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What is eczema?

 

The word eczema comes from the latin word ekzein which translates to – to boil.

Eczema, which is also known as dermatitis, is a dry skin condition. It is a highly individual condition which varies from person to person and comes in many different forms. It is not contagious so there is no need to worry that you will catch this.

In mild cases of eczema, the skin is dry, scaly, red and itchy. In more severe cases there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Constant scratching causes the skin to split and bleed and also leaves it open to infection.

Eczema affects people of all ages but is primarily seen in children. Those who “grow out” of their eczema during early childhood may see it recur again in later life.

In the UK, one in five children and one in twelve adults have eczema while eczema and contact dermatitis account for 84-90% of occupational skin disease.

Atopic eczema is a genetic condition based on the interaction between a number of genes and environmental factors. In most cases there will be a family history of either eczema or one of the other ‘atopic’ conditions i.e asthma or hay fever.