Facts About Eczema

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Eczema is a skin inflammation known as atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema.

Fact 1. Eczema can be triggered by environmental irritants or allergens such as substances like soaps, perfumes, or chemicals, food allergies, lifestyle, stress, or climate.

Fact 2.  The symptoms of eczema include: itchy, reddened, dry skin. Prolonged scratching results in reddened, irritated, scaling skin or to a thickening of the skin called lichenification.

Fact 3.  People of any age can be afflicted by eczema although the condition is most prevalent in infants especially prior to five years of age. Eczema most often will resolve by age three in most infants whereas in others, the condition can persist throughout life. Normally there will be a family history of the condition or other allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever.

Fact 4.  Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family being affected.

Fact 5.  Eczema affects about 10 to 20 percent of infants and about 3 percent of adults and children in the U.S.

Fact 6. Creams for babies should be sufficiently potent to fight the condition yet be safe enough to use on a baby’s body, particularly in sensitive areas. Babies are sensitive to corticosteroids which could have adverse effects on their growth and development.

Fact 7. The effects of eczema could improve in the summer due to increased exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet light) which tends to have a beneficial effect.

Fact 8.  The cause of eczema is not known, but the condition frequently affects people with a family history of allergic conditions suggesting a possible genetic factor in the development of eczema.

Fact 9. Factors that can aggravate eczema include: dry skin, scratching, heat, hot bath water, skin irritants, wool, nylon, food allergies, climate change, allergens, teething, stress, and infections.

Fact 10. Food that could potentially cause eczema includes cow’s milk, soy protein, egg, nuts, wheat, citrus, seafood, and additives.

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