Natural Beauty Care Guide

What Is Eczema

Eczema is a common condition of the skin characterized by scaly, red, itchy, and sometimes oozing skin lesions. Bacteria tend to proliferate in the affected area, causing the skin to become inflamed, infected and sometimes weepy. When scratched and rubbed, the inflamed skin can become thickened, crusted, and even hardened. On skin of color, eczema may appear ashen, brown, or gray. It’s also more likely to be accompanied by dark brown skin discolorations once the eczema redness fades.

Eczema is a very common problem that affects one in ten of us. When eczema develops early in life, it is mainly referred to as atopic dermatitis and usually run in families with a history of allergies such as hayfever and asthma.

Although eczema most often appears on the neck, inside the elbows, and inside the knees, wrists, and ankles, it can crop up anywhere on the body. The condition is especially frustrating because the itching leads to scratching, and scratching only increases the inflammation underlying the condition. Eczema-prone skin then not only flakes but also thickens. In the worst cases, eczema lesions can ooze and scratching can make the skin bleed and become infected. This combination of symptoms is particularly troublesome in skin of color, which is more prone to developing pigmentation problems in response to any kind of inflammation, irritation, or injury.

The cause of eczema is not known, but the condition can be exacerbated by a number of “triggers”-irritants or allergens in your environment. They include:
Excessive heat
Sweating
Hot baths and heavy use of soaps
Animal dander
Scratchy clothing such as wool
Foods such as dairy products, nuts, wheat, soy, seafood and eggs
Stress-which can precipitate or aggravate an outbreak
Dry, cool weather

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