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Eczema, causes and symptoms

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Eczema is a skin condition in which the epidermis of the skin is involved. This is a general term used for superficial inflammatory skin problems. Redness, minute papules, itching, weeping, crusting and vesicles are some of the conditions seen in case of Eczema. In a later stage, scaling along with pigmentation and lichenification of the skin is seen.



Causes of Eczema

The specific causes of Eczema are not known yet, but doctors believe that it is caused by a combination of different environmental and hereditary factors. This is a skin condition which is mostly seen in the case of children. If the parents or one of the parents had it, the children are more likely to suffer from this problem. With both the parents having such previous history of Eczema or an atopic disease, then the risk increases manifold.

There are several environmental factors that are related to Eczema. These players include-

  • Irritants-irritants include soaps, shampoos, detergents, juices, disinfectants, vegetable juice etc.
  • Microbes-different microbes such as bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, fungi, viruses etc.
  • Allergens- pets, dust mites, pollen, dandruff, mould
  • Foods-eggs, dairy products, seeds, nuts, wheat, soy products
  • Temperature-hot weather, low humidity, high humidity, perspiration
  • Stress- stress can make the symptoms of eczema worse
  • Hormones-changing hormone levels can make the condition worse. Specially women suffer from such problems during their menstrual period and during pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms of eczema

In case of infants, due to atopic dermatitis, dry and scaly patches are seen on the skin. They cause too much itching. Depending on the age of the host, the symptoms of atopic dermatitis may vary. It is generally seen before the age of five. Anyone who suffered from this problem in the childhood suffers from its symptoms even when they are adults. The symptoms that appear in case of adults are different from the symptoms experienced by children.

The patients with eczema experience a specific time period when the symptoms worsen or flare up. After that, the symptoms improve and the condition gets better.

Symptoms found in case of infants

  • Rashes appear on the cheeks and scalp
  • Those rashes that appear cause tremendous itchiness. The patient may not be able to sleep because of the itchiness. Because of the itchiness and the continuous rubbing and scratching, other skin infections may show up.
  • Rashes may also weep fluid
  • Rashes are seen in the creases of knees and elbows
  • Rashes also appear on wrists, neck, ankles, increase between the legs and buttocks
  • Rashes may become bumpy
  • These may become darker in color or lighten up
  • The rashes that appear may also become thicker and cause a permanent itch.

Symptoms in case of children

Symptoms seen in case of adults

In case of adults, similar symptoms are seen.

  • Rashes are generally seen in the creases of knees and elbows and nape of neck
  • These rashes appear all over the body
  • Dry skin is formed
  • Rashes are more prominent in the areas of face, neck and around the eyes
  • Rashes cause permanent itching
  • Scaly skin is developed due to rashes
  • Rashes can also result in skin infections
  • Adults who experienced atopic dermatitis when they were children, may experience dry skin, easily irritated skin, eye problems and hand eczema even in their adulthood.

The signs and symptoms and the condition of the patient will depend on how much the rashes were scratched and if there are any other skin infections present. Scratching and rubbing the skin will cause more irritation to the skin and may result in inflammation and more itchiness. The doctors can easily diagnose eczema using the signs and symptoms.

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