Eczema: treatment and causes

Red patches on the skin, which are usually associated with intense itching - what can that be? In most cases, it is an eczema. Eczema accounts for the largest proportion of skin diseases with up to 20 percent. Eczema is the collective term for inflammatory, usually itchy, non-contagious skin diseases. Different criteria differentiate between different forms. These - as well as possible causes and treatment options - are considered in more detail below.

1. Distinction according to the course

  • Acute eczema is often associated with itching, redness and blistering. The herds often wet and crust easily.
  • Chronic eczema is characterized by dry, flaky skin, increased cornification and itching. The skin thickens, becomes cracked and rough.

2. Distinction on the trigger

Depending on the trigger, a distinction is made:

  • exogenous eczema and
  • endogenous eczema

Eczema, which are caused by external influences, are called exogenous eczema or contact dermatitis. A distinction is made here between allergic (caused, for example, by foods, cosmetic products or metals) and non-allergic (caused, for example, by chemicals such as cleaning agents or in textiles) contact eczema.

In the case of exogenous eczema, a reaction usually occurs directly after contact with the triggering agent, usually at the precise location of the skin where the contact took place. Often a similar course of symptoms takes place: it often begins with a reddening, then small bubbles form, the bubbles can burst and wet, it follows a crust formation and finally a scaling. Such eczema is one of the most common occupational diseases.

Endogenous eczema - genetic predisposition

Eczema, which are mainly caused by internal influences, are called endogenous eczema. Endogenous eczema has a genetic predisposition - affecting about ten percent of the population.

The most common endogenous eczema is so-called atopic eczema - atopic dermatitis. Children become ill with around 30 to 40 percent of cases of atopic dermatitis if one parent already suffers from this skin disease. If endogenous eczema has occurred in both parents, about 60 to 70 percent of the children get sick.

Often sufferers also suffer from bronchial asthma, hay fever or food allergies.

Eczema - what should be considered?

So that the doctor can make the diagnosis easier, one should ask the following questions:

  • When and under what conditions did the eczema occur?
  • Have you often suffered from such skin diseases?
  • Where do the skin appear?

Possible causes of eczema

The following table provides an overview of possible causes of eczema in different parts of the body:

Examples Possible causes
headHair dye and hair care products
faceCosmetics, aftershave, shaving soap, nail polish
poorWatch / bracelet with metal allergy
lipsToothpaste, mouthwash, citrus fruits, lipstick, lip balm, chewing gum
handsDetergents or cleaning agents, plant allergens
bodyShower or bath products, clothing, massage preparations
armpitsDeodorant, antiperspirant preparations
bellyJeans buttons, pants
genitalIntimate hygiene products, contraceptive preparations
legStockings (material, color), ulcer albums
feetDeodorant, remedy for fungal diseases

Basic care of the skin

In any case, the individual, consistent basic care plays a special role, since the skin is already damaged in most cases and therefore requires special care. Good skin care can also prevent so-called secondary infections caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Therefore, do without anything that could dry out the skin. This includes, for example:

  • alkaline soaps, cleaning agents
  • alcoholic rubs or lotions
  • hot baths over 35 degrees Celcius
  • intense sunbathing

How is eczema treated?

To care for the skin are drug-free ointment bases or oil baths. Those who suffer from reddened or inflamed skin should resort to shaking mixtures or O / W emulsions. Greasy ointments should not be applied.

Open, weeping skin diseases are treated today with moist or moisturizing dressings. This prevents dehydration, on the other hand it achieves a cooling effect. Apply moisturizing dressings as follows: First a fat cream is applied over which a moist bandage is placed. Now comes a dry bandage over it that stays on the skin for about three to five hours.

In addition to active ingredient-free preparations, urea preparations have also proved useful, since urea normalizes the corneal layer, relieves the itching and also has slight antibacterial properties.

Helpful preparations for eczema

If a consistent basic care does not help, cortisone-containing preparations - possibly as a so-called interval therapy, ie in alternation with the basic care - can be used.

Other options are herbal supplements. However, they are less effective than a 0.5 percent hydrocortisone cream. In some cases, the intake of zinc tablets in eczema makes sense.

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