Eczema is an ailment which includes a wide array of skin conditions. As if having one type of eczema isn’t uncomfortable enough, you can develop more than one type of eczema at the same time. There are many common factors in the different types of eczema; the symptoms, causes and treatments are sometimes similar. But amongst the varying types of eczemas are some conditions which require special care without which the symptoms could worsen.
Atopic dermatitis is considered the most common form of eczema. The most significant trait of atopic dermatitis is the itch. The itch is so severe it interferes with all aspects of daily living. It can even interrupt your sleep. The condition affects both children and adults. Those who develop atopic dermatitis as children will generally experience reoccurrences throughout adulthood. A significant number of individuals who develop this type of eczema usually see the first occurrence during the first year after birth. But the large majority of those who suffer with atopic dermatitis first see it before five years of age.
The affected areas will be red, dry, and scaly. The eczema can produce weeping, crusting, cracking, and scaling. The areas of the body affected by atopic dermatitis usually depend on the age of the individual when the symptoms appear. Atopic dermatitis presents itself on the face or the scalp in infancy. As eczema sufferers age, the areas of the body most affected by this eczema are hands and feet. But it can also appear on the inner crease of the elbow, upper chest area, face and neck, and behind the knees.
Proper treatment of atopic dermatitis is extremely important. Besides the relentless itch, atopic dermatitis can actually result in permanent altering of the skin without care. As a defense mechanism, the skin will thicken to prevent further injury from the scratching. The condition isn’t currently considered curable but is treatable. It is usually recommended to use several of the proven methods of treatment to help alleviate the symptoms, end the outbreak, and to avoid future reoccurrences when possible.
As a way to alleviate the extreme itch of atopic dermatitis to cope, try
- Cold compresses to help relieve the itching.
- A sedative to help sleep through the night
- Apply an emollient to allay dry skin.
In order to end an outbreak you should
- Ask your doctor about phototherapy. Since light has proven extremely effective in treating psoriasis, phototherapy is often advisable.
- Take antibiotics if the atopic dermatitis results in a bacterial infection.
- Apply corticosteroid. The ointment relieves the inflammation and soothes the irritation caused by it.
Neurodermatitis shares a significant common trait with atopic dermatitis; an intense itch. This itch from neurodermatitis is even more severe than the one accompanying atopic dermatitis. The itch is said to be so severe it is unbearable. To make matters even worse, when the affected area is scratched in an effort to find relief, the itching sensation intensifies. The more you scratch the area, the more it itches. This type of eczema occurs when the nerve endings in the skin are irritated and initiate the extreme itching sensation.
Neurodermatitis can cause many long term, even permanent problems. Scratching the irritated areas from the neurodermatitis can cause long white scratch mark scars on the skin. In addition to the scars, unsightly sore like plaques form on the skin. And the skin can eventually become thick and darken in color. A build up of skin cells could cause a cutaneous horn to appear on the skin. The relentless and intense itching is so severe it can eventually cause anxiety in the neurodermatitis sufferer.
This type of eczema usually develops in individuals who have suffered with allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, or psoriasis. Individuals who are prone to hay fever and asthma have also experienced neurodermatitis outbreaks. It is more common in females and usually between 30 and 50 years of age. You can try to avoid occurrences of neurodermatitis by staying away from tight clothing and fabrics which are synthetic or wool, any type of irritants or known allergens.
Treating this eczema can be a challenge. In order for neurodermatitis to disappear, the individual must stop scratching. So treatment focuses on stopping the itching sensation. Treatments include:
- Cold compresses to relieve irritation.
- Wrapping the infected areas whenever possible
- Topical corticosteroid to relieve the irritation and the itching.
- Antibiotics, both oral and topical, to treat or prevent infections
- Topical keratolytic to prevent the skin from thickening
- Sedatives to relieve anxiety and help the patient get to sleep and stay sleeping.
Contact dermatitis is the result of contact with or exposure to an irritant. It is also called allergic contact dermatitis. An irritant can be anything; cosmetics, jewelry, foods, chemicals, skin or hair care products. The irritant causes an allergic reaction and the skin becomes red, itchy, and often bumpy. The area can also experience swelling, blistering, crusting, cracking, and scaling. Frequent or long term exposure to irritants can cause permanent damage to the skin. The skin will become leathery and darken in color.
Once a person develops allergic contact dermatitis it is important to determine what the irritant was that caused it. Some experts report an excess of 3000 allergens are present which are known to cause this type of eczema. Repeated exposure will harm the skin over time. After the irritants are identified, the person should avoid contact or exposure as much as possible. Certain things can even trigger a reaction such as exposure to UV light and perspiration. Check labels and ingredients when possible as an additional precautionary step.
The best treatment for allergic contact dermatitis is avoidance. Avoid any product, substance, or situation which causes an outbreak. The skin will become more sensitive to even mild irritants; resulting in more frequent outbreaks of the symptoms, if frequently exposed to irritants. When you cannot physically remove yourself from the vicinity of an irritant, you can apply a cream to prevent the irritant from reaching your skin. Or you can use gloves if the irritant is a substance you have to handle.
If you are experiencing symptoms of contact dermatitis, then avoidance is not an option. There are various treatment methods recommended by dermatologists to alleviate and clear up the symptoms of contact dermatitis. As is true with other forms of eczema, using multiple treatment methods is often advisable.
- Apply emollients to the affected areas of skin.
- Take an antihistamine such as Benadryl
- Phototherapy helps reduce and clear up the symptoms
- Corticosteroids can be applied directly to the skin as an ointment or, in severe cases, injected.
Dyschidrotic Dermatitis is an eczema generally occurring on the hands and the feet only. This eczema is also associated with symptoms of itching and is also accompanied by a burning sensation. The rash often evolves into blisters. The blisters are often deep and inflamed. The affected area can experience cracking, peeling, inflammation, oozing, crusting, and excessive sweating. The fingernails are also affected. Nails will become discolored and thicken. The cause of dyschidrotic dermatitis is still under investigation. One credible theory is this eczema is a reaction to a medical condition or to environmental factors.
Since the exact cause of dyschidrotic dermatitis is still undefined, experts recommend certain preventive measures to those who are prone to outbreaks. As stress is often a trigger of an eczema flare up, it is sensible to limit your stress levels. If you are a person who suffers with prolonged or chronic stress, find a stress relief technique which works for you. Yoga, exercise, stretching, and breathing exercises have been proven to work. Irritants are another common cause of eczema outbreaks. Limiting exposure to them is suggested.
Treating dyschidrotic dermatitis is typical for most eczema treatments.
- Cold compresses are used to help alleviate the burning and itching. Topical corticosteroids are used for the same purpose.
- Antibiotics may have to be prescribed to treat an infection which arises.
- If blisters become large and/or extremely painful, a dermatologist may need to drain it.
- A different type of light treatment, called PUVA, is used to treat this form of eczema
- A variety of medications may be prescribed: immunosuppressive medications, inflammation medications, oral corticosteroids, even injections most commonly used for wrinkle treatment have been used.