored for the next 72 to 96 hours.

Buccal Swabs

A buccal swab is a way to collect DNA from a person’s cheek. However, it is also known as a buccal smear test.

Prevention from Eczema 

Prevention from Eczema

 These are the following ways to prevent yourself from eczema or to manage their symptoms:

  • To get relief from itching, use cool compressors such as ice packs, chamomile, and colloidal oatmeal on your skin.
  • Apply the cream within 3 minutes after bathing to maintain the moisture.
  • Moisturize your skin daily with a rich oil-based cream to form a protective barrier against these elements.
  • After your bath, rub the skin with a soft towel.
  • Avoid scratching. It may cause an infection.
  • Use fragrance-free detergents, cleansers, makeup, and other skincare products.
  • Wear gloves and protective clothing whenever you work with chemicals.
  • Wear loose clothes made from soft fibers, like cotton.
  • Using a mild soap or a non-soap cleanser when washing.
  • Do activities that make you sweat.
  • Taking lukewarm baths.

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What to Eat in Eczema?

What to Eat in Eczema?

These are the list of certain foods that you should eat during eczema conditions:

Fatty Fish and Fish Oil

As fish oil contains a very high level of omega-3 fatty acids that fight against the infection in the body. Examples of fishes that contain a high level of omega-3 are mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna.

You may also take omega 3 supplements from some drug stores. Doctors or dietician also recommends eating at least 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily.

Foods Containing Probiotics

Probiotics are the living organism that is basically found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. They are generally known as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria.

It contains some live-saving bacteria that helps in building a strong immune system. This may help to reduce allergic reactions.

Probiotic-rich foods include:

  • Tempeh
  • Unpasteurized sauerkraut
  • Sourdough bread
  • Soft cheeses, such as Gouda
  • Naturally fermented pickles
  • Miso soup

Foods Containing Quercetin

Quercetin is basically a natural pigment that enriches the color of different fruits, vegetables, and grains. However, it is the richest antioxidant that plays an important role in helping your body against any chronic diseases. 

In addition, its antioxidant properties may help to reduce pain, allergy, and blood pressure. Foods contain a high level in quercetin include:

  • Broccoli
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Blueberries

What to Avoid in Eczema?

If you are suffering from eczema, and looking for food that you should avoid, then this section will give you a detailed list overview of what to not eat.

  • Eggs
  • Some types of nuts
  • Dairy
  • Citrus fruits
  • Soy
  • Spices such as  cloves, and cinnamon
  • Wheat
  • Vanilla
  • Tomatoes

People who are suffering from dyshidrotic eczema should eliminate any kind of nickel products from their diet. This is because nickel could trigger the development of more patchy skins. These are the list of some food that has high nickel content.

  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Black tea
  • Canned meat

However, if you have allergy eczema, then foods like carrot, celery, pears, green apples, etc. can worsen the skin condition.

Do not eat foods that contain preservatives and artificial ingredients because they may exacerbate skin symptoms. This includes foods that are high in trans fats, such as margarine, processed food, and fast food.

Foods with high sugar content may also trigger skin flakes. Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike, which can result in more inflammation. Items that have high sugar are some sodas, fast food items, cakes, some smoothies, and coffee drinks.

Summary 

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a group of diseases that result in infection of the skin. These diseases are characterized by itchiness, red skin, and rashes.

In general, there are a total of 7 types of eczema which are atopic dermatitis,  contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczemas, hand eczemas, neurodermatitis, nummular eczemas, and stasis dermatitis. While, the most common signs include red and inflamed skin, itching, rough patches, and swelling in the infected skin area.

As eczema has no cure but treatment like emollients, topical corticosteroids, antihistamines, wear compression stockings, certain antibiotics, and light therapy can decrease the level of inflammation in the skin.

General FAQ

What should you not eat when you have eczema?

Ans. Foods such as eggs, too many dairy products, citrus fruits, spices, wheat, and tomatoes should be avoided if you have eczema.

Is eczema contagious by touching?

Even if you have any active rashes, eczema can’t be contagious. Therefore, getting eczemas from somebody else is impossible. And if you get some infection from other people then it is not eczema.

Is aloe-vera good for eczemas?

Ans. Aloe vera gel is a natural antibacterial moisturizer that can reduce the inflammation in this skin disease. According to anecdotal evidence, it is safer to use by eczema’s patients

What antibiotic treats eczema?

Ans. Oral antibiotics such as flucloxacillin (most common), penicillin, and clarithromycin are some antibiotics that can be used to treat eczema.

What creams do doctors prescribe for eczema?

Ans. Creams such as OTC hydrocortisone, Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Hand Unscented Lotion, CerVe Moisturizing Cream, and Curel Hydra Therapy cream are the common prescriptions by doctors.

Is Eczema a sign of a weak immune system?

Ans. There is no correlation between getting eczemas and weak immune system. However, some autoimmune responses can cause eczemas.

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