What is Eczema?
The main focus of this post is to give an overview of eczema. The word eczema comes from the Greek word ‘ekzein’ which means ‘to boil’. It is a non-contagious skin condition where the top layer of skin does not work effectively. This can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and inflamed. In extreme cases, the skin can become scaly, weepy and thickened from long-term scratching ( lichenification).
There are several types of eczema including neurodermatitis which is chronic lichenification caused by constant rubbing and scratching. Dyshidrotic, which is a condition caused by a disorder of sweat glands. Finally, Seborrheic is an inflammatory condition that affects the scalp, hairline and face similar to dandruff.
However, the most common type is atopic eczema which will be the main focus due to my own diagnosis. This is hereditary and has a link to asthma, hay fever and allergies. If one parent has any one of these conditions then there is a chance that their child may also have one of these conditions.
After doing some personal research, I found out that according to The National Eczema Society 1 in 5 children (20%) and 1 in 12 adults (8.3%) have eczema.
Pause for a moment and consider just how many people are affected by eczema on a daily basis. Perhaps a family member, spouse, child, friend or colleague? Think about how high this percentage figure could be for your outer circle. Even if you don’t personally have experience with eczema, being aware of it for the sake of others is very important.
What causes it?
This question is difficult to answer as so much depends on the individual. There are internal influences such as genetics, stress, the immune system, hormones, allergies and diet. There may also be external factors such as the weather, soaps, pets, humidity or even dust.
Is there a cure?
Many articles/online resources such as NHS.uk and the British Skin foundation confirm that there is no cure. The only thing we can do is find the correct way to manage including moisturising, correct clothing, identifying any triggers for being tested for allergies.
Alternatively, I have seen youtube videos and have heard of stories about people being cured. So perhaps, this question is still up for debate.
I do not know the answer myself and I am still finding out what works for me. What I do know is that everyone is unique and what may work for one may not work for another. It’s definitely trial and error.
Please see below links of websites which I used for facts/statistics in order to write this blog. The links are all UK based apart from healthline.com (USA):
- National eczema society http://eczema.org/what-is-eczema
- British Association of Dermatologists – http://www.bad.org.uk/shared/get-file.ashx?id=69&itemtype=document
- NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/
- World o Meters – http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/uk-population/
- Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermatitis
- Allergy UK – https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/statistics
- Health Line – https://www.healthline.com/health/eczema
- British skin foundation – http://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/skininformation/atoZofSkindisease/Eczema.aspx
- Net doctor- https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/conditions/skin-and-hair/a3605/what-is-eczema/