Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially hereditary, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected. It is most common in infants, and about 85% of individuals affected have their 1st outbreak before their 5th birthday. The most common form of eczema is a topic dermatitis, however, there are many different forms of eczema.
What Are The Types of Eczema
- Atopic Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Atopic eczema is a skin disease characterized by dry, itchy skin. It begins with an itch or a rash. The more the patient itches the worse the rash becomes. Eczema usually affects children, but is frequently seen in adults. Excessive itching results in skin infections. This form of eczema is genetic. Often there are family members who have allergic conditions such as hives, hay fever or asthma. Eczema is a chronic condition. It must be treated daily with medications, moisturizers, and sometimes Narrow-band UVB light therapy. In most children eczema gets better as they get older. Sometimes though, eczema persists into adulthood.
- Allergic Contact Eczema
Allergic contact eczema follows exposure to allergens such as poison ivy, jewelry, rubber products, or topical antibiotics like neomycin. The distribution of this eczema follows the pattern of exposure to allergens.
- Hand Eczema (Hand Dermatitis)
This condition involves the hands. The rash begins as itchy vesicles which eventually develop into a dry, scaly, cracked dermatitis. This condition is frequently associated with a personal or family history of eczema. It can also be triggered by an allergy to rubber, metals, or preservatives. It can also affect the feet.
- Additional Forms of Eczema
Nummular, Perioral, Seborrheic, and Stasis Dermatitis/Eczema.
What Are The Treatments For Eczema
Topical therapy is the most frequently used treatment by doctors today. There are two types of topical treatment that can be used for eczema; steroidal preparations and non-steroidal preparations.
Topical steroids contain synthetic cortisone which is an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce redness and swelling. Patients using topical steroids should follow doctors’ instructions closely to prevent thinning of the skin, easy bruising and stretch marks. These medications are very effective and safe when used properly.
Two new topical non-steroidal agents have recently been introduced for the treatment of eczema. They are Elidel and Protopic. Neither agents cause cutaneous atrophy but they cannot be used in children less than two years of age.
This is general information regarding different types of treatments available for patients with eczema. Treatment plans are individualized based on the severity of the disease. Consultation with the eczema medical providers is available by appointment at (616) 459-1361.
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