From ArticleWorld

Eczema is a skin condition of varying causes that appears like an area of red, flaky skin that is sometimes further irritated by scratching. Eczema is generally very itchy. Eczema can occur in anyone at any age.

Allergic eczema

There are several types of allergic eczema, all of which are felt to be due to the skin’s response to an allergen. Atopic dermatitis occurs when someone is exposed to a systemic allergen, such as a food or toxin allergy. Often these people have other allergic conditions as well. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen. Usually the affected area is small, such as when one becomes allergic to the nickel on the back of a watch or button.

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when one is exposed to a chemical substance (usually detergents) that causes an eczema rash in exposed areas. This is worse in areas that are closely exposed to the chemical, such as the hands and feet.

Non-allergenic eczema

Non-allergenic eczema generally is not as itchy as the allergenic kind. Infantile seborrheic eczema (Cradle Cap) occurs in young infants and gradually resolves over time. Adults have a similar type of dermatitis affecting the scalp, face and upper body. It is known as adult seborrheic dermatitis. Varicose eczema generally affects the lower extremities of older people who have extra fluid on their legs and poor circulation. Discoid eczema appears as a small disk-shaped lesion on the drier areas of the body. It is more common in dry environments.


The mainstay of eczema treatment is keeping the skin moist with lubricating creams or sometimes lotions. It reduces the itch and keeps the skin from being damaged. Sufferers should also reduce exposure to any kind of detergent and use plain water instead of soap as much as possible.

The itch of eczema can be reduced using oral antihistamines or through the use of corticosteroid cream or ointment. Overuse of corticosteroids, however, can reduce the thickness of the skin exposed to the cream and can leave the skin fragile and easily damaged.

In more serious cases of eczema, topical agents that dampen the immune system can be used. If an area of eczema gets infected, antibiotics are recommended. Phototherapy, or the treatment of the condition with UV light, is often successful. If not, the addition of a drug called a psoralen (a skin sensitizing medication) may improve the effectiveness of light therapy. Finally, there are multiple natural and/or herbal remedies are available and may or may not be effective.