Before we go into the subject of eczema, let me explain the common term – Inflammation- to you.
What is inflammation? It can simply be defined as the defense response of the body to various infection or harm, like to injuries (the pain, swelling, the itching sensation you feel is inflammation). It can also result from bacteria, fungi, or virus attack on the body.
You can either feel warmth, redness, swelling, itching or pain, or loss of function on the inflamed part of the body.
In medical term, the suffix (itis) is used to refer to refer to an inflammation. For instance, appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix.
Dermatitis (eczema) means inflammation of the skin. And there are 5 types of this dermatitis:
Types of Skin Inflammation
- Skin Infection – Caused by fungi, virus, and bacteria
- Seborrheic dermatitis – Inflammatory process characterized by scaling and redness in some areas of the body
- Diaper dermatitis – Occur in the diaper area of babies due to prolonged contact with urine and stool
- Atopic dermatitis – It’s a chronic skin inflammation that is related to hereditary factors
- Contact dermatitis – This is a common form of skin inflammation that results from the use of cosmetic products. So, this is the type of dermatitis we’ll be explaining more of in this write-up.
Types of Contact Dermatitis
- Direct Irritation of the skin – This type of contact dermatitis can happen to everyone. For instance, everybody’s skin will give out an itchy, painful, and peeling skin when it comes in contact with a concentrated acid (except you’re a magician anyway).
- Allergic Contact Dermatitis – The reaction you feel by using a cosmetic product may not be the one I feel by using the same product. You might have an itchy skin when you use a lemon-infused product, while I might feel no skin irritation if I use a similar product.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis is a state of hypersensitivity arising from an immune response of the body to a particular substance. You might react entirely to a new substance or you might suddenly react to the previous ingredients you have been applying to your body.
What Causes Eczema (Allergic Contact Dermatitis)
- Cleansing Agents and Metals – These are the cause of the housewife eczema or hand dermatitis. The Hand Dermatitis is a problem that prevalently occurs due to the prolonged contact of the hand with cleaning agents and water. It can also occur due to the reaction of the hand to a chemical component of the bracelets or ring or rubber straps (the ingredient is usually nickel).
You can either use a hand glove anytime you are doing the dishes, or use an occlusive ointment on the hand before putting your hands in the cleaning agent. Also, some cleaning agents are harsher than the others, so try to choose wisely.
- Fragrance and Plant Extracts – Your skin can react to lemon, or eucalyptus, or camphor, or peppermint (these are the major culprit, including other citrus and alcohols), giving rise to eczema…which may occur on your face or other parts of your body.
Discovering the ingredient that is responsible to the skin dermatitis is always difficult. But a patch test is recommended to discover the culprit.
How To Get Rid Of Eczema
- If you noticed eczema (dermatitis), the first thing is to drop the offending products
- You should always take a regular warm bath
- Apply a moisturizer on the affected area
- Avoid scratchy, rough fibers on the affected area
- Don’t rub the affected area with a towel. Rather, pat it dry
- Try to keep your fingernails short to avoid scratching the surface area by mistake
- Phototherapy (exposing the skin to UV rays for a short moment)
Some Medications for Eczema Treatment
Note, don’t try any of these on your own. See your doctor before attempting them
- Medications to treat viral and fungal infection may work for eczema as well
- To relieve the itchiness that normally accompanies eczema, you can apply corticosteroid creams and ointments
Please read about some home remedies for eczema here.