Eczema is a condition which causes the skin to become dry, itchy and cracked. It is most common in children and can improve over time. Adults who suffer, often find that they still have flare-ups of eczema during periods of stress.
The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema, which can affect any part of the body but is often found inside the elbows, knees, on the neck, hands, cheeks, and scalp.
Eczema and dermatitis mean the same thing; inflammation of the skin characterised by redness, swelling, and itching. In the chronic or persistent form, regular rubbing of the skin through itching and scratching, leads to thickening or ‘lichenification’, scaling and post-inflammatory darkening of the skin.
What Causes Eczema?
The cause of atopic eczema is unknown. It often runs alongside other conditions including asthma and hay fever, and flare-ups may be triggered by things that come into contact with the skin like soap or laundry detergent. Stress, the weather, and occasionally food allergies can all cause flare-ups. There are many different causes for the different types of eczema.
What Are The Types Of Eczema?
- Atopic eczema; common in children and related to other allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever.
- Allergic contact dermatitis: an eczema caused by an allergic reaction to something coming into contact with the skin. This can be identified by means of a patch test.
- Irritant contact eczema: an eczema caused by a chemical irritating the skin (such as soap or disinfectants)
- Pompholyx/Dyshidrotic eczema: itchy tiny blisters occurring under the skin on hands and feet.
- Lichen simplex chronicus: a thickened itchy area caused by repeated rubbing and scratching
- Nodular prurigo: similar to lichen simplex, multiple small itchy areas of thickened inflamed skin
- Asteatotic eczema: dermatitis due to dry, cracked skin that occurs with age
- Drug-induced eczema: eczema that might resemble any of the above types, but that is caused by medications.
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis: a common cause of dandruff but can also affect the face, underarms and chest.
What Eczema Treatments Are Available?
Although eczema isn’t life-threatening, it can affect your quality of life as a sufferer. Flare-ups of eczema can be very itchy and uncomfortable; scratching the skin provides immediate short-term relief, but ultimately prolongs the problem by introducing bacteria to the broken skin and causing further infection and inflammation.
St Michael’s Clinic in Shrewsbury specialises in treating skin conditions and rashes including eczema. We can provide you with a course of eczema treatments to deal with flare-ups and ongoing symptoms, as well as providing advice on how you can manage your eczema and minimise future flare-ups.
The types of treatments we usually recommend include the most appropriate moisturising creams and prescription medications which come in the form of topical products or oral medication. These are used to help control the inflammation and manage the symptoms.
If you would like to speak to us, fill in the form or call us on 01743 590010.
Why choose St. Michael's Clinic?
Here at St. Michael's Clinic, Shrewsbury's leading private skin and laser treatment clinic, our experts are specialists in all aspects of dermatology, skin cancer, anti-ageing and beauty treatments. We are able to offer NHS patients a consultant led dermatology service from our three sites in Shrewsbury, Much Wenlock and Donnington (Telford).
St. Michael's Clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, ensuring the best level of treatment is provided to you in a safe environment. Our Clinical Lead Dr Stephen Murdoch is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Laser Medical Association and the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. We are part of the Dermatology Partnership, a leading group of dermatology clinics, defined by clinical excellence and focusing on leading dermatological care.