Eczema is a common, non-infectious skin rash that affects approximately 2-3% of the adult population and up to 25% of school-aged children worldwide.It typically presents as a red, itchy and scaly rash thatcan appear in a number of different locationsdepending on the age of the patient and the type of eczema.Despite a strong genetic link to the condition, the rapid increase in prevalence in recent years has led researchers to believe that the environmental triggers are playing a larger role than first thought.
Evidence shows that many eczema sufferers can possess a genetic mutation to the gene “filaggrin” which is responsible for maintaining a healthy, strong skin barrier. A mutation in this gene results in the loss of water through the skin, causing dryness and reduced protection from the harshness of the outside environment. Eczema sufferers are also prone to having hyper-reactive immune systems thatcan be triggered by multiple dietary and environmental substances. Many theories have suggested for why this occurs, including the “hygiene hypothesis” thatsuggests modern-day dietary and lifestyle practices have reduced our exposure to a diversity of microbes, leading to poorly trained immune systems.
Types of Eczema
Atopic Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common form of eczema and usually appears in childhood. It is often associated with a family history of other atopic (allergic) conditions such as hay fever and asthma. The combination of eczema, asthma and hay fever is known as the “atopic triad”. Food allergies and/or intolerances are often involved, as well as allergies to grasses, pollens, moulds and animal dander. Atopic eczema is characterized by itchy, dry, red and/or oozing lesions which can wax and wane, and typically appear in the skin folds of the elbow and knee.
Dermatitis This is a general term for “skin inflammation” which is often used interchangeably with the word eczema, but can be quite different in terms of presentation, causes, and triggers. Types of dermatitis can include seborrheic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, neuro dermatitisand contact dermatitis. Locations and appearance can differ depending on the type of dermatitis.
Conventional treatments for eczema often include topical steroid creams, bleach baths and frequent application of emollients. For more severe cases, oral corticosteroids or biologics may be used. Understanding the type of eczema/dermatitis you have, as well as identifying your individual triggers, forms an important part of treatment at Psoriasis Eczema Clinic. Common triggers can include dust mites, animal dander, grasses, pollens, nickel, chemical irritants, stress, hormones and certain foods. Treatment from the outside-in is equally important in order to achieve quick symptomatic relief, as well as to help to maintain a healthy, strong skin barrier and prevent further water loss and allergen sensitization. At the Psoriasis Eczema Clinic, eczema is treated according to the patient’s individual symptoms, presentation, location and individual triggers. Our topical formulations are steroid free, containing herbal bio-active ingredients and are based on over 30 year’s research into natural eczema treatments. If you would like to book a consultation for your eczema, call the PEC today.