Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes persistently itchy, dry, and red skin. The underlying etiology is associated with a defect in the external skin barrier, causing recurrent cycles of inflammation – often known as the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle. It is important to rule out other internal and external triggers for eczema. Treatment of eczema is focused on the restoration of the skin barrier, achieved with a combination of topical hydration and anti-inflammatory medications.
Eczema signs and symptoms include tiny vesicles that can weep and ooze, eventually producing crusted, thickened plaques of skin. It is almost always quite itchy. A variety of diets have been proposed for eczema relief. These may be structured on the results of allergy testing or may be chosen for their content of foods that tend not to provoke allergic responses. Not everyone put on restrictive eczema diets improves, and many patients with severe eczema show no testing evidence of food allergies.
Affected areas usually appear very dry, thickened, or scaly. In fair-skinned people, these areas may initially appear reddish and then turn brown. Among darker-skinned people, eczema can affect pigmentation, making the affected area lighter or darker. In addition, eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma. Also, defects in the skin barrier could allow moisture out and germs in.