Eczema is a common skin condition affecting people of all ages.
It is characterized by chronic skin inflammation causing severe itching, redness, bruising and scaly rashes.
It is very common and is estimated to affect one in five infants and around one in fifty adults.
Though an area of intense research, the exact cause for eczema is not completely understood. An abnormal skin barrier function is probably the primary defect which in about half of the patient’s has been shown to be due to inheritance of a faulty gene Filaggrin. The leakiness of the skin barrier causes the skin to dry out and become prone to irritation, infection and inflammation. Of course, other factors are clearly also important. For example, some people with eczema have a food sensitivity which can make eczema symptoms worse.
Eczema is often related to allergic rhinitis and asthma. These conditions are collectively known as Atopic disorders. Many children with eczema subsequently also develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis.
Although most children outgrow eczema, for some it may continue into adult life. Sometimes eczema first manifest in adult life when it can be a serious condition significantly affecting patient’s quality of life.
Different areas of the body can be affected for adults, including face, hands and even eyelids.