Eczema is an itchy skin condition that can affect all ages. It can affect all aspects of life and can be very distressing.
Types of eczema;
This tend to be commoner in children and has a genetic basis but many things can worsen this type of eczema. these include teething, viral illness, house dust mite, pets and stress. It is associated with hayfever, asthma and food allergies. I have a special interest in this area and will always explore the possibility of food allergies playing a role in atopic eczema. This is particularly important in younger children and allergy testing can help. This is done by skin prick testing or blood tests. There should only be done when under the care of a dermatology or allergy consultant to ensure the right tests are done and their interpretation is correct.
Ezcema in children can be distressing for the child and all of their family, affecting sleep, school attendance, friendships, concentration and mood. It is important to get a treatment plan that is safe and really works.
2. Allergic contact eczema (or dermatitis).
This can occur with other types of eczema and is an allergy to things that come into contact with the skin. Your dermatologist will often be able to make the diagnosis from talking to you and looking at the pattern of eczema on your skin. It is useful to have an allergy test called a patch test which is performed over one week and involves having special plasters applied to your back to identify potential allergies. This test is not for food allergies.
3. Varicose eczema.
This is a type of eczema that affects the lower legs resulting in red, dry skin that can be itchy. There are several measures that can improve this including creams, soap substitutes and leg elevation. If occurring on one leg only fungal infection should be ruled out.
All types of eczema will benefit from avoiding soap, or washing products that make bubbles, and using unperfumed moisturisers (emollients).