Eczema is a long-term condition which causes the skin to become dry, red, itchy, and cracked. It is most common in children and can improve over time, although many adults find that they still have flare-ups of eczema during periods of stress.
Types of Eczema
There are many different types of eczema, all of which cause the irritating symptoms of dryness, itchiness and redness. It is important to identify which type of eczema you have so you can identify the triggers and the right treatment can be provided. A consultant dermatologist will be able to diagnose your eczema and recommend the most suited treatment for you.
The most common form of eczema is atopic eczema, which can affect any part of the body but is often found inside the elbows, knees, on the neck, hands, cheeks, and scalp. The cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it often runs alongside other conditions including asthma and hay fever, and flare-ups are triggered by things such as soap, laundry detergent, stress, the weather, and occasionally food allergies.
This occurs in oval or circular patches on the skin. This eczema is usually found on the arms, body or legs and doesn’t tend to be seen on the face of the scalp. Unlike other forms of eczema, discoid eczema is most common in adults and starts with a few spots which join up to form pink or red patches which are swollen, blistered and very itchy.
Varicose, or gravitational eczema appears as red, blistering, cracked or crusted skin in the lower legs where blood has collected and caused swelling which places pressure on the skin. Varicose eczema most commonly affects the lower legs and is caused by circulation problems so you are at higher risk of developing this condition if you have had a blood clot, varicose veins or if you are overweight.
This occurs when the skin comes into contact with a particular substance. Common substances which cause contact dermatitis include soaps, detergents, bleach, paint, jewelry and certain plants or raw foods. The appearance of the eczema is very similar to atopic eczema, but you will notice flare ups in response to contact with particular irritants.
Seborrhoeic eczema appears as red, scaly patches which develop on the scalp, ears, eyebrows, and the sides of the nose. Unlike many forms of eczema, this is not the result of an allergy and people of any age can develop the condition. Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes and dry or cold weather.
This form of eczema is characterised by tiny blisters that erupt on the palms of the hands and is caused by allergies, having damp hands and feet or stress. It creates watery blisters found on the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet, which can be very itchy and painful if they burst.
Although eczema isn’t a life-threatening skin rash, it can impinge on the quality of life of the sufferer significantly, and the appearance of the rashes can cause embarrassment. Flare-ups of eczema can be very itchy and uncomfortable; scratching the skin provides immediate short-term relief, but ultimately prolongs the problem by introducing bacteria to the broken skin and causing further infection and inflammation.
Here at The Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic we specialise in treating skin conditions and rashes including eczema. We can provide you with a course of eczema treatments to deal with flare-ups and ongoing symptoms, as well as providing advice on how you can manage your eczema and minimise flare-ups in the future.
There have been recent advances in the types of treatment for eczema that are available. Topical ointments and emollients can help to clear up an existing rash, whilst specialist moisturisers can help to prevent the skin from drying out. Oral treatments can also be prescribed to help clear a flare-up and aid in the long-term management of the condition.
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Why choose Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic?
Here at Kent's leading private skin and laser clinic, our experts are specialists in all aspects of dermatology, skin cancer, anti-ageing and beauty treatments. We are one of the few skin clinics in the UK where all medical consultations and treatments are provided by specialist doctors with Dermatology experience and laser training.
Canterbury Skin and Laser Clinic is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, ensuring the best level of treatment is provided to you in a safe environment. Our Clinical Lead Dr Mark Hudson-Peacock is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Laser Medical Association, the British Hair and Nail Society, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and is certified by the Consulting Room. We have won many awards including the WhatClinic Patient Service Award in 2019 and the ghp Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2019.