Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition. It is a very common condition that affects many people in different stages of their life. Eczema is most common in people with a family history of an atopic disorder, including asthma or hay fever.

Atopic eczema is the most common form of the disease among Australasians. The skin becomes red, dry, itchy and scaly, and in severe cases, may weep, bleed and crust over, causing the sufferer much discomfort. These displays are predominantly in the form of , vesicles (fluid-filled bubbles that appear on your skin) and scaly skin. On some occasions, the skin can become infected, generally because of excess scratching.

Although eczema affects all ages, it usually appears in early childhood (in babies between two to six months of age) and disappears around six years of age. In fact, more than half of all eczema sufferers show signs within their first 12 months of life and 20 per cent of people who will be affected by this condition, will develop eczema before the age of five. 

Most children grow out of the condition, but a small percentage may experience severe eczema into adulthood. Adult onset eczema is often difficult to treat and may be caused by other factors such as medications. 

It is very common to hear your doctor refer to eczema as dermatitis and vice versa. Eczema is also commonly referred to as atopic dermatitis.

Remember eczema is what you can see and not what is causing the disease. The causes of eczematous inflammation are wide and varied and often there are several factors contributing. There are three phases to the eczematous inflammation; acute, subacute and chronic. The presentation and treatment is different depending on the stage.

 

Treatment

The management of eczema focuses on three things:
  1. Determining and eliminating the causative factor (e.g. allergy to soap, hair dye or other products you currently use)

  2. Settling the inflammation

  3. Repairing the skin barrier and minimising any further breakdown of the skin.

Depending on the stage of your eruption, you may receive treatment for one or all of the factors. If you have eczema and want to consult on of our Dermatologists, please contact us today.

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