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Eczema: Symptoms, treatment, causes, and types

Eczema: Symptoms, treatment, causes, and types

Max Lab

Dec 05, 2022

Eczema (or dermatitis) is a general term for inflammation of the skin. Dermatitis usually causes rashes, dry skin, blisters, and itching. There are many different types of eczema depending on the symptoms and severity, including atopic and contact dermatitis. Learn more about the symptoms, treatment options, and causes of eczema in this blog post!

What is Eczema?

Eczema also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchiness, redness, and dryness. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Eczema is not contagious.

Types of Eczema

There are four main types of eczema:

  • Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema and tends to run in families.
  • Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen.
  • Nummular eczema appears as round, coin-shaped patches of dry skin.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly, oily patches of skin on the scalp, face, chest, and back.

Eczema can be a very debilitating condition that significantly impacts the quality of life. Itching can be so severe that it leads to sleeplessness and anxiety. The constant scratching can also lead to secondary infections. Eczema is often treated with topical corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, antihistamines, moisturizers, and light therapy.

Symptoms of Eczema

The most common symptom of eczema is itchy, dry skin. Other symptoms may include:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Bumps or blisters that may leak fluid
  • Cracked, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive skin
  • Dark patches of skin
  • itching, redness, and swelling in the affected area
  • crusting and scaling of the affected area
  • oozing and crusting of the affected area
  • burning or stinging sensation in the affected area

Treatment of Eczema

The most common treatment for eczema is to hydrate the skin and relieve the itch. This can be done with over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as lotions, creams, and ointments.

For more severe cases of eczema, prescription medications may be necessary. These include corticosteroids, antihistamines, immunosuppressants, biological drugs, and phototherapy.

Corticosteroids are the most commonly prescribed medication for eczema. They come in many forms, including creams, ointments, gels, and pills. Corticosteroids help to reduce inflammation and itching.

Antihistamines can help to relieve the itchiness associated with eczema. They are available OTC and by prescription.

Immunosuppressants are powerful drugs that suppress the immune system. They are typically only used for severe cases of eczema that do not respond to other treatments.

Biologic drugs are a newer type of medication that is used to treat severe eczema. They work by targeting specific proteins in the body that are involved in the inflammatory process.

Phototherapy involves exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Causes of Eczema

There are many possible causes of eczema, and the exact cause may differ from person to person. However, there are some common triggers that can lead to eczema flare-ups. These include:

  • Dry skin: When the skin is dry, it is more likely to crack and become irritated, which can lead to eczema.
  • Allergens: Certain substances, such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander, can trigger an allergic reaction that leads to eczema.
  • Irritants: Certain chemicals or materials, such as detergents, soaps, or fabrics, can irritate the skin and cause eczema.
  • Stress: Stress can worsen eczema symptoms.

If you have eczema, it is important to avoid your triggers and to keep your skin hydrated. There are also several treatments that can help reduce eczema symptoms.


Eczema is a common skin condition that can cause dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. There are many different types of eczema, and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. While there is no cure for eczema, there are treatments available that can help to relieve the symptoms. If you think you may have eczema, it's important to see a doctor so they can diagnose and treat the condition.


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