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Eczema - Types

Atopic dermatitis: It develops during the first year after birth in many cases and, hence, it is commonly known as infantile eczema. Almost 90% patients with atopic dermatitis show symptoms before the age of five. These symptoms usually include reddish, dry or oozing, scaly eruptions at the bend of the elbows, back of the knees, neck, face, etc. The skin is extremely dry and very itchy. Mostly infants are not able to control the itching and, hence, excessive scratching may lead to secondary infection.

An allergic reaction to several things such as foods, environmental allergens, etc., usually causes this type of eczema (see causes of eczema for details). Hereditary and family history in some form of allergy, asthma, hay fever, etc., are also evident in some cases of atopic dermatitis. It is often associated with other allergic and hypersensitive conditions like rhinitis, asthma, etc.

Contact dermatitis: This type of eczema develops in localised regions where the skin comes in direct contact with an allergen (allergic contact dermatitis) or an irritant (irritant contact dermatitis). Increase in the amount of contact over a longer period usually triggers an eczematous reaction over allergens such as food and environmental factors. However, exposure to a small amount of allergens for a small period of time can even trigger a rapid eczematous response.

Allergy caused by contact with nickel (a component of artificial jewellery) is one of the most common forms of contact dermatitis. Contact with chains, watches, rings, earrings or other items may also cause red and itchy rashes, which may further result in tiny blisters and peeling of the skin.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis (Dandruff): Seborrhoeic dermatitis commonly affects the head, margins of the head and area behind the ears, which show features of reddish rashes with yellowish, oily flakes. It is commonly seen in people with oily skin and scalp, and varies depending on the season.

Exfoliative dermatitis: In this type, the patient experiences a large amount of scaling and flaking on the skin covering almost the entire body.

Stasis dermatitis: In stasis dermatitis, eczema occurs in the area of the body with poor blood circulation; for e.g., the ankles, which may develop into ulcers in the long run. It is mostly associated with circulatory disorders like varicose veins, among others.

Nummular dermatitis: In nummular dermatitis, the patient may experience coin-shaped skin eruptions.

Neuro-dermatitis: Neuro-dermatitis develops due to emotional stress, wherein the patient feels intense itchiness on the skin, especially when they are resting or relaxing. Usually, itching leads to scratching, and they scratch even more. This dermatitis usually limits itself to areas that are easily accessible to the person —lower legs, ankles, back and sides of the neck, wrists, forearms, and genitals.

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