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About Eczema

By Jerry Knight

Eczema is also known as dermatitis and is a skin condition where there are patches of rough, bumpy skin accompanied with itchiness. In the United States, up to 30% of the population are affected by the condition. Eczema is thought to be a genetic condition and it currently does not have a cure. There are individuals that are diagnosed with eczema at a young age and then do not have any further outbreaks, while some have flare-ups throughout their life span.

Itchiness of the infected skin will often be the first sign of an outbreak. Red bumps will also emerge throughout the body. Common affected body parts are face, knees, hands, feet, and elbows. The outbreaks of eczema vary in degrees of pain and severity. Weeping, where a liquid is produced from the cracking, scaly skin, may occur within an extremely severe case.

Eczema generally occurs due to an allergic reaction or inflammation due to exposure to triggering environmental factors. Environmental triggers may include heat/cold, materials such as wool, chemicals, perfumes and dyes found in laundry detergent, soaps and shampoos. Stress is another factor that can result in flare-up. Certain foods may also cause eczema break-outs.

Treatment: Flare-ups may be minimized or prevented through the avoidance of certain triggers. Preventative measures include using a daily moisturizing lotion on areas that are prone to inflammation. Cool, damp cloths may be used to help relieve the itch.

Doctors often prescribe hydrocortisone creams or corticosteroids. Hydrocortisone creams are available over the counter. Corticosteroids are available by prescription. Depending on the severity of the condition, corticosteroids may be prescribed in a cream for topical use, or orally for more severe cases. Oral doses may produce side effects especially when used over a long period of time. Therefore, oral doses should be prescribed for short doses only.

TIMS, topical immunomodulators, may be doctor prescribed in an extreme breakout. They are often used as a last result after other treatments have been tried and have not worked. Elidel, TIMs, and Protopic all have side effects that have been linked to cancer and are risky for the patient.

Summary: Eczema is a skin condition that results in itchy bumpy skin. Eczema can affect any area of the body and may be hereditary. It is a condition that cannot be cured but is not contagious. Triggers include environmental factors such as chemical dyes and perfumes found in soaps and detergents, rough fabrics against the body, extreme heat/cold and stress.

Eczema can be prevented by consistent use of moisturizers. If flare-ups occur, they are generally treated by over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams or prescription corticosteroids. Extreme cases may include treatment with TIMs.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Knight, Jerry "About Eczema." About Eczema. 12 Jul. 2010. 1 Jan 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Knight, J (2010, July 12). About Eczema. Retrieved January 1, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Knight, Jerry "About Eczema"

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