ECZEMA

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Last Updated : 1/20/2010
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Ira Shah
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Eczema is a form of dermatitis. Dermatitis means inflammation of the outer layer of the skin. Though commonly used to describe atopic dermatitis, it is characterised by a variety of skin conditions that cause the skin to become dry, red, irritated and itchy.

Types of eczema
Eczema has been classified into various subgroups: the commonest one is atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis). Other types of eczema include: contact dermatitis, xerotic eczema (winter itch: eczema that worsens in winter), seborrheic dermatitis (also called as cradle cap in infants and is closely related to dandruff) and other less common variants such as pompholyx (occurs only on palms, soles, and sides of fingers and toes), discoid eczema, venous eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, lichen simplex chronicus etc.

Causes of eczema
The cause of most types of eczema is not completely understood. In some types of eczema, cause is clear-cut. In case of irritant contact dermatitis, after exposure to a mild irritant such as a detergent, the child may develop rash. Another type, allergic contact dermatitis develops when an allergen (substance to which a person is allergic) touches the skin. Common allergens include poison ivy and nickel. In other type of eczema, a variety of genetic and environmental factors play a role.



Contributor Information and Disclosures Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, India


First Created : 1/17/2001
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