Eczema is a skin condition that strikes people with dry skin because they don't have sufficient quantities of oils and fats. Since the skin can't retain moisture properly, this means that it's easier for bacteria to invade the skin. The result is the red, bumpy, scaly, and patchy skin associated with eczema. When eczema is severe, the skin can crack, bleed, and become crusted.
Most people are diagnosed with eczema as children. People who have a family history of eczema are more likely to develop it themselves. African Americans are more likely to have eczema, but people of any race can develop it. There appears to be a connection between ADHD and eczema, as well.
Eczema can develop nearly anywhere on the body. It is especially common in flexible areas like the elbows, the knees, and the hands. In babies, eczema is most commonly seen on the face but can appear anywhere on the body.
Eczema is worse at certain times because it is often triggered by a substance or a condition. Some of the most common eczema triggers include scratchy fabrics like wool, detergents or other harsh substances, times of high stress, hot weather, and excessive sweating.
Moisturizing the skin properly is a very important component of eczema treatment. The doctor can prescribe emollient moisturizers, which may be in gel, cream, or ointment form. Topical steroids are also used to minimize eczema flares. Dietary changes may be helpful as well. Patients can also take soothing oatmeal baths at cool temperatures to help resolve eczema flares. The doctor can customize a treatment plan for each patient based on their unique eczema symptoms.
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