There are numerous forms of eczema, also called dermatitis, and they generally fall into three categories: acute, subacute, and chronic. This common skin condition affects as many as one in five individuals and at the most basic level can be described as an itchy rash. In some cases, eczema can occur as a one-time event, known as acute dermatitis; however, for many people this issue is a long-term, recurring problem. Stress and a suppressed immune system have been known to further provoke outbreaks. If you currently have eczema, or you believe you may have this disorder, our skilled family physician, Dr. Shehla Ebrahim, may be able to help you relieve the discomfort, inflammation, and flare-ups associated with the condition.
While there are three general classifications of eczema, as listed above, there are numerous types of dermatitis with recognizable symptoms, and you may have one or more forms. It’s important to note, there are just as many treatment options for this condition as variations on the disorder, including simple, affordable at-home methods, but no cure. For more information about eczema relief, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ebrahim, please contact our office today.
Types of Eczema
- Atopic Dermatitis: Especially common in children, this form of eczema appears to be inherited.
- Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Individuals with atopic dermatitis are more prone to this type, which flares up when exposed to detergents, solvents, friction, or harsh chemicals. Sometimes just handling water can cause a reaction.
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Presents after coming in contact with what may be considered harmless substances to most, such as nickel, rubber, or perfume. Allergy testing can help to determine the offending material.
- Asteatotic Dermatitis: Also called eczema craquele, often appears as extremely dry, itchy skin.
- Nummular Dermatitis: Also called discoid eczema, may occur after an injury and often is characterized by round, scattered patches of irritated skin.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A type of yeast that can live on the scalp, face, and body produces an irritant that results in this type of eczema, which features flaking skin in the affected areas.
- Infective Dermatitis: Believed to be caused by both fungal and bacterial infections (specifically impetigo) and is more prevalent in children.
- Gravitational Dermatitis: Frequently occurring in the elderly, this form of eczema is found on the lower legs, typically as a result of veins swelling and losing functionality with age.
- Otitis Externa: Primarily develops along the outside of the ear canal.
- Meyerson Naevus: Appears around a mole, also called halo dermatitis.
Clearly, there are many variations of eczema in existence, though only a few are common. Furthermore, there is an abundant selection of preventive measures and treatments available to help soothe irritated skin and reduce the likelihood and severity of future outbreaks. Some tips you can try to immediately improve the condition include: take showers rather than baths, keep the water lukewarm rather than hot, and use mild or soap-free cleansers; avoid wool and wear soft, smooth clothes that keep you cool and wick away sweat; liberally apply sensitive, fragrance-free lotion, especially after showering.
In addition to self-care, medical options that may be able to help include:
- Topical Steroids
- Pimecrolimus Cream
- Prescription Medication, for advanced cases
Long-Term Treatment Options
Many cases of eczema are chronic, and flare-ups may occur periodically. You can help reduce the frequency and severity of these outbreaks by paying attention to the signs on your body. Strive to keep your skin hydrated and avoid harsh cleansers and detergents. You may need to combine a steroid cream with an emollient for the best results, though if symptoms continue for more than two weeks, be sure and contact your physician. Before scheduling a medical consultation with Dr. Ebrahim, you will need a referral through your General Practitioner.
If you have additional questions about eczema, what the condition is, and how to treat the symptoms, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ebrahim, please contact our office today.