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Eczema

Eczema is a general term for any type of dermatitis or “itchy rash”. All types of eczemas cause itching and redness and some will blister, weep or peel. Further information can be found at the National Eczema Association website.

There are several skin diseases that are eczemas; a partial list of eczemas includes:

 

Atopic Dermatitis (AD)

Atopic dermatitis is the most severe and chronic (long-lasting) kind of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a disease that causes itchy, inflamed skin. It almost always begins in childhood, usually during infancy. Physicians estimate that 65 percent of eczema patients are diagnosed in the first year of life and 90 percent of patients experience it before age five. Often the symptoms fade during childhood, though “most” will have AD for life. It is estimated that atopic dermatitis affects over 30 million Americans. It typically affects the insides of the elbows, backs of the knees, and the face but can cover most of the body. Atopic dermatitis falls into a category of diseases called atopy, a term originally used to describe the allergic conditions asthma and hay fever. Atopic dermatitis was included in the atopy category because it often affects people who either suffer from asthma and/or hay fever or have family members who do; but now have been genetically connected. Physicians often refer to these three diseases as the “atopy triad”. The disease by its very nature can be episodic. People with atopic dermatitis tend to have high staph levels on their skin, although atopic dermatitis is not infectious to other people.

 

Contact Dermatitis (Allergic or Irritant)

Contact dermatitis is a reaction that can occur when the skin comes in contact with certain substances, which can cause skin inflammation. Irritants are substances that cause burning, itching or redness. Common irritants include solvents, industrial chemicals, detergents, fumes, tobacco smoke, paints, bleach, woolen fabrics, acidic foods, astringents and other alcohol (excluding cetyl alcohol) containing skin care products, and some soaps and fragrances. Allergens are usually animal or vegetable proteins from foods, pollens, or pets. Contact dermatitis is most often seen around the hands or parts of the body that touched the irritant/allergen.

 

Dyshidrotic Dermatitis (Pompholyx)

This is a blistering type of eczema, which is twice as common in women. It is limited to the fingers, palms and soles of the feet. Your hands may have itchy, scaly patches of skin that flake constantly or become red cracked and painful.

 

Nummular Dermatitis (Discoid)

Dry skin in the winter months can cause dry non-itchy round patches. It can affect any part of the body particularly the lower leg. One or many patches appear, and may persist for weeks or months. Discoid eczema does not run in families, and unlike atopic dermatitis, it is not associated with asthma. It does not result from food allergy. It is not infectious to other people, although bacteria sometimes secondarily infect it. Discoid eczema is more common in males.

 

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Red, scaly, itchy rash in various locations on the body. The scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, and the skin behind the ears and middle of the chest are the most common areas affected. Dandruff (as seborrheic, is caused by a fungal infection) appears as scaling on the scalp without redness. Seborrhea is oiliness of the skin, especially of the scalp and face, without redness or scaling. Seborrheic Dermatitis has both redness and scaling.

This website is NOT designed to diagnose or assist in diagosing a disease but rather to help the general public become educated about common skin diseases. Consult a physician for further information.

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