Eczema, dermatitis, skin inflammation…
All of these can be interchangeably used to describe the mysterious skin condition that seems to target just about anyone – no matter the age, gender, or race.
Some known factors that can trigger eczema:
- Certain soaps and detergents
- Cosmetic products (including makeup and skin care products)
- Stress & Anxiety
Types of eczema (dermatitis):
Atopic – A chronic skin disease directly related to the increased itching that is associated with eczema. Many times the itching becomes unbearable – enough to make normal activities difficult. It is common for the condition to form during childhood. There have been many studies that classify this specific type of dermatitis as a genetic disorder.
Contact – Once a person comes into contact with any triggers they can experience burning, itching, redness. This particular form of eczema can be hard to pinpoint because of the magnitude of things we come into contact with on a daily basis. In most cases a red rash appears (in some cases immediately, and in others it may take a few days). It takes anywhere from 3-4 weeks to clear up. If you notice the rash is not going away you should contact your dermatologist.
Dyshidrotic / Hand– Itching and burning occur in the following areas: soles of the feet, palms of the hands and sides of the fingers. Hand dermatitis many times comes because of a person’s profession, meaning the irritant or trigger can be associated with something they come in contact with at work. This is not limited to the hands only. When eczema forms on any area of the body, due to a person’s profession, it is known as occupational dermatitis.
Neurodermatitis – Is associated with something known as the “itch scratch itch cycle” This particular type of dermatitis occurs when the nerve endings in the skin become irritated. Most times the condition forms between the ages of 25-30 and for women more than men. Neurodermatitis generally results in thick leathery skin.
Nummular – Comes about when the skin has experienced a disturbance, including: an insect bite, burn, or cut. Common areas for nummular dermatitis to form are the buttocks, arms, legs and knees. Those suffering from this condition will notice coin or oval-shaped patches of dry skin in the areas listed above.
Seborrheic– Cold and dry weather are when this type of dermatitis forms the most. The common areas of formation are: the scalp (waxy/oily patches), face, cheeks, and shoulders. Common names associated with this particular type of dermatitis: dandruff, Seborrhea, or “Cradle cap” (like its name suggests it is associated with infants).
Stasis – Aging most times leads to a reduction of circulation in the lower half of the body, leading to a fluid build-up. Swelling, painful sores, skin discoloration and itchy rashes are all things that happen because of the decrease in blood flow.
While there is no concrete cure for some forms of eczema, for example atopic dermatitis from a genetic predisposition, there are steps those suffering can take to live comfortably. The worst of the symptoms are itching and inflammation, most treatment options target these two problems. It is highly suggested that you take into account the list of possible triggers listed above. Major lifestyle changes are necessary; once you know what your triggers are you can 1, stop the use of them and 2, find alternatives.
Brands on the market our dermatologists think you should consider for itchy dry skin: Cetaphil, Aquaphor, Eucerin, Aveeno (many of these brands have lines for babies/kids as well).
Two of our doctors, Dr. Robert Levine and Dr. Valerie Goldburt hosted a radio show in the past discussing a multitude of dermatologic conditions including eczema, to listen click the links below.
- Dr. Robert Levine: Eczema
- Dr. Valerie Goldburt (Part 1)
- Dr. Valerie Goldburt (Part 2)
- Dr. Robert Levine: Allergy Testing
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