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Living With Eczema

May 4, 2008
Eczema is one of the most widespread skin disorders in the world. As such it is a part of life for many people. Although there is at present no cure for this skin condition the symptoms can be controlled reasonably well if care is taken. Eczema affects people of all ages and does not discriminate on the basis of sex as statistics show it is equally common among females as it is in males.

Eczema symptoms can range from mild to moderate and, at times, to severe. The most common kind of eczema is atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) and this kind affects approximately one in every eight children under the age of five in the United States every year.

It is estimated that at least 30% of babies are very likely to develop atopic eczema although many eventually grow out of this skin problem. For some children the condition disappears by the time they are two or three years old, while for others it may not decline until they enter school. Unfortunately however there are still some children who continue to suffer the symptoms of eczema into their teenage years and some carry it into their adult life. For those child sufferers who still have eczema in their adult life, the symptoms are often only mild or moderate rather than being severe. Eczema is usually much worse in the early years of a child's life than it will be later in adulthood.

There are a number of types of eczema and they are usually categorized into two major groups - allergenic eczema and non-allergenic eczema.

Allergenic eczema results, as the name suggests, from allergies and medical research suggests that it has a genetic connection, similar to other disorders such as hay fever and asthma. Often people prone to eczema are more likely to have these other disorders as well. It is also believed that eczema can, in some instances, be caused by sensitivity to certain kinds of foods or to contact allergens such as for example, dust or mold. Also allergenic forms of eczema can be made worse by sweating or overheating as well as exposure to the extremes of hot or cold temperatures. Allergic forms of eczema include atopic eczema, which is the most common type, allergic contact eczema, and irritant contact eczema.

Non-allergenic forms of eczema include:

* infantile seborrhoeic eczema, also known as cradle cap;
* adult seborrhoeic eczema, of which dandruff is one of the milder forms;
* varicose eczema, which generally affects older individuals, particularly on the lower legs and around the ankles; and
* discoid eczema - roundish patches which can appear on many different parts of the body.

A number of factors which induce flare-ups of existing eczema conditions have been identified. These include:

* high levels of stress;

* fluctuating hormone levels in women such as those that occur naturally during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and during menopause; and

* low humidity is also sometimes a factor when it comes to eczema flare-ups.

Eczema affected skin is dry, itchy, red, swollen and very sensitive. The best methods of managing these symptoms are by:

* applying moisturizing cream several times a day using emollient creams and lotions that do not contain perfume or alcohol;

* avoiding letting irritants such as harsh detergents and cleaning chemicals from touching bare skin;

* avoiding contact with some materials such as nickel;

* not allowing yourself to become overheated or too stressed; and

* wearing clothes that are made of predominantly cotton fabric.
About the Author
Author: John Vanse For more information about eczema see: About Your Eczema For information about establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle see: The Better Health Guide
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