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What is Eczema?

Posted by siew_hooigan@hotmail.com on October 24, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHJyptPyY9U


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What is Eczema?

 

This educational video will help patients and caregivers understand and manage eczema. The main goal of eczema care is to maintain healthy skin. Just as you brush your teeth twice a day to maintain good oral health you also need to take care of your skin every day to keep your eczema under control and to maintain your skin barrier.

 

What is eczema? Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry plaques that is red and very itchy. Symptoms can be mild where the skin looks dry and scaly or they can be more severe where the skin becomes red, raised and raw with oozing, crusting and scaling.

 

This skin condition can be managed by being consistent and diligent with your daily skincare. Eczema can occur anywhere on the body but it is usually found on the flexors, on the back of the arms, on the back of the knees.There are many types of eczema but the most common one is atopic dermatitis. Atopic refers to the hereditary tendency towards eczema, asthma and allergies. People with eczema may also suffer from one of these other atopic diseases.

 

What causes eczema? The exact cause is unknown. However research has shown that there are genetic immunological and environmental factors that play a role. Eczema can come and go and can move around the body. Just as one plaque clears up another one may develop. This is the chronic nature of the disease.

 

The skin is made up of two main layers. The outer layer called the epidermis and the inner layer is called the dermis. The epidermis is the skin's barrier. Our skin is the barrier to the outside world.It is somewhat waterproof and keeps our internal organs and system safe from the elements and from bacteria that may try to invade our bodies.


Healthy skin is like bricks and mortar. The skin oils which act like mortar hold together the skin cells which are like the bricks, creating a nice strong barrier. Atopic dermatitis patients have an impaired barrier, that means that their skin barrier is broken down, letting their natural moisture out, allowing irritants and allergens in. This causes their skin to become dry and crack, and when this happens, it is known as an eczema flare-up.

 

For people with eczema, their oil or mortar is broken down causing cracks and damage in their skin barrier. Therefore, the role of eczema management is to get moisture back into the skin and to create a barrier to protect the skin and eventually improve the patient's own skin barrier function.

 

Flare-ups can be caused by environmental irritants or triggers such as certain soaps, laundry detergents, clothing fabrics, deodorants, perfumes, carpet fibers and dust. Sometimes a flare-up will occur with no recognizable trigger. Overheating, excessive sweating, low humidity, certain foods, anxiety and stress can also be contribute to these flare-ups. When the skin becomes irritated by these triggers, it itches, causing the sufferer to scratch the affected area. Scratching makes the condition worse and the skin becomes inflamed and reddened, further aggravating the itch. This is called the so-called itch- scratch cycle and they can become so severe, causing tremendous pain.

 

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