Eczema is a skin condition characterized by inflammation of the dermis that can produce frustrating symptoms like itching, redness and dryness. The persistent cycle of inflammation and healing can also make your skin appear leathery or cracked. Although infants can outgrow the disorder, it can be a chronic condition for adults. The skin condition is closely associated with hay fever and asthma. Eczema can develop on the face, neck, elbows and wrists as well as the groin, knees and ankles. Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, resembles an allergic reaction.
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, there are several factors believed to produce an outbreak of the skin condition. Since the disorder can run in families, one theory attributes the condition to genetics. As a result, researchers believe that certain genes may cause some people to have overly sensitive skin. An overactive immune system may also play a role. A defect in the outer layer of the skin may create an ineffective barrier that allows too much moisture to escape while letting germs and outer irritants penetrate.
In addition to stress, other factors that could trigger an eczema attack include heat and sweat as well as cold, dry climates. People with eczema may feel a “prickly heat” sensation when they sweat. Your skin may dry out too much during colder months, which can lead to an outbreak. Emotional stress can trigger eczema or make a flare-up worse. Contact with irritating substances like wool, synthetic fibers and the chemical ingredients in personal care and home cleaning products may also cause an outbreak. Fruit juice and other potential irritants may be present in natural substances as well.
The children of women who give birth at an older age and individuals who live in densely populated urban areas with more pollution are also more likely to develop eczema. These skin reactions are known as allergic eczema. Flare-ups can be alleviated or eliminated with the use of hypoallergenic products and the avoidance of trigger substances whenever possible.
If you have eczema, schedule an appointment with our professionals at Dermatology Associates, with locations in Norwood, Franklin and Foxboro. Our team of experts can help diagnose the possible cause through a series of tests. The results will help to determine the possible reason for your eczema and identify the best course of treatment. This may include lifestyle changes, the use of moisturizing cream or prescription medications.
You do not have to live with the discomfort or embarrassment of eczema. In many cases, the skin condition can be effectively treated, which will improve your quality of life. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation to learn more.