Eczema is one of the most common skin diseases in the UK, with up to 1 in 4 of us being affected by it. However, the way that eczema affects us can vary a lot. Eczema can come and go, flare up in response to specific triggers, and affect different parts of the body.
What is Eczema?
The name eczema refers to a collection of skin diseases that share the same symptoms and similar causes. All forms of eczema or dermatitis are inflammatory skin conditions that are linked to the immune system. The main symptoms are redness, itchiness and dry skin, but different forms of eczema can affect your differently. Although some people may grow out of their childhood eczema, it is a chronic of lifelong condition in adults.
Types of Eczema
It is usually possible to identify the type of eczema that is affecting you by the appearance of the rash and where the inflammation is occurring. Each of these skin diseases can have slightly different causes and may require a different treatment approach to prevent or relieve the symptoms:
- Atopic eczema: the most common type, which often flares up in response to specific triggers, causing red, itchy, flaky skin that most often affects the face, knees and elbows
- Contact dermatitis: when skin is irritated after coming into contact with something that it has become sensitive to over time, such as nickel in jewellery
- Dishydrotic eczema: tiny, white, itchy blisters that usually appear on the hands and feet and may be linked to stress or allergies
- Discoid eczema: flat, red patches of inflamed skin that most frequently appear on the arms and legs in older people when the skin becomes unable to retain moisture effectively
- Seborrhoic eczema: itchy, flaky skin that appears on the scalp or other hairy parts of the body
- Varicose eczema: inflammation that affects the skin around varicose veins