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The term Eczema, which is a form of dermatitis, is widely used to indicate a number of distressing skin conditions. Itching, flaking, cracking, oozing and even occasional bleeding are some of the common symptoms of eczema while skin edema, rashes, dryness and overall discomfort are normally associated with this dermatological disorder. However, eczema normally does not leave a scar if and when it is healed.


Some of the eczemas are of common types while there are others that are rather rare. Among the common types is the Contact Dermatitis that is caused by allergen that may result from a deferred reaction to allergens like the poison ivy as also an irritation to chemicals. Sometimes eczemas are caused by allergens and irritants acting together. Contact Dermatitis, fortunately is curable if the allergens or the irritants are removed from the immediate vicinity of the person who has acquired eczema from them.

Atopic eczema is difficult to cure as it lies embedded in the genes and is hereditary in nature. Atopic eczema is also linked with asthma and hay fever where patients display itchy rashes on the neck, scalp, face and buttocks – these symptoms are similar to Contact Dermatitis.

Eczemas that affect infants (sometimes newborn babies too) are known as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis that causes dry as well as greasy scaling (a kind of dandruff) of the scalp, tending to reach down to the eyebrows. Often purplish patches and pimples, all basically flaking and peeling, appear in several adjoining areas. Seborrhoeic Dermatitis however is mostly curable.

The skin among the seniors often becomes so dry during the long winter months that they resemble the surface of a dry, cracked up river bed. Eventually turning into Xerotic Eczema, it becomes a source of constant irritation and itching.


Diagnosis for eczema is important – and must be performed by a physician or dermatologist. This is because there are many, many causes for a skin irritation that can be, or can mimic what is actually labeled as eczema. An experienced dermatologist will be able to tell you if you have a chronic form of eczema or just a simple skin irritation from a new piece of clothing, detergent, hand soap etc. Always see a dermatologist if you have repeated or constant skin irritations.


Treatment of eczema is as varied as the ailment itself. However, one factor primarily responsible for eczema to grow is the dryness of the skin. Moisturizing the skin is of primary importance in controlling eczema. Instead of using soaps and detergents, patients may use Aqueous Creams to maintain natural skin oils to some extent. Indeed, some soaps may actually be the cause of eczema conditions.

Eczema treatment should also take into account providing relief from itching, and so, anti-itch drugs or antihistamines will help while antibiotics may control the secondary infection resulting from incessant scratching and scarping. Although the FDA strongly objects to the use of corticosteroids and immunomodulators in eczema treatment for fear of skin cancer, many professional medical organizations disagree with the FDA’s findings, continuing with their eczema treatment. Corticosteroids may also have other side effects and must be prescribed by a family physician.

When ultra violet light therapy for eczema treatment was found to be not so effective, PUVA combination therapy consisting of psoralen and UVA clinically called photo-chemotherapy was introduced to control eczema.

In recent years, some very effective natural eczema treatment options have become more popular. Some more popular natural treatments are aloe vera, oatmeal (as a topical cream or a bath) and tea tree oil. Linseed oil and cod liver oil has been used a topical treatment for both itchiness and to stop the spreading of the skin irritation.


Because of the many forms of eczema, there is no sure fire way to prevent skin outbreaks. There are some cautionary measures one can take however. The most important preventative method is to keep the skin hydrated. Using hydrating creams is one way of doing this (besides adequate intake of water, daily), but one should always ‘test’ the cream on a small portion of skin to make sure there are no reactions to the product.

Eczema is very common, and therefore there are now many cleansers on the market are specifically designed to help reduce the irritation of eczema. These cleansers usually contain natural ingredients and help in hydrating and healing dry, cracked skin.

Clothing is now available for people with eczema – the clothing has no known irritants and helps to reduce (or at least not aggravate) the itchiness of irritated skin.

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