Eczema is a common skin disease that often begins in childhood. It is also called Dermatitis or Atopic dermatitis.
Eczema manifests as dry, scaly, discolored skin patches. The patches may be red, dark or lighter than the normal skin color. The patches almost always itch. Eczema usually starts in childhood and may persist into adulthood. Eczema is recurring and chronic condition for many people.
Researchers are studying what causes Eczema, but we know it is not contagious. The genes play a role in the development of Eczema. People who get Eczema usually have family members who have Eczema, asthma, or hay fever.
Eczema can worsen with very dry winter weather, drying heat in homes, long hot showers, fragrances, oils, animal hair, wool and synthetic fabrics, cigarette smoke and environmental irritants.
Eczema is treated with moisturizers, topical prescription creams, and oral medications (antihistamines) to reduce itching and scratching.
Without treatment and management, eczema can make daily living difficult and uncomfortable, especially during a flare-up. Quality of life may suffer because of difficulties at school, work, or social activities. Children with eczema may find it tough to sit through a whole class or worry about others seeing the rashes. Adults may be self-conscious and it can affect career choices, social life, and intimate relationships. The consistent itching is disruptive for all ages.